How To Answer “What Skills Would You Bring To The Job?” (With Examples)

Chris Kolmar
By Chris Kolmar
- Mar. 4, 2021
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A sequence of questions involving previous experience and industry-specific hard skills are thrown at candidates during a job interview.

These inquiries distinguish which applicants have the necessary background knowledge to do the job, but don’t expect that to be the extent of the discussion. An interviewer is keen to find out more details about a candidate’s transferable skills as well.

Transferable skills are qualities that a candidate could take to relatively any position or field, and the characteristics would still make them a stronger employee. These are also commonly referred to as soft skills.

To gather information about transferable abilities, a hiring manager usually asks what skills you can bring to the job. The candidate’s response further illuminates what kind of employee they’ll be and their professional strengths beyond their technical capabilities.

Answering well requires proper preparation and an understanding of how to talk about your positive transferable attributes.

Preparing an Answer to “What Skills Would You Bring to the Job?”

Showing up to an interview equipped with an impressive response to this question depends on your understanding of what the potential employer is seeking in an employee. Certain transferable skills are handier than others in particular jobs. Some soft skills are critical to being successful in a position and an interviewer is looking for these exact characteristics.

Take the following steps into consideration, pre-interview, to form the most complete answer to this question.

  • Read the job posting again. When a company puts out a call for an open position, they often leave clues in the posting that alludes to the qualities they’re looking for in a candidate.

    While some organizations might come right out and state the specific soft skills they want in an applicant, many won’t. You’ll need to read between the lines to understand what qualities you should highlight during an interview.

    If a job-posting is cryptic and you’re at a loss for what soft skills the employer values, do some research into the company itself.

    An organization’s website often explains its values and goals, which can help you get a better sense of what transferable skills are most sought after in their employees.

  • Get familiar with important soft skills for the industry. Another way that you can prepare for answering this question is by digging into which soft skills are most important for the field you’re interviewing in.

    Even though the point of transferable skills is that they’re useful in any industry, some jobs rely more strongly on particular attributes in their employees.

    Some common examples of industries and their crucial soft skills include:

    • Active listening and communication in sales

    • Adaptability and empathy in healthcare

    • Problem-solving and patience in customer service

    Think about the industry you’re interviewing in and what skills are the most helpful to accomplish the job well.

  • Choose qualities that match your professional style. While strategically choosing transferable skills to discuss is important in catching an interviewer’s attention, always respond with qualities that best reflect your personality and habits.

    Telling a hiring manager that you work well under pressure, only to disprove this by getting stressed out in your first week, leads to a tense situation.

    There is an array of soft qualities that are enticing to an interviewer in a particular field, so pick one that matches your character. When it comes down to it, being authentic about who you are in an interview is more important than saying the right thing.

How to Answer Interview Questions About Attributes

Speaking about former work experiences can flow more naturally than discussing broad skills that you could bring to the table. Talking about your attributes is not as straightforward as objective answers and needs a little bit of planning to execute well.

Below are a few steps to achieve a well-rounded answer concerning transferable attributes:

  • State the quality plainly. Telling an interviewer about the skills that you’ll bring to a position isn’t the time to be ambiguous in your intentions. Before delving into any deeper details, state the transferable skills you’ll be talking about plainly.

    If an interviewer is busy trying to figure out exactly what attributes you’re describing, they won’t be paying attention to anything else you’re saying.

  • Explain the importance of the attribute in your work. An interviewer is looking to get your perspective on the transferable skills that you possess. That means explaining the importance of the attribute to your work.

    Although the reasoning might seem fairly obvious to you, it’s best to lay it all out there during an interview.

  • Give an example of a time you displayed the soft skill. Any interviewee can say that they’re masters of analytical thinking or an effective leader, but pulling examples from previous work experience solidifies that information.

    Start thinking about the top soft skills you want to discuss during an interview and figure out at least one scenario in which you exemplified these qualities.

    Adding a time you’ve used a transferable ability creates a more comprehensive answer to questions about your attributes as an employee.

Example Answers to “What Skills Would You Bring to the Job?”

