How to Answer: What Can You Offer Us That Someone Else Can’t?

This is a common interview question and one that gives you a chance to elaborate on the answer you gave to “What are your strengths?” It’s a question designed to gauge your confidence level and knowledge of the company, so even if the interviewer doesn’t ask it directly, be prepared to show that you’re a qualified candidate who can bring something unique to the table. Read through the job description to identify the main things the hiring manager is looking for and show how you meet those needs.

Here are the things you need to keep in mind when preparing your answer.

Show off your experience and unique abilities.

Your interviewer is essentially asking “Why should I hire you?” and your answer should show that you’re different from other candidates they’ve interviewed. Think of the top 2-3 things they’re looking for and explain how you meet those criteria. For example, if you’ve had an internship in the industry, talk about you experience. If you’re not sure what to focus on, look at the job description and identify key traits in the first 3 bullet points.

Say something like: “I’m a creative problem-solver who wants to be part of a team that develops great branding campaigns. I’ve worked on several marketing campaigns during class projects and at a previous internship, so I’m familiar with the challenges I’ll face in this role and I know how to address them.”

Explain what you bring to the table.

Next, show how your experience and unique qualities make you stand out. If you’ve already made it clear that you’re a hard worker, you can emphasize the fact that you always keep a positive attitude and will bring a new level of leadership to the team. Be humble but confident. Giving a direct answer will show that you’ve thought about the question and know exactly what you can bring to the position.

Say something like: “I bring three things to the table that most candidates can’t offer: My problem-solving ability that I’ve used to improve campaign performance, in-depth knowledge of social media strategy and previous experience with email marketing.”

Connect your experience to the position you’re applying for.

Being an awesome employee has a lot to do not only with your unique abilities but also with how those abilities meet the employer’s needs. Whether the company you’re interviewing with is a tech startup or a consulting firm, demonstrating that you understand the organization’s needs and can address them will go a long way toward impressing the interviewer and helping them to see you as a part of the team.

Here’s how to bring it all together:

“I’m a creative problem-solver who wants to be part of a team that develops great branding campaigns. I’ve worked on several marketing campaigns during class projects and at a previous internship, so I’m familiar with the challenges I’ll face in this role and I know how to address them. I bring three things to the table that most candidates can’t offer: My problem-solving ability that I’ve used to improve campaign performance, in-depth knowledge of social media strategy and previous experience with email marketing. With my combined knowledge and enthusiasm for this industry, I know that I would be a good fit for this role.”

Pro Tip: Make sure your answer takes less than 60 seconds and practice it over and over until you have it down pat.

Answering “What can you offer us that some else can’t?” is a great way to show how you stand out from other candidates. By highlighting your unique skills and demonstrating how your personality and future goals align with the company, you’ll impress your interviewer and increase your chances of getting the job!

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as 5 Technology Trends You Need to Know and find answers to common interview questions such as How Have You Displayed Leadership?

How to Dress for a Job Interview at a Traditional Corporation

Understanding how to dress for a job interview at a large corporation can be intimidating if you’ve never had an internship or entry-level job. After all, corporations are typically conservative so knowing how to navigate the dress code can seem a little challenging at first. However, with a little bit of research it’s possible to pick the perfect outfit and still feel like yourself.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when dressing for an interview at a corporation.

1. Keep it conservative

You’ve probably heard of casual and business casual attire, but what exactly does conservative attire look like? In one word: suits. These should be neutral in color, with a button-down shirt and tie for men and a nice blouse for women. Women can also wear a dress with a blazer on top or a skirt suit if they feel more comfortable.

If you’re worried about not being able to personalize your outfit, don’t be. You can definitely do this with some tasteful accessories. For men, this means a colorful tie or fun socks, and for women, a statement piece of jewelry or a nice scarf. Feel free to mix a brighter color among the more neutral tones but be sure to keep it understated.

