This is one of the most straightforward questions you can get in a job interview.
But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to answer. Quite the opposite — most candidates find it difficult to figure out what exactly they bring to the table.
Here’s what you’ll learn in this guide:
- What the interviewers are looking for when they ask “What can you contribute to the company?”
- How to prepare your response in 3 easy steps.
- What to include in your answer (with 4 sample answers to copy).
Don’t waste days compiling overused interview techniques. Get original answers to every single question you could expect.
Just looking for a quick checklist on how to answer “What do you bring to the company?”
Here are the key points to keep in mind:
- In essence, the interviewer wants to hear that you’ll save them time and make them money. Your answer should explain how you can do that.
- Instead of focusing on the general skills you have and how you fit the job, speak about how you add value and how you will be an asset to the company.
- Research the company really well so that you understand their specific needs and where you can stand out and contribute.
- Give examples of what you’ve accomplished in the past, and show how they can translate into what you can achieve for this company. Use numbers and data whenever possible.
- Don’t provide vague or unsubstantiated claims, and don’t make this about how you want to thrive in the role. By hiring you, the company is making an investment, so focus on what returns this investment will bring.
What Are the Interviewers Looking for When They Ask “What Can You Bring to the Company?”
With this question, the interviewer wants to understand:
- If your skills, knowledge, and experience are relevant to the company’s needs.
- If you’re confident about what you bring to the table (because if you aren’t how can you expect them to be?).
- What results they can expect if they hire you.
- How you fit the company culture.
What they’re looking for in your answer:
- Clear signs you’ve done your homework. Your answer will tell them if you’ve researched the company and the job role deeply enough to know what you can offer, specifically.
- Your commitment and passion. In your answer, they’ll be looking for signs that you’re genuinely interested in the job and know why you’ll be good at it.
Something that sets you apart. It’s not always the case, but the “What do you bring to the company… that no other candidate can” part is implied in this question. If you can show that you have something no one else has, it will surely make you memorable, as long as it’s true and relevant to the job.
Pro tip: If you think “What you can contribute to the company” is the same as “Why should we hire you,” you’re not entirely mistaken. Both questions require you to sell yourself and explain what sets you apart from other candidates. But, in a way, the “what can you contribute” question is “why should we hire you” on steroids. When asked about what you’ll contribute, you need to explain the impact you’ll have on the company performance, not just list qualifications and attributes that make you a good fit.
How to Answer “What Can You Contribute to the Company?”
- This is one of the interview questions you can (and should) prepare for in advance.
- To craft a perfect response, you need to research the company and reflect on your skills, previous experience, and what you’ve been able to contribute to previous employers.
- Finally, analyze the job description, identify the key requirements, and then connect your strong points to the expectations of the role.
How to prepare your response
There are 3 crucial steps to prepare your response to “What can you bring to the company?”
Research the company
There are many ways you can do this:
Start from their website and go to the About, Our Team, or Company pages. There, you’ll learn about the company size, the people, and what challenges they’re trying to solve.
Next, check their LinkedIn profile, the people who work there, and what kind of content they post. This can give you a behind-the-scenes look at what their current initiatives are.
Check their other social media profiles (Instagram, TikTok, Twitter or X, or whatever that company is called now), and make a list of their current projects, achievements, and trending topics.
Finally, analyze the people, the culture, and the work ethos. Ask yourself how you align and where you can contribute the most.
Reflect on your skills and experiences
First, think about what sets you apart as an employee. Do you have a knack for creative problem-solving? How about the skills and tactics that helped you overcome a challenging situation? If nothing comes to mind, ask your former colleagues or friends to jog your memory. You’ll need those accomplishments as tangible proof of your contributions.
Then relate your previous work experiences to the job you’re applying for. Is there anything similar between any of your past roles and the one you’re targeting now? If yes, highlight how you can use those skills in the new role. It’s about showing the employer how your experience and skill set align with their needs.
Lastly, ask yourself if your career goals match the company’s objectives. For example, if the organization is known for innovation and you aspire to be at the forefront of industry advancements, this is where you can contribute as a driving force.
Analyze this particular opening
Check out the job description and make a list of all the skills and qualifications an ideal candidate should have. This includes technical abilities, educational background, and any certifications. This will help you determine if you’re a good fit at all. Don’t forget soft skills (they’re equally important).
