Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Interview question: What differentiates you from other candidates?

This interview question can put the best candidates into a tail spin!! How
do you reply without sounding either arrogant on one hand or weak on the

Well here is one way to handle this tough job interview question.

The first thing to realise is that the interviewer is looking for two
things. Firstly, he/she wants to hear about what you think your key
strengths are. Secondly, he/she wants to see how you handle tough

So when answering this interview question, try to stick to a
“FACT:IMPLICATION” structure. This should make you much more relaxed while
allowing you to showcase your skills and achievements.

The FACT should refer to something which is relevant to the position you
are aiming for. It should ideally also be something which you can prove
through evidence. Good things to say here could be:

“As you can see from my resume, I have achieved first time passes in each
of my accountancy exams”

“As my referees will be able to confirm, I am always looking for new ideas
to take to clients”

Now onto the IMPLICATION - make sure the interviewer understands why your
strength is going to be valuable to his/her organization. Try to be as
specific as possible - that way you can also demonstrate that you took the
time to research the position before the interview (you did research the
position before the interview didn't you??)

Good answers to use could be:

“Not only does this prove that I have a thorough grasp of accounting which
will be important in this position, but also that I rapidly learn new
skills and work hard to ensure success in everything I do.”

“Creativity is becoming increasingly desired by the clients of my current
employer, and probably yours too. I would hope that some of the ideas I
could generate for your clients would turn into new business for your
company and strengthen the relationships you have with your clients.”

So hopefully now you see the “what differentiates you fromn other
candidates” question as a Question you are eager to hear in your interview
- there aren't many questions which give you the freedom to sell yourself,
so take advantage of it. And definitely get your answer prepared...


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