2. Wear the right shoes

Wearing appropriate footwear is a must for all interviews and interviews at corporations are no exception. This means wearing comfortable but nice shoes, the ones that are clean and professional but not over the top. Shoes can tell a potential employer lot about a person — whether you’re neat and tidy (clean, polished shoes), or unkempt (dirty, old shoes). Often people see footwear as a small glimpse into who you are as a person so make sure yours are clean, professional and comfortable for you.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask

Even if you feel comfortable with your outfit for the interview, it never hurts to ask just to be sure. Reach out to your contact at the company, whether it be the hiring manager or HR. You can say something like, “Do you have any suggestions for interview attire?” Since they encounter this question on a regular basis, they’ll be able to give you some tips on how to put your best foot forward and ensure that you’re confident and well-dressed on the day of your interview.

Although interviewing at a large corporation can seem intimidating, it doesn’t need to be. By picking an outfit that’s conservative but still fits your style, you’ll be setting the right tone for the interview and feeling great about yourself to boot.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as 6 Things to Do in Your First Week at a New Job and find answers to common interview questions such as Tell Me About a Time You Made a Mistake.

How to Write A Thank You Note After An Interview

One of the key parts of a successful interview is sending a thank you note after the interview is over. This is a must for two reasons: 1) You’ll be showing the hiring manager that you appreciate their time 2) You’ll be reminding them of what makes you unique and why you’d be a good fit for the role. As an added bonus, you’re also likely to stand out from other candidates who might not send a follow-up email.

Here are some tips to help you write the perfect thank you note.

Jot down notes as soon as you leave the interview.

Writing an outline of the email as soon as you leave the interview is a great way to ensure that everything is still fresh in your mind. Start by jotting down the interviewers’ names and other details you remember from the process. Then, write down three bullet points with things you want to highlight. The bullet points should consist of skills or special projects the hiring manager mentioned during your interview, as well as anything you want to emphasize about what you can bring to the role.

Write your thank you note.

Once you’re back at your computer, start writing your thank you email. Make sure to address the interviewer by name and to thank them for their time. Then, go on to talk about the skills and projects you outlined in your bullet points.

Your email should look something like this:

“Dear Ms. Blocs,

Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today. I really enjoyed meeting you and learning more about the position and the team at Company X. I was also excited to find out about the new project you mentioned. This is an area I’ve been interested in for quite some time and I know that I could add a lot of value to the development of this project.

Thank you again for the interview; I look forward to hearing from you soon.

All the best,
Kate

Pro Tip: Run your draft by a friend, parent or someone else you trust to ensure that your email touches on all the key points and is free of grammatical errors or typos.

Send the email the same day.

Once you have your email drafted and you’ve gotten feedback from a parent or friend, send it out the same day. This will show the interviewer that you’re enthusiastic about the role and proactive about showing your commitment. It will also ensure that you’re at the top of their mind as they make their decision.

Whether you’re interviewing for an internship or entry-level job, writing a thank you note is a great way to stand out from the crowd. And chances are, it will get you one step closer to landing that job.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as What is a Panel Interview? and find answers to common interview questions such as What Are You Passionate About?

How to Dress for a Job Interview at a Bank

Whether you’re interviewing for a paid or unpaid internship or an entry-level job in banking, there are a few things you need to know about the dress code that will help you put your best foot forward.

Here’s what you should keep in mind when deciding what to wear.

1. Know what’s appropriate in the industry.

Many bank positions require you to interact with clients all day long, so you’ll want to make sure you maintain a professional look at all times. In general, the banking industry is known for its upscale, clean look. In the past, a three-piece suit was required. Nowadays, things are a bit more relaxed, so you’ll want to wear something that falls within the realm of business casual.

2. Pick a conservative outfit that fits your style.

Men should wear a dress shirt, slacks, dress shoes and properly matching accessories, such as a tie and belt. If you do decide to wear a suit or blazer, make sure that you choose one with dark, muted colors.