Understand the expectations and deliverables. Pay attention to job duties, KPIs, and responsibilities. This section details what the employer expects from you and how your performance would be measured. Make sure to mention how you contributed to previous success through these exact metrics.
Finally, connect the dots and match your strong points to the expectations of the role. Finally, connect your hard and soft skills and professional experiences with what the company wants from the role.
Pro tip: Sometimes, the job description will give you a very detailed blueprint for what to include in your answer. Take the one below as an example.
They literally tell you what they expect you to contribute. Your answer should at least match, or better yet, raise what they mention.
What to include in your answer
Before we share some good sample answers to “What can you contribute to the company,” here’s a quick checklist:
- Show your knowledge about the company. Mention their goals, achievements, and core values. This way, you’ll come across as well-prepared and genuinely interested.
- Add enthusiasm to the mix. No right answer can compensate for a lack of enthusiasm. Being genuinely motivated and excited will show them you care and that you’ll go the extra mile to add value.
- Give specific examples from previous experiences and how they can translate into success in this role. Describe a past project where you made a significant impact. This will act as evidence that you’ll be able to achieve similar results for them in the future.
- Outline how your skills will benefit the company. Explain how your industry knowledge, strategic vision, or competitive intelligence will drive the company forward.
- Show your approach to taking on new challenges. If you don’t have an example ready, you can share an experience of when you worked on something you had no experience with. So even if you don’t mention the particular skill the employer was looking for, you’re still showing you’re proactive about learning.
This guide covers how to answer “What you bring to the company?” but we also have full guides for:
- “Why Should We Hire You?” Sample Answers For Job Interviews
- “Tell Me About Yourself” 20+ Sample Answers + How-to
- What Are Your Strengths (and Weaknesses): Example Answers + Bonus Tips
- How to Answer: “Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?” (+ Examples)
- “Describe Your Current Job Responsibilities” Sample Answers
- How To Answer “Why Are You Interested In This Position?”
- 9 Ways To Sell Yourself In An Interview (+ Examples)
Plus a list of the most common interview questions and 40+ smart questions to ask at the end of the interview.
Examples of Good Answers to “What Can You Contribute to Our Company?”
- To give a good answer, the key is to address the actual question. A common mistake is to start talking about how you fit the role or your skills in general.
- They want to know how you can add value to the company. This is serious business talk.
- Begin your answer with a mention of your key abilities that have been differentiators in the past.
- Use the STAR method to tell a story of how you’ve added value before.
- Wrap up by making an offer and quantify your results wherever possible.
Here’s an example of an SEO writer answering “What will you contribute to this company?”
In my previous role, I increased organic traffic from 12K to 60K weekly organic visits through targeted bottom-of-the-funnel articles and a link-building strategy based on creating news-worthy digital PR articles. Over a one-year period, 78 product demos were booked through the blog forms — a 150% increase year over year.
I’m bringing my versatility of writing styles and formats, and knowledge of SEO to do the same thing for your company — help you grow the blog, optimize commercial landing pages, and increase the number of conversions.
Why this works:
- The answer starts with a strong, quantifiable achievement that immediately proves the candidate’s competence and success in previous roles.
- There’s enthusiasm for the role, particularly in contributing to specific company initiatives like increasing blog conversions and landing page experimentation, which suggests a strong fit for the position.
Another example is a teacher looking for a new opportunity in an international high school.
I’ve always prioritized creating an inclusive and dynamic learning environment, which seems to align well with your school’s commitment to diversity and innovation.
What I bring to the table is my ability to integrate technology into the classroom to enhance learning outcomes for students with disabilities, as well as my 6 years of teaching multinational classes in Spain.
Some of my biggest contributions include a project to integrate digital portfolios, which resulted in a 20% increase in student engagement. I saw engagement is an issue you hope all your new teachers can help with, and I’d love to implement what I learned.
Working abroad with special needs, multilingual students has really given me a new perspective on cultural sensitivity and diversity.
Why this works:
- Alignment with the employer’s values. The answer directly ties the candidate’s experience and approach to the school’s commitment to diversity and innovative education in a multinational setting. Although as a teacher, she can’t impact the bottom line directly, she does her best to showcase how her methods, previous experience, and metrics can help the school’s reputation.
