What skills do you bring to this job?

This sounds like a standardized question. It isn't.

It's another quality control question, designed to get the best response from candidates, and weed out the lower grade answers.

Depending on the job and the essential criteria, part of the answer is obvious.

Skills, experience, and value adding, in terms of additional abilities are the natural replies, and must be included in your answer.


You need to prepare for this question.

It's not a simple question, if you consider the basic requirements of any job.

It's necessary to add the desirable skills, and personal expertise.

It's also relevant to your other questions, so think of it as a general rehearsal, and somewhere you can put all the points you want to make in one place.

Some people are understandably skeptical of answers which include industry buzz words, because it looks like a recital. That's not actually the case, when you can use them and mean them.

Expressions like this actually mean quite a lot:

  • Team player
  • Team builder
  • Communications skills
  • People skills
  • Customer skills
  • Relationship building
  • Leadership
  • Commitment
  • Initiative
  • Organizer
  • Problem solver
  • Technical skills
  • Organizational knowledge

They're also a much more efficient way of giving the interviewers a lot of information, economically, not wasting their time or yours.

The skills you bring to a job are crucial, both to the job and your competitive chances of getting the job.

You can qualify each of these expressions with a brief example.

  • Team player- Like in the teamwork example I gave you earlier
  • Communications skills- Like in the case of my public inquiries role, and I've done a lot of customer service.
  • Initiative- Like the problem solving example we did earlier.

Just use your examples as confirmation of your skills.

You don't have to make much of a production number out of your answer. The fundamental skills are almost self explanatory. But you need to make all the points you can. You can also remind the interviewers how your skills and answers have proven a lot of your claims to the job.

You're also giving a much more thorough answer than the usual average twenty or thirty seconds of answer the question generates. It's sadly normal that interviewees seize up when asked this question, and haven't thought about it.

If you haven't been thinking about this one, start now, because you'll inevitably bump into the question in some form or another.

Answering the question, keep your information clearly presented, and speak at a speed where the person taking notes of the interview can keep up. You're making a lot of points at once, and you want to make sure they get all of them.

Middle range and professional interviews regarding skills

In more advanced jobs and interviews, this is also a potential showcase for your abilities, so use it.

The more competitive the interview, the more you have to throw at it in terms of good points.

At the advanced career and professional level, the question can be a true delineator. The candidates are usually highly qualified, articulate, and tough competition.

The question may well be phrased quite differently. It may be What particular outstanding qualities do you have which would bring value to the organization.

It means exactly the same thing. It's just as lethal, as a question in a very competitive interview.

You will probably need to cite professional achievements, in support of terms of skills like research, development, or any other natural criteria for a professional attribute.

The reality is that you will need to produce extremely effective indicators. Effectively, category killers.

This is where being articulate comes into play, so it's also where you need to prepare thoroughly, and make sure your information content is up to standard.

Prepare your answer, listen to it as if you were the interviewer.

Any gaps? Any missing components?

First draft, there will be a few things missing, definitely.

Always ensure quality of your answers on every response, particularly this one, because you're giving them a list.

At the professional level, an adequate or just average quality answer probably won't be good enough.

Try to produce a response which contains an easily transcribed series of points for the interviewers, all of which mean something important to the position.

You need to make sure the points are transcribed properly because you'll be referring to at least some technical and advanced skills which may take a bit of time to express.

Important: You can actually outnumber your competition on points, so use your terms well, and ensure lots of actual content.

You may find while preparing for this question that you remember a lot of things you could have said in other interviews.

That may well have been the problem, so now is the time to get it right.