… the HR Minion. Because even minions have opinions. And giggles.

How are you special?

No, I don’t mean short bus special, I mean unique. One of the questions I would always ask candidates in interviews was what they felt they could uniquely bring to the job. I wanted to know what they felt would set them apart from the other candidates. And it is a question I always think about when interviewing myself. And now that I’m in a new position I’m busy trying to figure out what unique role I can create for myself on the team.

Now, you may be asking yourself, self, why does it matter? Isn’t it better to stress your fit for the team and your fit for the job over what sets you apart? Essentially, isn’t it better to mold yourself into what they need? Well, there a few things wrong with that:

1. Do you really know what they need? Based on a job posting or an interview you may get an idea of what they are looking for but you can’t say that you really know what they need. Even the manager may not know what they need. Don’t try to force yourself into what you think they need, find out how to convince them you ARE what they need.

2. If you aren’t different, then you are interchangeable.
If you don’t know how you are special then why are you a better choice? You might as well be a faceless and nameless cog in the machine, easily switched out or picked over.

3. Once in the role, you need to stand out to get noticed.
If you are just looking for a job, any job, then you may not want to stand out. Not me though. No matter the position, I always want to do the best job I can. I want to be one of the top employees and I want to create value. That means I need to determine what I bring to the team that the more senior members don’t and use it to my advantage.

The Japanese have a saying that the nail sticking up will get pounded down, but this is not Japan, and this is not a time to blend in.

5 Responses | Add your Own

  • 1 Lisa Rosnedahl :

    Those that distinguish and dazzle get the offer. Nice post.

  • 2 HR Minion :

    Lisa – Thanks!! 🙂

  • 3 Marie :

    Talking about yourself is an easy thing to do for most people, but throw those people into an interview situation and suddenly they don’t have anything to say. Knowing how to stand out is great advice and it will also help you to answer those tough questions about yourself that many people tend to stumble on.

  • 4 HR Good_Witch :

    How true – and so often overlooked. The added bonus is – if your special gift is different than your colleagues or other applicants, its just that much easier to stand out. Great sentiment and I can so see how you would come across as having something special to offer!

  • 5 HR Minion :

    Marie – People need to prepare for questions like that, they always come up and it looks bad if you stumble. Thanks!

    HR Good Witch – I agree, Thanks!