- Relevant experience and adaptability. The mention of teaching in Spain is a great touch. It illustrates the candidate’s ability to adapt to new environments and teaching methods, adding depth to their educational approach.
- Quantifiable achievements. By including a 20% increase in student engagement, the candidate provides a concrete example of why their teaching methods are successful, implying that the school will benefit from hiring them.
Here’s an example of a real estate agent looking for a job overseas in a Croatian agency.
As an American with 7 years of experience working in real estate in the US, I understand the American buyers and their needs really well. And Americans’ share in the Croatian real estate market grows by 20% annually. I can really cater to that audience. I’ve also spent the last 5 years living in Croatia, so I’ve learned the local customs and the nuances of the market. My knowledge bridges the gap between local property insights and international buyer expectations.
I saw most of your listings were stone houses and historic villas, which is exactly where I’ve seen the best results. Before moving to Croatia, I spent 3 years selling luxury villas in the French Riviera, and I’m proud to say all of my KPIs have been great — my properties had the shortest duration on markets, I had the highest list-to-sale ratio in my team, 20% of my sales were referrals, and my average customer satisfaction score was 4.8 for 3 consecutive years.
I’m confident my blend of international experience, cultural adaptability, and proven track record in selling unique properties make me the right fit for your company.
Why this works:
- The candidate understands what the company wants of her — to sell luxury homes to US buyers. As an American with deep knowledge of the European market, she has a clear advantage over local candidates, and she makes sure to highlight it.
- She mentions her outstanding metrics to further prove she’s the right candidate for the job.
- She explains what she did in the past, connects it to the future, and establishes herself as an asset.
Or take a look at this example by an experienced Marketing Director joining a small SaaS Marketing Team as a consultant on a 3-month basis.
I’m skilled in product launch, persona and vertical marketing, content strategy, demand generation, sales enablement and press & analyst engagement and have a deep grasp of key business drivers in the data governance industry.
Having worked in 3 competitor companies over a period of 10 years, I bring a wealth of experience and comprehensive industry knowledge. Judging from your website, I can tell you specialize in a single vertical, and I can help define buyer personas, adapt product messaging, and co-create marketing campaigns for lesser-known verticals like Financial Services or Health Care.
Over the years, I’ve attended multiple industry events, co-created content, or initiated third-party endorsement programs, so I’ll be glad to leverage my network and knowledge to identify the most beneficial events and opportunities for your team.
Lastly, I’ve had great results in the past. In my last role, I increased market share and revenue in 2020 by 2% and 28.4% YoY, respectively, through a variety of demand generation activities such as content strategy, events, webinars, direct mail, email, nurture, digital and ABM campaigns. I’m sure my skills can translate into similar results for your Marketing Team.
Why this works:
- It’s clear that the candidate understands exactly what the employer needs.
- By focusing on how she can turn their weaknesses into opportunities, she positions herself as a strong candidate whose contribution will be evident from day one.
“What Can You Contribute to the Company?” Popular Advice vs. Expert Opinion
Is the interview and career advice you get from strangers online legit?
We asked our two experts, Pamela Skillings, a Career Coach with 15+ years of experience, and Michael Tomaszewski, Certified Professional Resume Writer to comment on popular and heavily-upvoted pieces of advice we found on Quora.
Let’s take a look at what Cynthia thinks about how to answer “What can you bring to the company?”
I think they are looking not just for what you say but how you say it. Are you good at communicating? Are you articulate?
I’d say, “I’m going to contribute in more ways than I can express during an interview. I’m not only going to work hard and do a good job, but I’m going to set an example for the other employees. I’m going to be the one who is on time and ready to get after it every day. I’m going to be easy to work with and encouraging and helpful to other employees.
Pam says: “Cynthia is definitely onto something here. You need to formulate your response so that it’s articulate. That’s why practice is important. Instead of responding with a list of skills or achievements, Cynthia suggests we focus on attitude and work ethic. This can be powerful because it shows your commitment to the role and your potential impact on the team dynamics. Things like punctuality, teamwork, and a positive attitude show you’re not only skilled, but also a great culture fit. In this example, we see the “leading by example” managerial tactic at play. What I would add here is to always try and back up these claims with specific examples or experiences that show you’ve embodied these qualities in the past.
Next, let’s look at Steve and how we would answer “What will you contribute to the company if you get hired?”
