Billions of people on the planet, spread from land mass to land mass, and not two identically the same. Even those born who get to be call identical twins have unique personalities, desires, interests and challenges. So what is it that makes you uniquely different from ever other person who has ever lived and will live?
If you don’t look too hard, you’ll note the ways in which you are similar to every other person. “There’s nothing special or remarkable about me.” And it’s a good thing that we are on the surface, very alike others around us. We are similar enough to each other so we can find common ways to get along, common needs that bring us together and allow us to work towards these common purposes.
However, while needs like producing and consuming food, building and living in shelters unites us, there are many things which differentiate us from others. Some of us seek leadership, power, fame and fortune, others desire solitude, tranquility, peace and quiet. Some want cars as status symbols, and some with cars drive them out of necessity not choice. Some want to work in the hustle and bustle of the big city, while others want the close proximity of the suburbs without the congestion of traffic, and others still seek the rural life.
Every person is uniquely designed, and while we may share certain values, and seek out others during our time on the planet who share those values, we are not clones of each other, thinking the same thoughts, wanting the same things, acting the same way.
So it likewise stands to reason that when it comes to work and employment, we do not all want the same jobs, derive the same satisfaction out of completing the same work, nor are we qualified in identical ways from those with whom we find ourselves in competition with for those jobs. So what’s so special about you? A provocative question meant to be answered rather than just contemplated.
In a job interview, you may be asked some version of the question, “Why should I hire you?” The entire interview of course is really an expanded version of this question. There are x number of other candidates applying for the position you covet, and this is your chance to sell yourself, explain what it is that makes you unique, and then complete the answer by demonstrating how that uniqueness is something that will bring value to the employer.
And this is the challenge for the person making the hiring decision. There may be numerous people who according to their resume alone would be aptly qualified to win the job. If this were the sole criteria, personal interviews would be deemed unnecessary and a waste of time and money. However, most of us agree that there is value in meeting potential candidates in person and conducting interviews. In these conversations, the interviewer and the applicant get a chance to meet face to face, and sell each other on how they the preferred choice; the company for the applicant, and the applicant for the company. It’s a two-way, rather than one way street. Both have needs.
If you are job searching, and have yet to really figure out what it is that makes you uniquely qualified for a certain position, good advice would be to give the matter some thought now rather than later. It’s not so much about a course you’ve taken, or a degree you hold, nor about some past position you’ve held. Others competing with you may have the same credentials. Broken down simply, it has to be something in addition to these that makes you uniquely qualified, or as stated earlier, they’d just look at your CV or resume and hire you based on that.
How important are interviews? Significantly critical and nothing less. Why do companies in some situations not only have an initial interview but second, third and sometimes fourths? Put plainly, they are bringing in stakeholders to the conversation that have higher stakes in the hiring decision. Those people cannot be spared to sit in a large panel interview with every candidate, and so as the candidates are removed from the shortlists, and the applicant gets closer to being offered a position, those assembled in the conversation have more at risk.
It may be chemistry, a diverse background, previous accomplishments, the passion in one’s voice, the vision one expresses, but there is something special about one applicant that in the end will propel that person into being perceived as the ‘right’ choice. And this is the part that unsuccessful job seekers most often miss. They will lament afterward that they met the requirements on paper for a job and can’t understand why they finished out of the job and were passed over. In all probability, they did not demonstrate how they were uniquely qualified to bring the maximum amount of value to a position. Their competition did a better job of marketing themselves, clearly articulating their value, sharing their vision and passion.
It may be to you it was a job however, to your competition it was never about a job at all, nor was it about a job to the employer. It was always about sharing a vision, adding to the chemistry and value of the business. To some applicants it is only about adding to their resume.
So, what’s so special about you?