Women should stick with a suit — slacks or a skirt on bottom, a blouse and a blazer on top. A classic black dress will also work, and can, depending on the style, be paired with a colorful blazer. If you’re going to go the dress route, avoid anything without sleeves. Go light on jewelry since subtle details are best for interviews.

As far as colors go, neutrals are best. You can add a pop of color with accessories such as jewelry for women or a vivid tie for men. If you’re traveling far for your job interview, go with lightweight, breathable fabrics that don’t wrinkle easily.

3. When in doubt, ask questions.

Potential employers want you to excel in the interview, so asking the right questions is a great way to set yourself up for success. Don’t be afraid to ask the hiring manager (or the recruiter who set up your interview) what would be most appropriate to wear for your interview. This simple question will ensure that you start off on the right foot.

Pro Tip: Don’t skimp out when it comes to footwear. Believe it or not, people really notice them. Good-looking, polished shoes convey attention to detail, so be sure to wear your best pair.

By picking an outfit that’s appropriate for the interview and fits your style, you’ll be sure to impress the interviewer while being comfortable and confident.

 

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Get an Entry-Level Job with No Experience and find answers to common interview questions such as How do I get an Internship?

How to Answer: Are You Willing to Travel?

“Are you willing to travel” is a common interview question, especially if the company you’d like to work for has multiple locations or you’re applying for a sales or consulting position. When a hiring manager asks this, along with related questions like, “Are you willing to relocate?” it’s to determine your level of flexibility and your commitment to the position and the company.

Here are some things to keep in mind when preparing your answer.

Do your homework.

If the job description states that the position requires travel, apply only if you’re willing and able to do so. Do some research about how much travel is typically required for the position you’re applying for so when the interviewer follows up by asking how often you are able to travel, you can give an appropriate answer. For example, if you’re applying for a job as a campus recruiter for a particular company, you should know that you’ll be traveling quite a bit during the academic year when you attend college career fairs and major industry conferences.

Find out the details.

If the job description and interviewer don’t outline the travel requirements, you should be prepared to ask. In fact, asking questions will show your prospective employer that you’re really interested in the role and invested in making it work for both parties.

Tell the truth.

Be upfront about how much you’re able to travel during any given timeframe. Even if you’re willing to travel every week, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can take off for London at a moment’s notice. Be sure to frame your answer in terms of what you’re able to do, demonstrating flexibility and wrap up by asking the hiring manager to offer more details on the travel requirements.

Say something like: “I’m definitely willing to travel, and actually love traveling! I’ll admit that I have some prior commitments that prevent me from traveling every weekend, but I’m more than happy to travel every week if necessary. Do you know how much traveling would be expected of me?”

Above all, make sure to focus on what you can do for the company and not the other way around. By doing your homework beforehand, asking follow-up questions and being honest, you’re positioning yourself as a strong and memorable applicant.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Deal with Multiple Internship Offers and find answers to common interview questions such as How Have You Displayed Leadership?

How to Dress for a Job Interview at a Nonprofit

Unlike other business fields that have more clearly defined dress codes (such as a startup or a corporation), nonprofit organizations are kind of a mixed bag, ranging from more corporate organizations to ones that mimic the startup environment and culture.

Here are some tips that will help you start off on the right foot when interviewing for an entry-level job or a paid or unpaid internship at a nonprofit.

1. Research the organization’s culture

One of the best ways to find out what to wear to your interview is to check out the organization’s website and social accounts. These channels will usually give you an indication of how formal the nonprofit is and will often also give you some deeper insights into organization’s culture as a whole.

2. Stick to business casual attire

While a full suit may be too much for most nonprofit jobs, avoid wearing jeans or sneakers unless the hiring manager or HR contact says that it’s okay to do so. A casual interview outfit may be seen as reflecting a casual work attitude to a potential employer, and not in a good way. Instead, opt for a business casual look such as nice pants and a blouse for women or slacks and a button-down shirt for men. And remember to keep things subtle. That includes perfume/cologne, clothing, makeup and even accessories.

