How to Answer the Interview Question: “What Can You Bring to This Company?”
A common question you will be likely asked during an interview is, "What can you bring to this company?".
Employers use this question to find out more about why they should hire you and not someone else. They want to know what you can do for them that others cannot.
It requires you to ‘sell yourself’ heavily to the recruiter and leave them wanting more.
This question offers ample opportunity to fully promote yourself. You should use your answer to show your skills and how you can use them to benefit the business you’re interviewing with.
But if you don't prepare carefully, then it could be a wasted opportunity.
This article will explore how to answer the interview question, "What can you bring to this company?" and give you hints and tips to improve your response.
What Is This Interview Question Really Asking?
As part of your pre-interview research, you need to anticipate what questions you may be asked and try to consider the context behind each question.
Part of this is considering why are employers keen to ask a given question.
For this question, there are a few reasons. Clearly, they want to know what skills you have and how they can benefit.
They also want to know what you think you can do for the company and whether you have new ideas or perspectives to enhance their work.
For example, perhaps you've got contacts you would like to bring into the business. Or maybe you have a distinct way of driving innovation or have a track record of converting inquiries into sales.
It's about sharing an idea of what you can do for the company in both the short term and the long term.
You need to show the hiring manager that you will be a good fit, both in terms of skillsets, but also in terms of personality.
The employer will be looking at your responses to determine whether you would fit in seamlessly with the team and whether you would need additional training or support to get started.
Think about how you could demonstrate your knowledge of the business and the role. Can you explain how you would approach the role and how you would identify your priorities? If you can showcase your skills and ways of working, the employer may feel more confident in selecting you.
The Differences Between “What You Can Bring to the Company?” and “What Can You Bring to the Job?”
These may seem like the same question, but there are some nuances that can change how you respond.
If you're asked, “What can you bring to the company?” the employer may be looking to find out about your softer skills as well as your technical capabilities.
They may also be interested in how you plan to grow within the company – whether the company will just be a pit stop on your career journey or whether you are hoping to stay there longer-term and grow in a way also beneficial to the company.
Talk about how you would work or have worked with other people. Perhaps you have experience acting as a mentor to junior colleagues or have a track record of helping other people improve their capabilities.
You also want to use your answer to show that you have the skills needed to hit the ground running, rather than relying on additional training before you can get started. It's about showing how you plan to use your skills to drive business revenue and improve their success.
In contrast, if you're asked about, “What can you bring to the job?”, it's more about the technical capabilities. It's not about your career goals or how you see the role changing.
It's about demonstrating what training you've already done, what qualifications you’ve gained and what experience you have that influence how you work. Discuss any specific software tools that you are proficient in and provide examples of previous work that has been impactful.
How Can You Prepare to Answer This Question?
You must take the time to really understand what the company is looking for.
First, look at the job description to find what characteristics, skills and competencies they want.
Then, expand your research to understand the company, their strengths and how they fit into their wider sector. This information will also prove useful when answering other interview questions.
The more information you have about the company, the easier it is to formulate a response that will give them enough information about why you are the perfect fit.
Be clear about the job role itself. Pay attention to the tasks and responsibilities mentioned within the job description and consider what skills and proficiencies are needed to manage these tasks. The more information you can provide about how you have the skills needed to manage the role, the more successful your answer.
It would help if you also were clear of your own strengths and weaknesses. If you look critically at your capabilities to accurately identify what you're good at, then you can highlight those skills to the hiring manager within your response.
What Is the Best Approach to Formulating Your Response?
If you know that this question is likely to arise, then you have the time to think logically about your response. One of the best techniques to respond to the question of "What can you bring to the company?" is to use the STAR technique.
The STAR technique is about describing a Situation, explaining what Tasks you were involved in, discussing the Actions that you took to complete that task and explaining the final Results.
The STAR technique is beneficial because it puts your achievements into context. When showcasing what you can bring to the company, you need to explain your previous achievements and how they impacted the bottom line. Therefore, the STAR technique is a quick and easy way to do this.
Think carefully about how you can match your experience and qualifications to the job role itself.
As you prepare your answer, you could use a Venn diagram to help you visually identify any clear crossover between the two. This can be used to ensure that you highlight the right skills that the employer is looking for.
You also want to quantify your results. As with the STAR technique, quantifying what you have done provides evidence and context of your achievements.
