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How To Answer The Interview Question, “What Can You Do For Us That Others Can’t?”

Source | FastCompany : By CAROLINE ZAAYER KAUFMAN

Answering the question, “What can you do for us that other candidates can’t?” can put you in a pickle in an interview. You want to sound impressive but not conceited. And it’s not like you even know the other candidates!

It may help to know what the interviewer is getting at. “Tough questions like this are an attempt by an interviewer to uncover how the candidate problem-solves and thinks on his feet,” says Todd Horton, who has over 15 years of HR experience for companies such as IBM and Honda, and is the CEO of the Cambridge, Massachusetts, company KangoGift.com.

Use this dialogue to help you prepare for this common job interview curve ball.

Keep It About Yourself

Just because you’re explaining what could make you the better man or woman for the job, don’t make the mistake of talking badly about others. The truth is, you don’t know the other candidates, so keep the focus on your strong points, not their weaknesses.

“The absolute wrong way to answer that question is to appear to be bragging,” says Barry Maher, consultant and author of Filling the Glass.

Also avoid speaking negatively about others who aren’t candidates. Don’t badmouth past coworkers who didn’t work very hard in an attempt to make yourself look good, says Steve Gibson, director of jotform.com.

Your answer should start with an acknowledgement that you aren’t trying to diss the competition, which will reflect well on your character.

You say: “‘I have no idea what the other candidates you’re considering might be able to do. My guess is you’re looking at some top people, but let me tell you what I can do for you, and why I think I have a unique set of qualifications that I hope would make me the best candidate for the job.”

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