Pro Tip: Depending on the position, your interview could include making a quick trip to the program site so be sure to ask about this in advance so that you can properly prepare if need be.

3. If in doubt, ask the hiring manager

Although asking the hiring manager what to wear might seem a bit intimidating, it’s important to remember that it’s always fine to do so. In fact, it’s a question they get asked on a regular basis and one that they’re comfortable answering. If you’re not sure how to do this, you can say something like: “I want to make sure that I’m dressed appropriately for the interview. Do you have any suggestions for suitable attire?”

4. Wear comfortable shoes

If there’s one constant piece of advice when it comes to interview attire, it’s this one: Wear your most appropriate and most comfortable pair of shoes. Good-looking, polished shoes convey attention to detail and this is something that hiring managers almost always notice. So remember not to skimp out when it comes to your footwear.

Interviewing for a role at a nonprofit is a unique experience. Depending on the organization, it could be a very formal or informal process. Regardless of how informal the nonprofit might be, show the interviewer that you respect them by dressing professionally. A clean, attractive appearance shows that you’re truly interested in the position and that you’re going to take it seriously if hired.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as 10 Tips for the Perfect Cover Letter and find answers to common interview questions such as Tell Me About a Time You Made a Mistake.

How to Answer: How Do You Handle Pressure?

You’ve started preparing for your interview and you can clearly articulate what motivates you, and the strengths that you will bring to the team. But what do you do if the interviewer wants to get a sense of how you fare when things get tough: “So tell me, how do you handle pressure?” she asks.

This common interview question, which you’ll encounter during more interviews for an internship or entry-level job, is designed to test a few things. Employers want to know that you don’t let the stress of high-pressure moments (which are inevitable in any work environment) get to you and can still perform well. Additionally, your answer to this question allows employers to see how you get your best work done and how stress affects you.

To nail this question, it’s important to understand and explain the situations that can stress you out, illustrate how you manage your reaction to that stress, and then give a real-life example of how you dealt with stress. Your answer should be honest, but definitely with a positive spin.

Here are some things to keep in mind when preparing your answer.

Talk about a time when you faced serious pressure.

Think about a time in your life when you felt truly overwhelmed. If you’re an athlete, maybe this was during the run-up to a big game. Another great example is the pressure of finals that students face every semester. Whatever example you choose, outline the situation and explain why it was a high-pressure moment for you.

Pro Tip: Avoid examples where the pressure or stress was due in part to your own shortcomings (i.e. “I didn’t budget enough time ahead to study for the final exam, but buckled down and ended up doing well”). Instead, choose an example that shows how you were able to rise to a challenging occasion.

Give concrete examples of how you deal with the situation.

Once you’ve identified the moment of pressure, outline the steps you took to address it. Be sure to include the way you assessed the situation and the plan you put in place to get through it. Be specific and provide details that will help to highlight the outcome.

Show how these steps helped you meet your goals.

After outlining process you put in place to deal with the moment of pressure, talk about how you were able to resolve the situation and meet your goals.

Say something like: “I find that when I have multiple projects and deadlines at the same time, I’m at my most productive. I’m careful to prioritize tasks and to structure ways for me to manage my time and energy proactively. Last semester, I had three final projects and a presentation due in the same week. I knew that I would need to be diligent with every moment of my day to set myself up for success. I created a weekly calendar that outlined the time needed to complete each project, the time needed to practice the presentation in front of my peers and time for sleeping and going to the gym. Having it all planned out minimized unnecessary stress and allowed me to focus on execution, which was the most exciting part for me.”

By specifically highlighting how you’ve responded well to pressure in the past, you’ll show the interviewer that you’re ready to take on even the toughest parts of the job, getting you one step closer to closing the deal.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as 7 Phone Interview Tips  and find answers to common interview questions such as What Excites You About This Industry?.