It’s difficult to grasp what a good interview answer sounds like without examples for reference. To relieve any confusion when asked what skills you’d bring to the job, refer to the following examples of strong responses:

  1. Example 1: Photographer

    “While I’m sure that your company is interviewing a lot of incredible candidates right now, what makes me stand out is the enthusiasm I’ll bring to the position. I’ve only been working in the photography industry for a year, which relatively makes me a newbie, but I think that my incredible passion for the field overrides my lack of experience.

    “I genuinely care about the quality of my work and learning more to become better at my trade. At a previous gig, I was so enamored with getting the best results that I spent a total of 50 hours shooting and editing without a break to get the deliverables sent out by a tight deadline. The project was exhausting, but it made me a stronger photographer.”

    Why it works. This candidate’s answer works because they hit every requirement on the checklist. They state clearly that the soft skill they would bring, enthusiasm.

    Then, they go on to describe why it’s important for their role as a photographer, and an example of a time that their passion for the industry came in handy.

    Additionally, recognizing the other impressive applicants that were likely interviewing for the position demonstrates their good nature and confidence regardless of the competition.

  2. Example 2: Customer Service Manager

    “I intend to bring conflict resolution skills to this role. As a customer service manager, I’ve found that there are a few essential abilities that a supervisor can have that make for a better work environment. The most crucial being conflict resolution and problem-solving.

    “Five years in the field have taught me to hone in on these skills and use them whenever they’re needed. For example, I was providing direct customer support in a former job and I was working with a very disgruntled customer. She was unhappy with my company’s service and was irate on the phone.

    “I used conflict management tactics, like getting to the root of the issue, to figure out exactly why she was upset and find a solution. It ended up working out well and she continued service with the company. I think that my skills in this area will help me succeed in this job.”

    Why it works. This answer works for a few reasons. It mentions every important aspect that an interview answer to this question should have. A clear definition of the skill, details, and an example.

    In addition to being framed appropriately, this answer goes out of its way to mention the candidate’s length of experience in the field. Their lengthy experience gives their response credibility.

  3. Example 3: Marketing Manager

    “One of the things that drew me into applying for this role in the first place was discovering how much your company values teamwork. This is intriguing and leads me to think that I’ll be using my teamwork skills a lot in this position. This will come easily to me because I thrive in a collaborative workspace and believe it’s crucial for the marketing field.

    “My first marketing position was on a close-knit team of seven, who leaned on each other to develop original ideas into workable concepts. I’ve continued to prefer working on teams and have gathered a lot of collaboration skills along the way that would be useful in this position.”

    Why it works. A candidate who makes it clear that they’ve done background research on the company they’re interviewing with makes an impact on a hiring manager. It shows a higher level of preparedness.

    This answer demonstrates this well by incorporating one of the company’s values (teamwork) into their answer about a soft skill they’ll bring to the workplace.

Tips for Giving the Best Answer

  • Don’t drag an answer on for ages. It’s tough to balance between giving enough detailed information in an interview and keeping an answer shortly. A long-winded response has the potential to bore an interviewer.

    When answering what skills will you bring to the position, include a lot of description, but maintain conciseness.

    Only include relevant information and be careful not to go off on a tangent when discussing your transferable skills.

  • Pay attention to body language. Most job candidates get so worked up about how they’ll answer questions in an interview that they never stop to consider body language communication.

    Behaviors that are subconscious for you speak volumes to a hiring manager during an interview. Be aware of different body language expressions and the impressions they display.

    Common examples of positive body language in an interview include:

    • Maintaining eye contact

    • Upright posture

    • Speaking gestures

    Common examples of negative body language in an interview include:

    • Crossing arms

    • Uncomfortable fidgeting

    • Frowning

  • Be conversational. Stiff answers during an interview make everyone involved feel uncomfortable. Being prepared is a good move, but try not to overwork your answers into a robotic regurgitation.

    Instead of writing out a full answer and repeating it verbatim during an interview, create a list of points you want to make when responding and let it flow naturally.

    This produces a more conversational and organic tone, which is important for building rapport with an interviewer.

Never miss an opportunity that’s right for you.
Chris Kolmar

Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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