Interview Question: “What Is Your Edge Among Other Applicants?

During the interview process, potential employers will probe your qualifications and strengths with pointed questions. A question about what sets you apart from the competition is a common one in job interviews. Being prepared for this question and knowing how to answer it can help you do well in an interview and make a good impression on a hiring manager. This article will give you the background you need to answer the question “what is your edge among other applicants?” and will give you three sample answers to use as a guide.

When interviewing potential employees, why do companies want to know how you stand out from the rest of the pack?

A candidate’s self-assurance and strengths can be gauged by asking them to describe what sets them apart from the competition. If a recent grad has little relevant work experience, they can still stand out from the crowd by elaborating on the transferable skills they bring to the table. Use these guidelines to help you respond to this inquiry effectively:

  • Give some thought to what you’ve accomplished. Consider a time when you overcame a challenge or achieved a goal on the job as a way to illustrate your background and skills to a potential employer. Then consider what you brought to the table in terms of experience, education, and character that allowed you to succeed.
  • Check out the job posting. Matching your qualifications to the needs of the advertised position is made easy by this inquiry. Examining the position’s description before an interview can help you formulate answers that speak to the skills and experience the employer values most.
  • Hone your abilities, and you’ll go far. The hiring manager may be interested in learning more about your advanced technical and transferable skills when they ask this. This can put your strengths in perspective and show how you’ve put them to use in the workplace.
  • Try to tell the truth in the interview. Having soft skills like honesty and integrity can be displayed by giving an open account of your abilities. You can differentiate yourself from the other candidates by demonstrating these skills to your interviewer.
  • Describe something that makes you, you. In an interview, it is common for the interviewer to try to glean some unique information about you in order to better understand what sets you apart from other applicants. You can make a positive impression on the interviewer by discussing how your personal experiences are relevant to the position.

If you are asked, “What sets you apart from other applicants?” here is how to respond.

Whether you are a recent college grad or a seasoned professional, here is how to respond to the question, “What sets you apart from other applicants?”

1.Think of a suitable response in advance of the interview.

It’s a good idea to think about and prepare for typical interview questions like this one before going in. To help you formulate a thoughtful response, think about the relevant aspects of your education and experience that set you apart. You could mention the fact that you just finished an internship at a prestigious firm after passing a rigorous interview process.

In addition, being well-prepared for the interview will allow you to answer questions with confidence, which will leave a positive impression on the interviewer. Preparing thoughtful answers in advance can also demonstrate your industry knowledge, relevant experience, and previous successes to a potential employer.

2. Highlight relevant experience and skills

It’s important to keep your responses in line with what the company actually needs. To better highlight your qualifications for the job you’re applying for, use this strategy. Demonstrating your familiarity with the position’s requirements can be facilitated by discussing applicable skills during the interview. In your response, you are free to highlight either your technical industry expertise or your generalizable soft skills. For a nursing position, for instance, you might highlight your technical skills like taking vital signs and writing medical reports, as well as your softer, more human qualities like patience and compassion.

3. Enlighten us on your academic background

You might not have a lot of relevant work experience if you just graduated. Include internship experience if it is relevant to the position you are applying for. You can also highlight your success in specific courses you took while in school. Whatever your background in education, it’s important to highlight any relevant direct experience that could set you apart from the competition. If you’re applying for a position as a chemical engineer, for instance, you might highlight a course you took on industrial chemical solvents as part of your response.

Here are three possible responses to the question “what sets you apart from other applicants.”

You can use the following three cases as a starting point when thinking about how to respond to this interview question.

Mechanical Engineer

An applicant for the position of mechanical engineer might respond as follows:

“My work ethic, internship experience, and knowledge of industrial mechanical systems set me apart from other candidates. I’ve studied general safety as well as the design and maintenance of industrial machinery. During my time as an intern at Marvin and Slack, LLC, an automotive manufacturing company, I gained experience in the maintenance and operation of various types of heavy machinery. During my internship, I was offered a full-time position in the maintenance department. While working for Marvin and Slack, I was able to complete all of my required coursework and take advantage of the companies’ training opportunities.”

The manager of digital marketing

For an example of a possible response from a candidate for the position of digital marketing manager, consider the following:

“My proficiency in search engine optimization (SEO) and writing sets me apart from other candidates. Along with my bachelor’s in business administration, I also have a master’s in digital marketing. Furthermore, I interned at a prominent marketing firm here in the city, where I gained experience managing a marketing team and maximizing digital content’s advertising potential. Last year, I was directly responsible for a 15% increase in advertising revenue for the company’s biggest client.”


Take a look at this sample response from a medical school applicant to this question:

“My unique selling point is that I attended Freshtown University, one of the world’s top ten medical schools. After finishing my clinical trials at Mountain Medical Center, I graduated first in my class with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. During my time there, I also finished a residency under a renowned doctor and earned my mentor’s admiration for my hard work and dedication to professional growth.”

Athina Iliadis is a Human Resources Professional with over 25 years’ experience in corporate environments working for companies such as Pearson, LexisNexis, Hershey, and Reckitt. In her current role as a consultant working with clients around the world, she coaches managers and employees on HR issues, supports leaders in their business, produces content about careers, interviews, and job opportunities. She is fluent in English, French and Greek, and she holds a BBA with a major in HR from Université du Québec à Montréal. Find her on LinkedIn and at

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