The goal is simple: convince your interviewer that they want you to work there. And why does any employer want you to work for them? Can you add value to the company?
So what sort of answer should you give? Interviewers are looking for specificity, creativity, and authenticity. Make sure your answer is truthful and specific to the job and company you are interviewing for — and not the same answer the interviewer has heard three hundred times already.
The first thing you have to figure out before you can answer, “What can you bring to the company?” (and the narrower, “What can you bring to the team?”) is what the company (or team) wants and needs. Then you will need to show them you are a match. Here is how you can do that:
Do Your Research
Take the time to do some research ahead of your interview to gain a deeper understanding of the job responsibilities and company culture. You want to figure out the challenges you are being hired to solve and any areas where the company or team are constantly running into issues.
Your first stop for research will be the job specifications. Are they looking for someone to wear many hats, help launch a specific new program, or analyse and report on large amounts of data quickly? Next, look at the company’s website and social media. Explore the mission and values of the company. Does the company stress teamwork or innovation? Does the sales team you would be joining have a strong sense of friendly competition? To dig deeper and get a sense beyond the image the company puts forward online, you might also want to conduct informational interviews with people already working at the company.
If this is not your first-round interview with this company, you should also reflect on what was said in earlier interviews. Was there anything the hiring manager was particularly excited about for their new hire to work on? Did you learn about certain obstacles the company is facing?
Connect the Dots
Once your research is completed, reflect on how your own skills, traits, and experiences line up with what the company needs and wants, and decide what you are going to talk about in your answer. Focus on one or two things that make it clear you have done your research and that you have been listening. Be sure to “answer with the specific job in mind, not your general strengths.
For any interview questions where you are telling a story, it is often helpful to use the STAR method to structure your answer. STAR stands for Situation (set the scene), Task (explain your role in the situation), Action (talk about the actions you took), and Results (share what the outcome was, using data/evidence when possible).
Written by Sahar Habib
Founder of Coach Wilson