Interview Question: "What Can You Contribute to This Company?"

Do you suit this position
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You will often get a job interview question about how you could contribute to or add value to a company. What’s the best way to answer? This question gives you an opportunity to explain what makes you stand out among all the other candidates and how you will be an asset to that particular company. If you're asked about what you can contribute to the organization, you'll have the perfect opportunity to show the interviewer why you're a good candidate for the job.

What the Interviewer Really Wants to Know

The company wants to discover how you can help and what you'll be able to accomplish, if you were to be hired. For most positions, other than very entry-level jobs, the ideal candidate brings experience and qualifications to the role. When interviewers ask about your contributions, they want to learn whether you have the skills required to do the job, and the ability to succeed in the position.

How to Answer "What Can You Contribute?"

 Theresa Chiechi. © The Balance 2019

The best way to answer questions about your contributions to the company is to give examples of what you have accomplished in the past and to relate them to what you can achieve in the future. This is known as the STAR interview response method. The method provides a simple way to remember how to respond to interview questions: Situation (describe), Task (what you decided to do), Action (how you completed the task), and Result (the outcome of the situation).

First of all, be sure to have researched the company prior to the interview, so you are familiar with the company's mission. Try to identify the company’s specific needs, and then respond by giving examples as to why your educationskillsaccomplishments, and experience will make you an asset for the employer by fulfilling these needs.

When you respond, take a few moments to compare your goals with the objectives of the company and the position.

Match your qualifications to the job, so you're prepared to share what you have to offer. Also, be ready to mention what you have accomplished at your other jobs. Your goal is to impress the interviewer with your accomplishments to date, and what you expect to accomplish if you were to be hired.

Examples of the Best Answers

 I can contribute my ability to streamline office processes. For example, I developed a new method for scheduling client appointments which led to an 85% decrease in scheduling errors. I would love to bring, not only this method but, my general organizational skills to this job at your company.

Why It Works: This response works well because it shows the hiring manager what the candidate was able to accomplish in a prior role; in a quantifiable manner.

I will bring my unique vision to your company. I am experienced in the many areas related to this company’s current goals; including expanding international sales. For example, I helped improve international sales at a previous company by over 25%. My sales background, with my ability to plan ahead, will help facilitate that growth.

Why It Works: As with the previous answer, this answer provides a quantifiable achievement in sales growth. An increase in sales volume will show the interviewer that you have the ability to contribute to the company’s bottom line.

My previous work experience includes innovation in many areas, including strategies for more effective teamwork. At my previous company, I devised strategies for improving teamwork and communication among members of team projects. I can bring not only my ideas from my previous job, but my general passion for innovation to your organization.

Why It Works: The candidate explains how her prior work experience is related to the job, and what she could bring to the company if she were to be hired. She’s showing what she has to offer and how she’s used those skills in the past.

Tips for Giving the Best Answer

Here is some advice on how to answer the interview question, “What can you contribute to this company?”

Emphasize What You’ve Accomplished. 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.

Describe specific examples of how effective you have been in your other positions, changes you have implemented, and goals you have achieved.

Talk about the depth and breadth of related experience that you have. However, you will want to conclude by explaining how you will bring these kinds of accomplishments to this current company.

Use Data. Interviewers ask this question because they want to know how you will add value to the company. To show this, you might want to use numbers that show 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.

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. You will want to let the interviewer know that you have the skills necessary to do the job they are hiring for, the ability to meet challenges effectively, and the flexibility and diplomacy to work well with other employees and management. If there are any specific qualities or skills that are particularly important for the job or company, focus on those.

What Not to Say

There are some things you shouldn’t say when you’re asked about what you have to offer a company.

Don’t let your ego get in the way. Even though you want to show the company how much you can contribute, you don’t to come across as though your way is the only way to achieve goals. Be flexible and consider the workplace, and the role, in your response.

Don’t share examples that aren’t relevant to the job. Keep your responses focused on the job for which you’re applying. It’s important that the examples you share are specific enough to show the hiring manager that your credentials are a strong fit.

Possible Follow-Up Questions 

Key Takeaways

Research the company: Before the interview, take the time to carefully research the company so you know as much as possible about the organization’s goals, products, and services.

Brush up your interview skills: Make sure you’re thoroughly prepared for the interview, and that your interview skills are polished and professional, so you're ready to make the best impression.

Always keep it positive: When responding to interview questions, always frame your answers in a positive manner.