Sure, there may be candidates with more experience, or better credentials, or who will work cheaper. But no one, no one, has more enthusiasm for this job, and no one will work as hard as I will to succeed. This is the job I want to hinge my career on, and this is the company I want to do it with.
Michael says: “Steve’s enthusiasm is great, but he heavily undersells himself. If there are people with more experience, better credentials, and lower salary expectations, sorry Steve, but I’ll hire them. Besides, his answer lacks key information. Why this company? What skills is he actually bringing? Also, Steve should add a few quantifiable achievements from his past roles to make his pitch more convincing. Overall, a C- answer.”
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Talking About What You Can Contribute
- Vague and unclear answers. Interviewers talk to multiple applicants daily. It will be much easier for them to remember you if you’re specific, to-the-point, and have a good idea about how exactly you can contribute (short-term and long-term).
- Unsupported claims. Remember to always prepare numbers, results, achievements, testimonials, peer- and 360-reviews. Everything counts, as long as it’s verifiable.
- Focusing too much on personal gain rather than the company’s benefit. Remember that this question is not about you basking in previous success, but showing how you can achieve similar success in the new role.
- Not tailoring the answer to the specific company and role. I know it’s more work, but don’t give an answer that could apply to any company. Tell them why you will be an asset there, based on their current needs.
Summary of the Main Points
Here’s what you need to know about answering “What can you contribute to this company”?
- This interview question is similar to Why should we hire you?. The key difference is that you don’t need to focus as much on your strengths and skills, but instead on how you will add value and justify the investment.
- It’s important to know your key contributions from the past, and connect them with what the company is looking for. For example, if they’re hiring a blog writer, they probably want to increase their organic traffic, so show them how you helped do that in the past.
- Even when you mention accomplishments and quantify your results, try to frame the question so that it’s less about you, and more about how you’re an asset that can help the company grow and hit targets in the future.
Need a hand landing your next job? There are 3 ways we can help:
- Struggling to talk about contributions and strengths? Get personalized interview practice (Rated with 4.9/5 by 1,000,000 users).
- Learn how to answer questions like Why are you interested in this position.
- Watch a free webinar from Pam, our head career coach, on unexpected interview questions.
What’s the difference between “why should we hire you?” and “what can you contribute to the company?”
Both questions ask you to reflect on your strengths and experiences but require different angles in your response. “Why should we hire you” is more about you as a candidate. You should speak more about your qualities, skills, and experiences and how they match the requirements. “What can you contribute…” is more about the impact you’ll make and how you plan to add value.
How to answer “what can you contribute to the company” if I have no work experience?
If you have no formal work experience, focus on your transferable skills, personal qualities, and skills you’ve acquired while volunteering or during internships. It’s also important to say you’d like to “learn and grow with the company.” Many young people contribute a lot more than they might think — they bring enthusiasm, genuine motivation to learn, seamless adoption of new tech tools, new perspectives, and lots of positive energy.
What if I have nothing unique to contribute and am just a solid employee?
Think again. What does a “solid employee” mean? It means you’re reliable and a valuable asset to any company. You can say something like: “I bring commitment, consistency, and a steady work ethic that makes sure projects are completed on time and under budget. Even if I don’t have experience with something, I’m interested in continuous learning and professional development opportunities.”
Do I have to say that I’m better than other candidates?
You don’t have to say you’re better than them explicitly (after all, you don’t know how good they are). Instead, you should focus on articulating your own strengths, the value you bring, and how this aligns with the company’s goals, values, and the expectations for this role. This way, you’ll present a positive and confident image of what you can bring.
What are some examples of what an employee can contribute to the company?
This depends on the role. For example, your out-of-the-box thinking can motivate a team that’s been stuck in a rut. You’ll have different answers if you’re hired to set up processes or redesign the company website. Either way, you can contribute through industry expertise, soft skills like teamwork, collaboration, or a strong work ethic.
What if I’m working in a role that’s difficult to directly connect to the financial performance of the business?
When your contribution is more nuanced than the revenue you could generate for the company, you can talk about how you contribute to operational efficiency. Think about any processes, infrastructure, or workflows you improved. These improvements, although indirect, help reduce costs, save time, enhance productivity, or increase customer satisfaction. All of that impacts the bottom line, even if the exact ROI can’t be measured accurately.