What do you bring to the table? Hiring a new employee for a vacant position is a lot of work. Many employers put a lot of effort into determining which applicant is the greatest match for the team based on their experience, expertise, prior successes, and how well they fit into the company’s culture. An employer can ask each applicant what they bring to the table in order to understand more about them, and it’s vital for you to be prepared to respond.
Why hiring managers ask this question
When you apply for a job, you’ll generally find that there are a lot of other people who are also trying to get the job. If a big number of people have made it to the interview stage, you’re up against it. The employer is looking for characteristics like:
A hiring manager can ask you what you bring to the table so that he or she can hear straight from you how you are unique. How you present yourself in the job reflects not just your education and experience, but also your personality.
For a potential employer to compare applicant attributes, your unique viewpoint on the position and what you’ve done in the past will be an excellent beginning point. They also want to know what qualities you possess that make you a good fit for the company’s culture.
One thing to keep in mind when talking to employers about your fit for the company is that the concept of “cultural fit” can occasionally be used to exclude and discriminate against applicants who don’t think, behave, or look like current employees, even if unintentionally. Instead, focus on why you’re a valuable “cultural add,” or someone who can offer new and valuable ideas and input to the company. Culture provides value to a company by broadening the experiences and views of its employees.
How to answer “What do you bring to the table?”
Begin by imagining how you would respond to this question, concentrating on any unique qualities or abilities you possess that you believe the business might benefit from. You should also keep track of specific jobs or projects you’ve worked on and explain how your abilities contributed to the project’s success to the hiring manager.
An employer can use this knowledge to figure out how you might be able to accomplish the same for them. If a hiring manager asks you what you bring to the table, you can be ready to answer with confidence by following these steps:
Understand what the employer wants
To begin answering this question, you must first grasp what an employer is searching for in a new recruit. Examine the job description’s precise keywords. Go over each line of the job description and circle the ones that most closely reflect your background. Make a list of ways you can describe how you can fit that job description based on your years of experience or the talents you’ve honed through time for each of them.
If you notice that the company frequently mentions teamwork in their job description, for example, this is something you can bring up during the interview when asked what you bring to the table.
Take a pause before answering
Take a breather before replying, even if you’ve rehearsed answering this question previously. Do this to remind yourself of what sets you distinct from other applicants and to give yourself the opportunity to alter your prepared response depending on what you’ve learned so far during the interview. Giving yourself a pause also conveys to the interviewer that you are serious about the topic and want to deliver a full and honest response that will help them better understand you as a candidate.
Make your answer relevant
Make sure your response is relevant to the position you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a job as a receptionist at a law office, for example, the employer can place a higher emphasis on your organization and time management skills than on your inventiveness.
Even if your creative abilities have a place at the law company, they can not be the top talent that the employer is searching for. To take it a step further, describe how your organizational and time-management abilities are relevant to the position and distinguish you from the other candidates.
Focus on the employer’s needs
If you’re a competent applicant, you’re likely to know more about the employer’s requirements than what’s mentioned in the job description. You’ll want to address these requirements and demonstrate that you have the qualifications to meet them based on your education, experience, and abilities. Consider why they’re advertising an open job for the position you’re applying for and what that could reveal about how their office is currently operating.
If you’re looking for a manufacturing position at a furniture distributor, for example, you can deduce that they’re recruiting because they don’t have enough staff to meet their existing or expected orders. In this case, you might want to go beyond just stating that you are detail-oriented to the recruiting manager. Instead, make it clear that you work quickly and with minimal mistakes. Knowing this will increase their trust in your capacity to fill the job in the most advantageous method for the company and its demands.
Highlight your strengths
It’s critical to communicate your strengths to an employer during an interview, but be careful not to do so by disparaging prior coworkers or supervisors. Also, avoid bringing up any flaws that the other applicants can have. Demonstrate confidence in your talents by describing your previous experience in a way that highlights your excellent skills and qualities without disparaging someone or your previous company.
Emphasize how your strengths translate to goals
It’s one thing to claim you’re a great communicator; it’s quite another to explain that your communication skills helped you boost your sales by 25% per quarter. Let the hiring manager know what your talents mean to them, as well as what they can anticipate from the company since you bring certain abilities and expertise to the position. Assist a recruiting manager in visualizing how you’ll fit within the team.
During an interview, a hiring manager can ask you a variety of questions. It’s vital to offer details, but keep your response succinct so you don’t waste time. A well-thought-out, succinct response will create an impression on the hiring manager while also giving you time to address other elements of the job and answer further inquiries.
Example answers for “What do you bring to the table?”
If an employer asks you what you bring to the table, here are some sample responses. These might be used as a starting point for your own interview.
Administrative assistant example:
“I’ll enter this job completely prepared to take on whatever duty you or a team member assigns to me. With a willingness to assist when required and a drive to acquire new skills and processes, I can assist workflow and contribute to the group reaching project deadlines. While I am good at following instructions, I am also proactive and can seek out activities that require my aid. My collaborative enthusiasm significantly helped to a project finishing on time in my previous position as an administrative assistant at Health Objectives.”
Social media manager example:
“Because I’m both creative and analytical, I’ll be able to develop engaging material that serves a purpose while also analyzing engagement and determining what sort of content we need in the future in this job.
In previous jobs, I oversaw many social media initiatives and used my analytical abilities to assess patterns that influence our marketing decisions. I also used my people and communication abilities to build a real connection with our audience. As a consequence, over the course of three months, we gained 40,000 new followers.”
UX designer example:
“With my background as a user experience designer, I can contribute significantly to the team. My expertise in design for both websites and mobile phone applications will be beneficial in merging the two for the rebranding that Burton Studios wishes to undertake.
I can create platforms that captivate our target audience and make it simple for them to achieve the website’s objectives. I understand that a user can become frustrated and leave the platform if the journey is incomplete. My goal is to constantly create an outstanding experience so that our audience would desire to buy our products and services.”
Ideas of what you can bring to the table:
- Generous spirit.
- Positive attitude.
- Previous experiences.
- Strong work ethic.
- Respect for other coworkers.
- Gut intuition (gut feelings).
- Energy and passion.
- General sense of happiness.