How to Answer: Why Do You Want to Work Here?

One of the most common job interview questions you will encounter is fairly straightforward: “Why do you want to work here?” The question allows the interviewer to learn if you’ve done your homework about the organization, assess your current career needs and decide if you’re a good fit for the company. It also helps them to get a sense of your passion for the role and for your future career.

The question may seem like a trick question, but it’s not. It’s also not one you should answer spontaneously. Instead, you should plan a thoughtful, concise and appropriate answer in advance.

Here’s what you should keep in mind when preparing your answer.

Focus on an aspect of the company that you admire and explain how that resonates with you.

You may be tempted to answer this question frankly, but saying that you “need the money” or “saw that the company was hiring” will not give the interviewer any insight into who you are. Every person your interviewer calls in to discuss the position has bills to pay, too. Instead, focus on why you chose to apply to this particular company. Be sure to mention something specific such as the company’s main product or one of their core values.

Say something like: “I’m graduating this spring, so when I was thinking about my first full-time job, I decided I wanted to work at a company that makes a product I truly believe in. Your company’s user demographic is people ages 18 to 25, and as a person within that age group and an avid user of your product, I think I could represent the brand well as a PR and communications specialist.”

Highlight your skills and explain how they’re relevant to the position.

Next, set yourself apart by highlighting your skills and elaborating on your strengths and experiences. If you have particular experience with the company’s target demographic or the main skill set required for the role, be sure to mention that.

Say something like: “I was a brand ambassador for two years in college, so I know the best ways to increase brand awareness and sales, and to be the voice of a brand.”

Connect your career goals to the brand.

Once you’ve demonstrated your passion for the brand and shown how your experience relates to the role, be sure to mention how your career goals align with those of the company. The key is to show that you’re passionate about working for this particular company — not a competitor or simply any company in the field.

Here’s how to bring it all together:

“I’m graduating this spring, so when I was thinking about my first full-time job, I decided I wanted to work at a company that makes a product I truly believe in. Your company’s demographic is people ages 18 to 25, and as a person within that age group and an avid user of your product, I think I could represent the brand well as a PR and communications specialist. I was a brand ambassador for two years in college, so I know the best ways to increase brand awareness and sales, and to be the voice of a brand. Your company’s dedication to empowering young people struck me in particular, and it seems like a great fit in terms of me being able to provide valuable insights and expertise while working for a brand that believes in what I can bring to the table.”

By showing that you’re knowledgeable about the company and that your values align with theirs, you’ll demonstrate that you’re a good fit for the role and stand a great chance of impressing the interviewer.

 

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Get a Letter of Recommendation and find answers to common interview questions such as Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?

How to Handle Back-to-Back Interviews

Back-to-back interviews can be stressful, but they’re also a good sign that an employer is interested in you as a candidate. What are back-to-back interviews? They’re a series of interviews where you meet with multiple team members one after the other. Back-to-back interviews are different from panel interviews because you’re meeting with team members individually rather than all at once. And although having several interviews in one day can be a little intimidating, it’s also a great way for you to showcase your skills and demonstrate why you’d be a good fit for a particular role.

Here are some tips to keep in mind as you prepare for back-to-back interviews.

1. Bring several copies of your resume.

Being able to communicate your skills and experience effectively during an interview begins with highlighting the key points in your resume. Since you’ll be meeting with several decisionmakers throughout the day, having multiple copies of your resume available will ensure that they’re each able to get a sense of who you are and whether you’d be a good fit for the team. As an added bonus, having multiple copies of your resume will show potential employers that you’re well-prepared and enthusiastic about the interview, characteristics that are likely to impress everyone you meet during the hiring process.

Pro Tip: Offering the interviewer a copy of your resume is a great way to start the interview, especially if they walk into the room empty-handed.

