The purpose of this question is threefold. It is to discover what abilities and experience you bring to the company to help it while at the same time zeroing in on why you should be chosen over someone else. Finally, it is designed to make you a little nervous. After all, you don’t know what qualifications other candidates bring to the table.
To handle the third part, checking your demeanor when nervous, remain calm. Try a little humor to begin the answer such as “Can I meet the other candidates first?” But make sure it’s clear that’s not the whole answer.
Knowing something about the company and its goals, and how those goals match yours, is important. Give specific examples of how your education, experience, skills and accomplishments make you an asset. And make sure to add something that sets you apart from the crowd. A pairing of skills that are unusual together can make for a very strong answer. Such combinations include:
Make sure the combination are skills that apply to the job in some way. Be honest. But also keep in mind that many skills can apply to almost any job.
“I am an excellent organizer and project planner, even for complex applications. AND I work out daily – exercise makes the mind sharper.”
“I have a photographic memory, so little details won’t escape me. I’m also very patient with people, no matter what the demands.”
“I’m a master carpenter, and a great communicator. If you need someone to talk to other contractors or clients, I’m the go to guy.”
Some stereotypical answers that do no good for this question include:
“I’m a workaholic.” – Very transparent.
“I work hard to be an asset to the company.” – So does everyone.
“I’m uniquely qualified for the job.” – The question was how, give details.
“I’ll give 110% to this position.” – This isn’t high school football.
One of the strangest combinations of skills ever revealed in an interview? “I can ride a bull, and I’m a gourmet pastry chef.” But can she make a soufflé while riding a bull?