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"What can you bring to the company?" is one of the most common interview questions. So it's important to consider your response to this question.
In this article, we'll outline why potential employers ask this question and provide tips and sample answers you can use to create a good answer.
Why employers ask “What can you bring to the company?”
Employers ask "What can you bring to the company?" to learn the skills, qualities, and qualifications that make you the best fit for the particular job and the company.
Hiring managers want to find an employee who has the specific skills to be successful in the specific job. They also want someone who cares about the company's mission and can have a positive impact on the company's culture.
Your answer to this job interview question can demonstrate that you are a good match based on past experiences, career goals, and soft skills.
How to answer “What can you bring to the company?”
In your response, explain why your skills, previous jobs, and characteristics make you a good fit for the job requirements and company. You can use the following steps to prepare an answer that will impress the interviewer.
1. Research the company
The best place to start is on the company's website as it contains valuable information:
- Mission statement: A mission statement is a formal summary of the company's values and aims. A company's mission statement will help you understand if your career goals and core values align with the potential employer. It'll also help you think about how to frame your response in a way that aligns with their values.
- Biographies: Some companies include information about senior leadership on their website. This information will help you learn more about what backgrounds and education they value, their goals, and what you can contribute toward reaching them.
- "About us" page: The "About us" page can give you more context about the company's culture, history, products, and services. You should also lookout for any customer testimonial pages as these pages can help you learn more about what customers think of the company.
- Product pages: Product pages can help you learn about what the company sells, which will be a massive plus for every interviewer. If you come across as passionate and knowledgeable about their products before you're hired, you'll stand out.
You can also research companies on:
- Himalayas: A remote job board with in-depth company profiles on thousands of remote companies.
- AngelList: A tech & startup job board with thousands of company profiles.
- Crunchbase: Crunchbase is a platform for finding business information about private and public companies.
- Glassdoor: Glassdoor is a great place to find what current and former employees think about the company.
We also recommend watching or listening to interviews with the CEO or members of the senior leadership team. It's a great way to get a feel of the company culture and current goals. If possible, try to find out who the hiring manager is ahead of time and look at their work history on social media sites like LinkedIn.
Finally, if you know anyone who works there don't be afraid to reach out. They can tell you what it's like to work there, what skills are lacking, and whether they think the company is compatible with your career goals.
The research process takes time, but the time invested pays off. It's honestly one of the best ways to land a job offer as it'll help you answer truthfully about what you can bring to the company and why you're excited to work there.
2. Study the job description
The job description includes the duties and responsibilities associated with the position. Read and re-read the job description in full. It may sound obvious, but you'd be surprised by how few job candidates do this.
Look out for key skills, responsibilities, and expectations that the hiring manager is calling out, and write down everything you have previous experience in.
Now you'll want to write down any specific examples of a work experience where you've applied these skills.
For example, if you're applying for a remote SEO job and the job description mentions Ahrefs and you've used it, this is a perfect opportunity to outline how you used it at a previous company. You can also mention soft skills like critical thinking, communication, or public speaking.
3. Make a list of your core values
Beyond specific skills, try to connect your career goals and core values with the company. This will help the interviewer understand why you're uniquely placed as the best candidate for the job. To make a list of your core values, try to answer these questions:
- What qualities do I have that make me perfect for this position?
- What motivates me?
- What is my preferred work culture?
- What qualities or skills do I admire and want to develop?
4. Use the STAR interview response method
- Situation: Describe the situation you were in. Use a specific event or situation rather than a generalized description of your experience. You do this because it makes it easier for the interviewer to understand the situation.
- Task: Outline the goals you were working toward.
- Action: Describe the actions you took to address the situation.
- Result: Show the outcome of your actions and don't be shy to take credit. This could be things like metrics improved, customer reactions, or learnings. Be sure to include as many positive results as possible.
By using the STAR method, you help the hiring manager understand why you're the best fit by providing a focused answer in a digestible but compelling story.
5. Practice your answer
Now that you've prepared your answer, it's time to practice. By practicing your verbal and nonverbal communication skills, you'll be more confident when delivering your answer.
Try to keep your answer concise as it will make it easier to follow. Maintain eye contact, sit up, and relax! Focus on storytelling. Stories help you develop a deeper connection with the interviewer and ensure that they don't forget about you five minutes after the interview.
If possible, try to find something about the company, role, or hiring manager that you personally relate to and explain why. People tend to like and remember people who they share common values with.
Finally, don't forget to be enthusiastic! If the role is your dream job at a dream company, don't be afraid to tell them. Companies love to hire people who are excited about their mission.
6. Listen and pay attention in each interview
If this isn't your first interview with the company, reflect on what was said in earlier interviews. Was there anything the recruiter or hiring managers emphasized or was excited about? Did you learn information that you can use to improve your answer?
The more you can personalize your answer based on the information you've learned, the better your chances of landing the role.
Example answers to “What can you bring to the company?”
Your response to "What can you bring to the company?" will depend on your experience and the company and role you are applying for.
Review these example answers for inspiration.