For example, it's not just about saying that your work resulted in increased sales; it's about providing context to that statement.
Note how much the sales increased, whether additional revenue or opportunities were created, if your work led to better productivity within your team and, if possible, show how you have directly led to improvements or cost savings.
What Should You Avoid in Your Answer?
This isn't a time to be humble, so don't downplay your achievements.
Instead, shout (metaphorically) as loud as possible about what you've done and what positive impacts it had on the wider business.
You want to have a mix between confidence and arrogance. It's about having the self-confidence to talk about your achievements without seeming obnoxious.
Make sure that you only discuss achievements that are relevant to the job role. If you start talking about unnecessary details or irrelevant tasks, the employer may suspect that you do not have the right attributes. To avoid doing this, revert to the job description and your Venn diagram. Make sure you always stay focused.
It's also important to make sure that you only discuss things that you can back up. For example, if you say that you've achieved something but you can't provide evidence of it, the recruiter may question the legitimacy of your claims.
Here are some examples of how you can successfully answer the interview question using the hints and tips shared within this article.
Sample Answer for Project Managers
My problem-solving skills are vital for any project management role. I understand that even with the best-laid plans, situations can change and evolve, causing last-minute hitches. I know how to use my problem-solving skills to find solutions to even the trickiest of situations while remaining calm and rational.
In a previous project, I was leading a $100,000 campaign that involved multiple stakeholders. I needed to think holistically about the entirety of the project and anticipate any potential issues. By involving a complex project management tool, I could facilitate seamless communication between all parties, improving productivity and ensuring that the project came to fruition three days before the final deadline.
I will use this same approach to any projects that you are working on, as I believe the key to all project management is about maintaining effective communication at all times.
This is an effective response because it details how the candidate approaches the work and puts it into context. It gives details of how they facilitated the work, what they learned from it and how they plan to use that experience to inform their approach in the future.
Sample Answer for Sales Managers
You are looking for a sales manager who can reduce overhead costs and increase sales to improve your bottom line. I am an experienced sales manager and over the last ten years, I've cultivated effective relationships with key suppliers within the medical supplies sector.
Thanks to these relationships, I have a proven track record of reducing costs, improving any return on investment – I've negotiated lower prices, often with as much as an 18% reduction from the rate card prices.
In addition, thanks to my team management capabilities, I know how to motivate and enhance staff productivity. I believe that it's important for me to facilitate weekly training to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to work to the best of their ability, and this is something that I would bring to this company.
From this response, you can see that the candidate makes it clear what value they can bring.
They are showing that they understand the business requirements and are using relevant jargon (return on investment) that the hiring manager would respond positively to.
It shows how they plan to facilitate improvements in the business and take a long-term approach to help every team member, not just themselves.
Sample Answer for Teachers
Over the last 10 years, I've worked as a teacher in many different public schools. I've learned that not everyone learns the same way or at the same time, and I've developed strategies to find different ways to reach different groups of students.
I believe that the best learning comes from those who are inspired and encouraged. Today's students don't want to learn from a textbook. Instead, they want to find new ways to consume their information. So, I've created assignments that take new technologies into account and give them the chance to learn new skills that align with their interests.
For example, rather than asking my students to write a report on a historical event, I asked them to create a two-minute movie trailer to recap that event. This not only motivated, inspired and excited them, but they were able to learn additional skills such as teamwork, videography, editing and presentation. The scenario was so successful that one student, who averaged a C, received their first A-grade because it was an assignment they were excited to work on. I want to continue with this innovative approach and work with my students to find ways to make learning fun.
This is a good example of using the STAR technique. It suggests the situation, shows what the teacher was trying to do and how they did it, and provides tangible evidence of the results of that activity.
This also highlights the candidates' passion and motivation and gives a compelling case for hiring the person.
Preparation is key to answering the interview question, "What can you bring to the company?" – your answer needs to be carefully thought through to maximize your response's impact.
It's almost certain that you will be asked this question, so use your pre-interview preparation time to create a compelling answer that wows the recruiters.
Employers ask this to find out more about what skills and capabilities you have and confirm that you can cope with the job demands. They will be looking at your impact on the wider company, not just the job role itself, so you need to do plenty of research into who that company is to make sure that your response hits that sweet spot.