Most people will answer this question by talking about their experience or education, and will add descriptions like “hard-working, loyal, team-leader,” etc. This is wrong.
You should always answer with what you will do to improve the company. What ideas do you have that will make life better for your interviewer? Lead with that.
Why? Because you are selling yourself (don’t take that the wrong way) and you want to use proven and effective sales/copywriting strategies to do that. I have been studying copywriting lately, and one of the number one rules of copywriting is that you always talk about benefits before features.
In this situation, what you will do to make this company better — and to make life better for the person interviewing you — is a benefit to them.
Your background, experience and education are just features that support your benefit to the company. Features may have gotten you in the door for the interview, but benefits will get you the job. Therefore, always answer this question with benefits first, followed by features (only if relevant).
For clarity, here is a list of benefits vs. features for a job interview.
- I will immerse myself into your software’s code to debug and fix all redundancies, which will make your product run much smoother.
- I will improve the process of scheduling staff by implementing web-based scheduling software, making it easier to input times and allow for staff and management to be notified of shift changes right away.
- I have ideas for crafting a new marketing message that will more effectively tell the story of why this company is great and compel people to buy your products.
- I will bring with me my years of experience managing teams and working with people of diverse backgrounds, making me a great leader and team builder.
- I studied back-end java development on my own for years, so I know exactly what is going on with your code.
- In my last position, I managed my own team within the marketing department, so I know what it’s like to collaborate with others and lead a marketing campaign.
The trend you should be seeing here is that benefits are what you are going to do to make life better for the company and person interviewing you, and features are what in your past experience makes you qualified for the role.
It is very easy to rely on your previous qualifications only when interviewing for a new position. Don’t. Stand out by giving them benefits, which are real reasons to hire you, and if you can make those benefits better than everyone else interviewing, you will get the job.