How to answer "What sets you apart from other candidates for this role?" (with sample answers)

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This post is part of our series on behavioral interview questions.

Why Employers Ask This

If you've applied for numerous job positions, you've probably heard this question more than once before. The truth is that hiring managers want to know what makes you special or unique compared to other candidates who have similar qualifications. They want to see if you have qualities and skills that are unparalleled and can benefit the organization in the long run.

This question also tests your level of self-awareness and how much you know about the organization's culture, values, and mission. Employers want individuals who are not only able to execute the work required but also fit seamlessly into the organizational structure.

How to Answer the Question

The hardest part about answering this question is coming up with a response that is both truthful and doesn't sound like you're bragging. One approach is to research the company's culture, values, and mission, and tailor your response to what they need and want from the ideal candidate. This will show that you are interested in the company and have taken the time to research it.

You can also focus on your strengths and how they align with the job position's requirements. Highlight specific skills, experiences, and achievements that set you apart from other candidates. But make sure to use concrete examples to back up your claims.

Another great way to spice up your response is by sharing hobbies, interests, or volunteer work that align with the position's values. This will show that you are a well-rounded individual who possesses a unique perspective, creativity, and leadership skills.

Finally, keep in mind that cultural fit is very crucial. You can demonstrate adaptability, flexibility, and teamwork by showing how you've worked with diverse teams or different departments to achieve a common goal.

Sample answers:

Good answer 1:

I have a proven track record in this industry and have consistently achieved results that exceed targets. I also have a unique combination of technical skills and creativity that allows me to approach challenges in a unique way.

This answer is good because it highlights specific achievements and skills that set the candidate apart from others without exaggerating or using clichés.

Good answer 2:

I have a strong passion for this field and have constantly pursued growth opportunities to expand my skills and knowledge. Additionally, I am a strong communicator and collaborator, which allows me to work effectively in team environments and build positive relationships with clients and colleagues alike.

This answer is good because it emphasizes the candidate's dedication and eagerness to learn, as well as their interpersonal skills which are important for success in many roles.

Bad answer 1:

I am the best candidate for this role because I am a hard worker and a team player.

This answer is bad because it uses vague and clichéd language that is unlikely to impress the interviewer or set the candidate apart from others.

Bad answer 2:

What sets me apart? Well, I think I'm just a really unique and special person. I'm definitely not like any other candidate you've interviewed.

This answer is bad because it lacks any concrete details or evidence to support the candidate's claims and comes across as arrogant or flippant.

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