Certain interview questions are designed to find out more about the kind of employee you are. Other questions put you on the spot and ask you to back up your qualifications. This question falls into the latter category. This question is blunt, and you will need to backup your answer about how you will contribute to make it valid. We’ll help you do that after the break.

Firstly, before you think about how you will contribute, you should do some research on the company you will be interviewing for. This doesn’t just mean looking at the company’s website. You should try and figure out what the companies #1 goal is, and how they go about accomplishing that. Then you should figure out what your role would be in achieving that. Finally, link up your skills and experience to the role you will play. Now you are prepared to answer!

Man pumping fist after climbing mountain to the top.

The way you answer should highlight your successes.

Now that you see the big picture the way the company does, you can better answer their question. Being able to see it from the company’s viewpoint allows you to understand their needs, and discuss how you meet them. However, don’t start off just by listing your skills or talents. You don’t simply want to restate what is on your resume. They’ve already seen it, and that is why you will be sitting in an interview with them. Instead, you should demonstrate your past successes and how they inform what you will contribute in the future, and how they align with the company’s strengths.

To accomplish demonstrating this, don’t be vague. Use stories of successes, and pull out numbers that show results. Bringing up data shows confidence and illustrates to the interviewer that your successes are more than just talk. Discuss the specific skills you have, and how you would put them into action for the company. You should also try to have a ‘Unique Selling Proposition’. Think about what should set you apart from the competition. Is there something unique that would allow you to contribute to this company in a way different from most others? If so, make sure you stress that in the interview.

Also, don’t be afraid to talk about your contributions to the company could bring about profit or growth. Don’t boast, but if you see an opportunity that would clearly benefit the company, bring it up. Just make sure you don’t give away everything you’d do in the interview! While all advice given here is of value, being able to put yourself in the company’s position and think about why they would be hiring you is easily the most important. Lastly, if you are instead trying to answer ‘How long will it take you to make a significant contribution?’, our write up on that question can be found here.