2. Learn the names and backgrounds of everyone you’ll be interviewing with.

Knowing who the decisionmakers are is a must for any interview and especially one where you’ll be interviewing with multiple people on the same day. To get this information, ask the hiring manager or HR contact for the names and titles of all the team members you’ll be meeting. Once you have a list, do some research by checking out the company website to learn about their roles and be sure to also do a quick Google search for each person to learn more about them and what they do at the company.

Pro Tip: Saying each interviewer’s name a few times during the interview is a great way to put the person at ease and make them feel comfortable. Once you’ve established a good connection, ask them questions based on their experience and background. This will emphasize your interest in the role and show your genuine excitement about being part of the team.

3. Ask for a glass of water.

Since back-to-back interviews involve a lot of talking, asking for a glass of water at the beginning of the interview process will ensure that you won’t get a dry throat as you’re talking and that you’ll be able to perform at your best during each interview. And if you need time to come up with an answer, taking a sip of water can also buy you some extra time.

4. Stay relaxed and pay attention to your body language.

It’s normal to be a little nervous during an interview, but you really don’t be. In fact, being relaxed during the process will demonstrate that you’re confident and enthusiastic about the role. To ensure that you come across as confident, keep your voice even and sit up straight. If you really need to relax, you can also silently count to ten or focus on your breathing.

5. Be prepared to answer the same question several times.

Since you’re meeting with multiple team members, know that you might have to answer the same question(s) more than once. This isn’t because you did anything wrong; it’s because different people are trying to get to know you and your qualifications. Some companies also have interviewers ask the same questions to test their candidates for consistency. Be honest and keep your answers more or less the same for each interviewer. You want to communicate a clear and consistent message and work/academic history.

Back-to-back interviews are a great way to make a good impression on multiple team members at once and a sure sign that a company is interested in bringing you on board as an employee. By coming to the interviews confident and prepared, you’ll be sure to put your best foot forward and get one step closer to landing the job.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as 10 Tips for the Perfect Cover Letter and find answers to common interview questions such as How Do You Handle Pressure?

How to Dress for a Job Interview for a Waiter/Waitress Job

Although you may think of casual attire or a uniform when you think of a waiter or waitress job, preparing for an interview in the food service industry is still a formal process. Like with any job, you may be able to dress more casually once you’ve been hired, but while you’re still in the interviewing stages it’s important to be as professional as possible.

1. Pick a conservative outfit that that reflects your personal style

You’ll want to dress conservatively, even if you’re interviewing for a casual restaurant. For men, this means clean, wrinkle-free khakis or slacks with a nice button down shirt. For women, it means nice pants or a skirt and a blouse or casual dress. Stick with neutrals if possible but do add personality to your outfit with a colorful but tasteful tie or scarf. It’s important to remember that appearance does matter, especially when you’re interviewing for client-facing positions.

2. Make sure you’re comfortable

An interview for a restaurant job can often be more like an audition rather than a typical job interview. You may be expected to show off your waiter/waitress skills, or the manner in which you would potentially serve customers if hired. Not only will you have to explain your skills and job history as with most interviews for part-time jobs, internships, or entry-level jobs, but a potential employer may want to see you in action. With that in mind, it’s important to ensure that your outfit isn’t too tight or uncomfortable and that you can move around easily while wearing it.

3. Wear the right shoes

You know you’ll be doing a lot of talking, walking, lifting, even potentially reaching over tables to retrieve items or clean tables, so think smart when it comes to your footwear. Although you won’t typically be doing as much as usual on the day of the interview, the possibility does exist. Wear sensible, fashionable shoes. Avoid anything that may hinder your appearance, such as sandals, sneakers or heels that are difficult to walk in.

Learning how to dress for an interview is an experience in and of itself. Although it might sound a bit intimidating if you’re never interviewed for a waiter or waitress position before, by following these tips you’ll be sure to start the interview off on the right foot and impress the hiring manager.

Next, learn more about succeeding in your new job such as 5 Things You Must Do to Prepare for Your Video Interview and find out about common interview questions such as What Are Your Salary Expectations?