What Can You Do Better for Us Than the Other Candidates?

Man being interrogated.
Getty Images/Henrik Sorensen

Since most of us would rather be recognized for our own unique value than being compared to others, it can be challenging when employers ask us to elaborate on what makes us better than other candidates.

For example, an employer might ask something like, "What can you do better for us than another candidate?," or, "Why should we pick you instead of someone else?" 

Be Careful When You Answer

This type of question can also be a trap to determine if you have an inflated view of yourself or will tend to be overly critical of your colleagues.

 The best approach is usually to view this inquiry as an opportunity to convey your strengths to the employer, without implying that you are better than everyone around you. 

Start With a Disclaimer

It can be helpful to start with a disclaimer that you are not aware of the strengths of the other candidates, and you are sure there are some impressive individuals applying for such an attractive position.  Then you can go on to assert that you do have many assets that will enable you to make a solid contribution if you are hired.

You might say, "Although I am not familiar with the others who you are interviewing, I am sure there are lots of talented people applying for such a position. However, given my unique background and experiences, I think I would be a strong candidate for this position."

Follow Up With Your Strengths

Then, you can follow up with a specific outline of your own strengths. But, it is not enough to answer in generalities.

You should be prepared to reference 6 - 8 strengths in terms of skills, past experiences, areas of knowledge and personal qualities that will help you to excel in the job. 

Remember that your presentation will be most convincing if you share concrete examples of how you have applied your strengths to add value in jobs, internships, school projects or volunteer work.

Describe situations or challenges, actions you took, and results you generated by tapping each asset. 

Review the description for your target job and identify the aspects of the position that seem to be of high priority to the employer.  Try to share as many of your assets as possible that will help you to carry out the core functions of the job. 

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