Some interview questions pop up at most job interviews, regardless of whether you’re interviewing for a full-time or part-time job. One common question is, “How will you contribute to this company?”
Think of this question as a big opportunity for you as a candidate. This is your moment to show off: Whatever the industry, this question gives you a chance to explain what makes you stand out from all the other candidates, and how you will be an asset to that particular company.
What the Interviewer Wants to Know
Employers want to know that, if hired, you will add value to the organization in some way. In a sales position, they might want to know that you’ll be able to land important clients and make big sales. In a retail position, they might want to know that you’re flexible and have customer service skills.
For part-time job interviews, you do not necessarily have to answer this question differently than you would for a full-time job interview.
When applying for a part-time job, it's helpful to emphasize your ability to work a variety of hours and days of the week.
However, you might emphasize your willingness to go above and beyond in terms of hours and flexibility. This is something that will make you stand out as a part-time job candidate.
How to Answer the Question
Since interviewers are looking for what you'll provide to the company, so give them just that information. Share your skills, making sure to emphasize ones that are important for the role at hand. Anduse this as a way to highlight accomplishments you've made in other roles.
Examples of the Best Answers
I am always willing to contribute to the company in any way I can. This means I am willing to take a variety of shifts to help the organization. I have a very flexible schedule and can be adaptable with my hours to fill in wherever you need me. I’ve been working in retail since high school, so I’m accustomed to the schedule, and don’t mind working weekends and holidays when necessary.
Why It Works: This answer emphasizes the candidate's flexibility. For part-time roles, which often involve working in shifts that change from week to week, this is a desirable quality.
I will bring my stellar sales record to this company. For example, in my previous job, my sales team raised our branch’s sales record by 25% in a single quarter. I look forward to bringing my skills at connecting with and signing large clients to your company. I also come with a sizeable client list, and I know many of my clients would follow me to your organization.
Why It Works: This response uses numbers to back up accomplishments, and also highlights some very tangible assets the person will provide.
My previous work experience included innovation in many areas, including scheduling procedures and client relations. For example, I developed a new method for scheduling client appointments, which led to an 85% decrease in scheduling errors. I can bring not only my ideas from my previous job but also my general passion for innovationto your organization.
Why It Works: This response highlights skills, and also backs them up with metrics.
I know that you’re looking for someone who can manage costs while providing support to office staff. In my current office manager job, I negotiated a new contract with our office supply vendor, saving 10% during the first quarter alone. Because I analyzed the order data and made sure that our most frequently ordered items were covered under the new contract, most employees never even noticed we made the switch.
Why It Works: This answer shows the candidate has a good sense of what the company needs in applicants, and backs it up with experience and accomplishments from previous roles.
Tips for Giving the Best Response
- Connect your answer to the employer’s goals. Whatever examples you focus on, make sure they are related to the particular job and/or company. For instance, if you are applying for a job in sales, explain how you have contributed to the success of another sales team. If you are applying for a job as a teacher, focus on your contributions to the previous school you worked at. You want the interviewer to clearly see how the example relates to the job for which you are applying.
- Emphasize what you’ve accomplished in the past—and connect it to the future. Provide concrete examples from past jobs to show how you have contributed to other companies. Past examples show employers the kind of work you will likely do for them. For example, you might tell the employer that you installed new data analysis software at your old company and that you taught the employees how to use it successfully, thereby improving the company’s ability to process and analyze data. Then, explain that you would like to do something similar for this company.
- Use data. Interviewers ask this question because they want to know how you will add value to the company. To show this, you can use numbers to explain how you have added value in the past. For example, did you increase a company’s sales record by a certain percentage? Did you raise a certain amount of funds for an organization? Numbers offer a concrete example of how you have contributed to a company and how you will likely contribute in the future.
- Emphasize your flexibility. When answering this question, you might explain that your contribution is your flexibility or your willingness to work a variety of shifts. If you are willing to work a shift that is typically unpopular (such as a night shift), you can say that too.
What Not to Say
- Don't be boastful: Yes, this question is asking you to toot your own horn a bit. But make sure you don't come off as arrogant.
- Don't go off-topic: Keep it focused on work, not personality traits. Andmake sure you respond with contributions that will be meaningful for this particular role.
Possible Follow-Up Questions
- Why do you want to work here? - Best Answers
- What do you know about the company? - Best Answers
- Why should we hire you? - Best Answers
- What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses? - Best Answers
SHOW YOUR VALUE This is an opportunity to show exactly why the company should hire you, whether it's that you're skilled at landing sales deals, have a good touch with customer service, or whatever the role calls for.
HIGHLIGHT SKILLS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS And when you can, be specific, providing examples from previous roles or numbers to back up your claims.
DON'T BRAG You want to be positive about yourself as a candidate without coming off as arrogant, cocky, or over-confident.