“What can you contribute to this company” is one of the most common questions job seekers encounter. It’s a great opportunity for applicants simultaneously to draw attention to their qualifications while also pinpointing how they can create value for an employer.
As a candidate, you’ll know exactly what you have to offer, but to distill that into a compelling answer, you should first consider the motivation behind the “how will you contribute to our success?” interview question.
1. Why Do Employers Ask “What Can You Contribute to This Company?”
Employers ask, “what can you bring to this company?” because they want to learn more about your skills and experience. More specifically, they want to know how your skills and experience will benefit their organization. The way you tailor your answer will also assure them that you have a grasp of what their business does and how you would fit into that environment. Simply listing out your accomplishments without relating them back to the specific position will not cut the mustard.
2. How to Respond to the Question “What Can You Contribute to This Company?”
Given the frequency with which hiring managers ask, “what can you contribute to the team?” It’s worth preparing your answers in advance, bearing in mind a few key points.
2.1 Research about the company and the role
There’s no quicker way to get yourself discounted from consideration for a job than by failing to do sufficient research into the company. Make sure you acquaint yourself with the organization and its industry, as this will help when it comes to matching your employment history with a role. Take another methodical look through the job description and note down exactly how your previous experience fits with the requirements, so you have the talking points to hand in your mind.
2.2 Use the STAR interview technique
Candidates often find it helpful to answer questions like “What ways do you think you can make a contribution to our company?” using the STAR method, which was originally formulated to help interviewees respond to behavioral questions involving situational hypotheticals, such as asking how you solved a team conflict. The technique involves four thought processes:
- Situation – Describe specifically a situation where you implemented a solution to an objective or an issue. If you were applying for a job that involved project management, for instance, you might take a situation involving that aspect of a piece of work.
- Task – Discuss in detail your role in the situation. What were your responsibilities and resources?
- Action – How did you address the issue? In the context of project management, for example, you might discuss certain digital tools or work processes you put in place.
- Result – Explain the results of your action. Naturally, you’ll have chosen an incident where the outcomes were positive, thereby demonstrating your business savvy.
2.3 Discuss your skills with concrete examples
Even when you aren’t using the STAR technique, being as descriptive as possible will lend weight to your responses. When you’re asked, “What can you contribute to this company?” have concrete examples of how, say, your communication skills helped deal with a particular conflict at a previous business, or how your presentation skills helped to win clients at specific customer pitches. While some of the skills you reference will be so-called ‘hard skills,’ i.e., things like data mining, photo editing or language skills, others will be more universal ‘soft skills,’ like adaptability, emotional intelligence and collaboration.
2.4 Demonstrate how your skills fit with this specific company
While past anecdotes are useful to contextualize your accomplishments, you should also think ahead to how your abilities could be used in your future role. This is where researching the company will be invaluable, as it will give you an insight into their specific goals and points of differentiation. Perhaps this business has been a vociferous proponent of a tech-forward approach, in which case elucidating your skills with automated solutions or IT programs will give you a leg up
2.5 Support your answers with data
Quantitative data like sales figures or productivity quotas can be an impressive complement to qualitative descriptions of your past prowess. If one of the key targets for a position is to increase web traffic, being able to produce solid numbers around how you improved unique visits, pageviews and bounce rates will obviously be a massive plus.
3. Sample Answers for “What Can You Contribute to This Company?”
How you answer the question, “What can you contribute to this company?” will vary by role and your experience, but here are a few ways to describe your contribution to the company from employee examples.
I understand that one of this role’s requirements is to improve web traffic for the brand’s online presence. That was also one of the targets I dealt with at my previous company, where I oversaw a 50% increase in pageviews. Through examining regular Google Analytics reports, I was able to put together a strategy to improve the search engine optimization of the website through key words usage as well as create tactical social media posts that vastly increased clickthrough rates.
I believe my experience of project management will be invaluable to the company’s ongoing task-based approach. I have used a variety of Kanban board and Gantt chart software in the past to effectively run teams of up to five people. In one particular project with strict deadlines, I advocated for the implementation of tools like Asana and Smartsheet to make it easier to visualize a project and break it into smaller pieces that could be actioned simultaneously. The result was that each milestone was, on average, completed two weeks ahead of schedule.
At my previous company, we had a difficult transition to remote working where a lack of effective communication processes impeded the team’s productivity. As the team leader, it was necessary for me to explore different avenues to see how this could be rectified. After some trial and error with various software, we ended up finding that a weekly video meeting using Zoom combined with regular interactions via the messaging tool Slack avoided unnecessary confusion and created a basic template to build upon the company’s ongoing objective to make the business 90% remote. Having this experience under my belt, I believe I am highly capable of overseeing a similar transition at your company, as I understand you want to trial the concept of permanent hybrid working.
4. How Can You Contribute to Our Company as a Fresher – Sample Answers
It can be extra challenging to figure out what can you contribute to this company with no work experience to speak of, but here are a few ideas to get you started:
For the majority of the three years completing my university degree, I had to deliver a number of detailed essays whose deadlines often overlapped. I believe that level of organization would be extremely valuable in the advertised role, which also requires balancing commitments in different areas and completing all of them in a timely fashion.
As a recent graduate, I am up to date with most of the latest advances in the field and trained in the standard techniques currently used in the industry. I believe my attention to detail, as noted by my professors in my recommendation letters, is a highly transferable skill that will be of great benefit to the company as it seeks to improve its reputation for high-quality service.
While this would be my first full-time job, I have previously volunteered in a charitable organization where I regularly interacted with homeless people who were in need of assistance. Though this could at times be challenging, I believe it has benefited my emotional intelligence and enhanced my ability to defuse conflict, making me an ideal team player.
- What can you contribute to this company sample answer?
Whether you have decades of experience or are a fresh graduate, the most important thing to remember is be confident, clear and succinct. As you can see from the sample answers above, even if you are unable to quote quantitative data or strictly apply the STAR method, you can always neatly link your skills and working history back to ways you can contribute to the company where you are applying to work.
- How to answer “How can you contribute to our company as a fresher?”
If you’ve been invited to interview as a fresher, it’s safe to assume that the company isn’t expecting you to come armed with vast amounts of work experience. Instead, they will be interested in the skills you are able to bring to a role. A standard “what value will you add to our company” interview answer for freshers is likely to focus on demonstrable examples of your organizational proficiency, teamwork or time management, perhaps developed through your actual degree but also perhaps related to social groups you participated in or even ran while at university.