More Interview Questions and Answers
What would you say is our Unique Selling Point?
Alternative and related questions:
What is our USP?
What makes us different from all our competitors?
What makes us stand out by comparison to our competition?
What makes our organisation unique?
The meaning behind the question:
Following close on the heels of the previous question, 'How do you feel we compare to our competitors?' this is just another question designed to test what you know of their organisation and its place within its sector.
If you haven't yet identified what the organisation's USP is – or what combination of features makes them unique in their sector – then you really don't deserve the job for which you're applying. Most organisations have marketing departments which spend a considerable amount of time and money telling anyone and everyone who will listen precisely what they think their USP is. Your answer to this question is therefore simple. Tell it like it is.
But (there's always a 'but' isn't there!) you may like to consider the possibility of telling them what you know of their publicly projected USP and comparing this to what you personally see as their USP (assuming, of course, that it's different!) This is clearly an 'advanced' strategy but if, for example, you actually work in marketing yourself, then I'd strongly recommend it. After all, the original question asked was, 'What would you say is our Unique Selling Point'. What you say it is and what they say it is are not necessarily the same thing.
The USP you clearly communicate to customers is that the food you produce is entirely handmade and natural and totally avoids any artificial additives and preservatives common to so much of the pre-prepared and 'fast' food on the market today. I'd certainly not disagree with that but I think a further USP – and one which you could very possibly benefit from promoting – is the fact that, unlike all your competitors, you have actual, traditional ovens in all your shops and all baked products, right the way down to the bread for the sandwiches, are baked fresh every day on site.
Word of warning:
It's very easy to mishear this question and to think the interviewer has asked what your USP is, not theirs. If in doubt then ask them to clarify. If they haven't already asked you what your own USP is then it might later prompt them to do so. For ideas on how to tackle this – clearly completely different – question please refer back to the top 10 question in Chapter 2, "What can you, above all the other applicants, bring to this job?"
The Interview Question & Answer Book
More interview questions and answers
Talking about your current employment
- Can you tell me what you enjoy about your current job?
- What will you remember most about your last job?
- Is this the first time you have made an effort to move away from your current employers?
- How do you feel about the possibility of leaving your current job?
- How would you describe your current employer?
Talking about this vacancy
- Wouldn’t you be better suited to working in a larger/smaller organisation?
- How do you feel this vacancy differs from your current role?
- What reservations do you have about your ability to undertake this job?
- Can you describe your ideal working environment to me?
- How do you feel we compare to our competitors?
- What would you say is our Unique Selling Point?
- What would be your analysis of the current trends in our industry/sector?
Understanding your career path, plans and ambitions
- What aspects of your career path would you like to have been different?
- What are your greatest regrets about the path your career has taken?
- What has been the greatest challenge you have faced in your career to date?
- What do you think are your main career options for the next five years?
- What exactly does the word ‘success’ mean to you?
Addressing problems in your career history
- Why did you only stay with this organisation for such a short time?
- Why did you stay with this organisation for such a long time?
Coping with stress and pressure
- Are you able to multitask?
- Can you juggle a number of different projects simultaneously?
- How do you handle rejection/disappointment/failure?
- How do you deal with interpersonal conflict?
- What does tact and diplomacy mean to you?
- What makes for a successful team?
Management and leadership
- Would you describe yourself as a good manager?
- Do you really think you’re management material?
- What is your attitude to delegation?
- Can you give me an example of a time when you had to lead from the front?
- Have you ever had to fire or lay off a member of your staff?
- How would you describe your ideal team member?
Personal and professional development
- In what ways do you intend to improve upon your performance?
- How has your current job prepared you for greater challenges/responsibility?
Interests and activities
- What book are you reading at the moment?
- What newspaper do you take?
- Are you interested in current affairs?
The amateur psychiatrist
- If you won the lottery what would you do?
- Can you tell me about the best teacher you ever had?
- If you could meet any historical figure, who would it be and why?
- What are you most afraid of?
Money, money, money
- Why aren’t you earning more?
- How much do you think you are really worth?
- How much does money matter to you?
- Would you still be interested in this job if you current employer offered a pay rise?
- Have you ever had to take a pay cut to keep your job?
- Have you ever asked for but been refused a pay rise?
Author: James Innes