Example answer 1
"In my previous role I was a remote software engineer at Process Street, our infrastructure bill was getting expensive. My task was to think through how to reduce costs while maintaining our world-class availability.
I proposed that we move from client-side rendering to server-side rendering to reduce the load on our databases, and I spiked out a solution over a sprint.
In three months, we were able to transition 35% of the site to server-side rendering and reduce the load on our databases by 50% while also reducing our AWS bill by 25%.
This had the added benefit of increasing our organic traffic by 25% because it was cheaper for Google to crawl our site. I noticed that Instacart also has a load of client-side rendering so I think I could help do a similar thing here if it was a priority. "
Why it works: The candidate has used the STAR method to perfection. They've outlined the situation, task, action, and result then tied it into how they could help the company they're applying for.
Example answer 2
"I believe my experience creating design systems from scratch perfectly aligns with the product designer role at Mighty. I've worked exclusively with Figma for the past four years and have deep expertise in it, including with auto layouts.
In fact, I've developed one of the world's best selling Figma UI kits that is used by hundreds of designers around the world. I'm also comfortable writing the first draft of copy, which can speed up the time it takes to get things into production."
Why it works: While this candidate hasn't followed the STAR method precisely, they've outlined an in-demand skill that was asked for in the job description and tied it to a prior project. They've also tied in a secondary skill (copywriting) which is an added bonus!
Example answer 3
"I read in the job description that a key part of the role is to improve retention.
I worked with our design team to create a new onboarding experience that guided new users through the platform and taught them about the key use cases.
Because new users learned how to use the platform on their first visit, they tended to retain better and we saw the first cohort of users who went through this retain at 50% after 3 months!
I actually went through your onboarding prior to the interview, and there are definitely some quick wins that could be made within a sprint or two. Happy to talk you through them if you're interested!"
Why it works: The candidate has indicated that they've read the job description carefully and highlighted a specific requirement that they think they can help with. Added points for providing specific metrics and doing in-depth research prior to the interview!
Tips for giving the best answer to "What can you bring to the company?
Your goal is to present yourself as capable, confident, and ready to contribute so keep these tips in mind when you're answering this question:
- Emphasize your accomplishments: Show potential employers that you are the best candidate by sharing concrete accomplishments from your previous jobs. The most effective tool you have is the STAR method, as it'll help you tell a compelling and memorable story.
- Use data: Data increases the impact of your answer and provides real proof about how much you contributed in a prior role and what you can bring to the company you're applying to.
- Understand the employer's goals and values: Always use an example that actually relates to the particular role and company. The interviewer is trying to assess whether you have the skills necessary to do the job they're hiring for. If there are any specific skills or qualities that you know are particularly important for the role or company, focus on those first.
- Make it easy for them: Explicitly outline how your past experience relates to the job and summarize your best skills and how you can bring them to the company.
- Focus on the positives: Don't worry if you don't hit every bullet point in the job description, most candidates won't. Focus on the skills and abilities you do have, as well as your ability to learn new things.
Mistakes to avoid when answering "What can you bring to the company?"
Below are a few things to avoid:
- Research the company: A good answer to this question is based on research. Look at their website, listen to interviews with their team, and read their blog posts. If you know people working at the company, talk to them about what the hiring manager is looking for. Be as knowledgeable and prepared as you can. If you're looking for a remote job, use our remote company database to research companies.
- Not answering the question: If you can't think of a single answer to this question, it's better to be honest rather than answer a different question. Most interviewers will give you an opportunity to answer a similar question where you can provide examples of how you've been able to upskill quickly. However, if you can't bring anything to the company, you might be applying for the wrong role.
- Not preparing: A lot of candidates don't prepare for this question, despite how common it is. It's much easier to explain the impact you could have at the company if you have done your research and thought about it ahead of time. This is why research is so important.
- Ego: Your goal is to show the hiring manager what you can bring to the company, not to come across as someone who is egotistical and hard to work with. Emphasize your strengths, but be sure to showcase how you can work well in a team in other questions.
- Exaggeration: Don't say you'll be able to help the company reach profitability if you've never done it before. Chances are the hiring manager will be able to pick up your lie if they're experienced anyway, and it'll ruin your chances of getting an offer.
- Sharing irrelevant examples: Keep your answer focused on the job you're applying for. You want the hiring manager to instantly understand what you bring to the table.
- Vague answers: Don't say that you're great at project management without a concrete example of a situation where you displayed the skill. Ideally, you'll include data as well to back up your claims.
- Long-winded answers: You don't need to list everything you can bring, it's better to keep it succinct so it's memorable and they can recall it after the interview.
- Irrelevant details: Avoid talking about skills or experiences that aren't related to the job. Choose one or two examples and focus on those.
- Failures: Avoid sharing examples of when you failed to hit the mark, unless you're using it as a way to highlight that you learned from it and now have the experience required to not do it again.
Possible follow-up questions
- Describe your work ethic
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- Why do you want to work here?
- Why are you the best person for this job?
- Tell me about a time you made a mistake
- Do you have any questions for me? Read our guide on best questions to ask in an interview.
- What is your greatest weakness?
- Any number of behavioral interview questions. Be sure to use the STAR method when answering.
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