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“What can you contribute to the company?” Tips on answering this interview question

“What can you contribute to the company?” Tips on answering this interview question

Artwork by: Ksenia Stoylik

  • How to answer the question, “What can you contribute to this company?”
  • Do your research first
  • Use the STAR method
  • Match your credentials with the job role
  • “What can you contribute to this company?” sample answers
  • Common mistakes to avoid when answering this question
  • Lying or making exaggerated claims
  • Letting your ego get the best of you
  • Being vague and/or irrelevant
  • Sharing irrelevant examples
  • Focusing on a shortcoming
  • Dodging the question completely
  • Key takeaways

Your job interview is a good opportunity for the employer to ask what you’re planning to bring to the table. Read on to learn the best ways to answer this interview question.

During a job interview, open-ended questions like “What can you contribute to this company?” provide an opportunity for the employer to assess whether you’ll be an asset to the company. This question is also your best shot at explaining your value proposition and why you’ll be a good fit for the company. 

If you’re wondering how to answer this question in the most impactful manner, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at:

  • What to say when describing what you’ll bring to the company

  • Copyable sample answers to this question

  • What not to say when talking about how you’ll impact a company’s bottom line

How to answer the question, “What can you contribute to this company?”

Whenever an interviewer asks this type of behavioral question, their objective is to determine whether you’ll be able to perform job responsibilities and succeed within the job role. This question is commonly asked from job applicants who have prior work experience. Here’s how you can answer this question properly and effectively.

Do your research first

It goes without saying that you should research the company and the job role before going to an interview. Once you have a clear idea on the company’s culture and expectations, you can tap into your strengths and see how you can use them to make an impact on the company. 

Read the job description carefully and look for specific examples from your previous work experience, education history, and key skills that will prove valuable to the company. Try to align your personal goals with the company’s objectives. 

Use the STAR method

When it comes to answering behavioral questions that involve critical thinking, the STAR interview method is the way to go. STAR stands for situation, task, action, and result.

  • Situation: Describe a situation that provides the basis for your answer.

  • Task: Mention your key goals or the problem you were attempting to solve. 

  • Action: Talk about the steps you took to tackle the situation at hand.

  • Result: Explain how solving the problem helped you contribute positively to the company.

Leverage the STAR method to create a compelling narrative on what you have accomplished at your previous or current job role and how this type of approach will benefit the organization you’re interviewing for. 

Match your credentials with the job role

If you want to stand out among a sea of applicants, make sure your answers are aligned with your target job role. This means that all the strengths, accomplishments, and goals you mention during your interview should be in line with the requirements laid out in the target job role description.

“What can you contribute to this company?” sample answers

Here are a few examples of how to effectively answer this question.


Example #1:

I can generate more leads for your business.

At my previous job role, our leads were dropping significantly and we were unable to generate consumers’ interests in our services. My task was to increase the number of leads generated by 15% in six months.

I designed a comprehensive digital marketing strategy, which included repurposing old content to create new blog posts, increasing the company’s social footprint, and investing in email marketing. I leveraged A/B testing to drive open rates for our emails and attached a new subscription form at the end of each blog post to encourage users to sign up for more information about our services.

As a result, we were able to increase the number of leads generated by 25% in six months, 10% above goal.

Example #2:

I can help your organization generate more revenue.

During the course of my current employment, I’ve managed to design an effective sales script and implement new automations for emails and cold calls. This has allowed our organization to increase conversation rates and record a 15% increase in revenue during Q4 2022.

Example #3:

I interviewed, recruited, and trained more than 20 software engineers at my previous employer.

I think this will benefit your organization, given the fact that you’ve entered a phase of rapid expansion and are on the lookout for highly-skilled QA engineers to thoroughly test your software, while identifying ways to reduce your onboarding timeline.

Example #4:

You mentioned that your goal is to increase awareness about your company’s services.

I’m currently in charge of the communications and community outreach operations at a non-profit organization. As part of my job role, I’ve revamped the company’s social media accounts, set up new private-public partnerships, and introduced a quarterly newsletter. This has allowed the organization to expand its outreach and increase the number of leads by 55% during 2022.

Example #5:

As you mentioned earlier, employee retention is a major concern for your business, just like any other business.

As a certified counselor and leadership consultant, I’m well adept at identifying employee churn factors across organizations and designing sustainable, long-term retention strategies to improve staff morale across the board and reduce employee turnover. This is evident in my tenure at my current employment, where I was able to reduce employee turnover rate by 85%.

Common mistakes to avoid when answering this question

When talking about your past accomplishments and how they translate to your new (potential) job role, it can be difficult to stay on track. Here are a few common mistakes you should avoid at all costs.

Lying or making exaggerated claims

There’s probably nothing more disappointing in the eyes of the interviewer than blatant lies and unsubstantiated statements. When discussing how you’ll add value to the company, don’t make any exaggerated claims (such as doubling sales in one month). Your interviewer has experience in interviewing people, and they can easily call your bluff.

Letting your ego get the best of you

While it’s important to focus on your individual strengths, it’s equally crucial not to get carried away. After all, you don’t want to come across as pompous and difficult to work with. For this reason, you must acknowledge your team members and showcase your ability to work well with team members with diverse backgrounds. 

Being vague and/or irrelevant

Instead of making generic statements, such as “I’m honest and hardworking,” try to be specific and back your claims with numbers and statistics. When you’re using the STAR approach, you need to be as detailed as possible and align your key accomplishments with the job you’re applying for.

Sharing irrelevant examples

Your responses should align with your target job role. If your answer is not relevant to the job role or a problem your potential employer is trying to solve, no need to mention it. For instance, if you’re applying for a marketing job role and you have experience in payroll management, it can be difficult to look for a common element in the two job roles. 

Focusing on a shortcoming

Avoid sharing any incident at work that resulted in negative consequences. Instead, try to focus on the positives. If you were unable to meet a target, it’s best not to mention it during the job interview.

Dodging the question completely

Even if you don’t have an example on how you will positively contribute to your potential employer’s goals and objectives, you shouldn’t dodge this question. It’s okay to tell the interviewer that you cannot think of a practical example at the moment. 

Being honest not only makes a good impression on the interviewer but it also gives you the chance to tap into other strengths and skills that will prove useful for the organization.

Key takeaways

  1. When hiring an employee, organizations would want to know what the potential employee will bring to the table to determine the employee’s suitability for the job.

  2. It’s best to do your research on the company and the job role before heading into the interview so that you’re well-prepared for any trick questions.

  3. Consider using the STAR interview method when responding to behavioral questions, especially the ones that involve discussing your long-term career plans and ambitions.

  4. Be sure to match your credentials to the job you’re applying for. Give examples relevant to that role and back up your answers with statistics whenever possible.

  5. Never lie, exaggerate, or come off as egocentric.Try not to use an example with negative consequences. If you can’t think of an example, be honest with the interviewer as it gives a better impression than making things up. 

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