Here's everything you need to know to ace this interview question!
Your answer should be ~2 minutes in length, include a selfish element (more on why in a second), and should touch on the following 3 areas:
What exactly can I bring to the role?
What am I trying to get out of the role?
What makes me unique?
You should address all three of these underlying questions while making sure your answer is structured with the right proportions as well
Watch it in action
How to structure your answer
In my experience, you should limit your answer to 2 or 2 and a half minutes, while allocating 50% of your time to “What can you bring to the role”, 30% on “What do you want out of it”, and the remaining 20% for “What makes you unique?”
Let’s start breaking each of these down!
1. What can you bring to the role?
This is where you get to match your strength to the job requirement. In other words, your value proposition. You want to spend the most time on this question.
First, you want to do some research:
Just read through the job description, copy and paste all the text into a Word Cloud generator and see which words or phrases come up the most frequently.
While the job description doesn’t usually paint a complete picture of the role, this provides you with a great starting point to see what was your most relevant experience.
For the next step:
If you have experience in the area you have identified, mention how the new role represents a new challenge for you and how you are looking to further grow your expertise in that particular field. In other words, if you have relevant work experience, double down on it.
On the other hand, if you are a fresh grad without much experience or you’re a working professional looking to move into another industry altogether, you want to highlight relevant attributes that are transferable to the new role. Mention the skills you have developed that will help you succeed in the new position.
Finally, because 50% of your answer is allocated to this first part, you can have a full story prepared using the CARL format!
2. What do you want to take away from this role?
Many candidates are hesitant to say what they want to get out of the job because they think the answer should just be about pitching themselves to the company.
However, by saying what you are “selfishly” looking for, not only does it help you come off as more authentic, but it also shows the interviewer you have done the research, because otherwise you wouldn’t know about those specifics in the first place!
For me, when I was interviewing for my initial role with Google, the Account Manager position in the sales team, I specifically mentioned how I get a rush from seeing clients immediately adopt my recommendations in their Google Ads accounts.
This was a big deal for me because in my previous management consulting position, it took weeks or even months to really see the fruits of my labor, but in the sales position at Google, I saw it almost immediately.
My answer showed the hiring manager that:
I’m pretty results driven, since I’m excited about the impact I made.
I have done the research to know part of the job revolves around the Google Ads platform.
And I’m a genuine person for admitting part of the reason I’m applying is for the dopamine hit that I get.
If you’re having trouble with this part, it’s helpful to think about the ideal end result if you were to get the job.
What would happen if you did the job really well? Would you feel some sort of personal satisfaction like I do?
Would you be able to further grow in your area of expertise?
Would you be able to build connections in a space that you were unable to before?
Pro tip: Find someone who’s in the role you’re applying for, and ask them whether they’re happy with their job, and if yes, why. Their answer might give you some inspiration.
3. What makes you unique?
Finally, close out your answer with something unique about you.
The reason for this is very simple and slightly superficial, and that’s to make you memorable in the mind of the interviewer.
There are two ways to go about this:
Mention something truly unique or at least uncommon about you, and how that relates to the role you’re applying for.
Mention a common strength and give a memorable example.
For me, I spent half my life in the US and half around Greater China.
While this background doesn’t even make me close to being a unique special snowflake, I could and did bring up how my international upbringing would benefit a multinational company like Google.
Or, I could mention how I’m proactive, which is a common strength, and give the memorable example that to better engage my clients, I went out of my way to create how-to videos when I was in the sales team.