What contribution do you make to the department in which you work?

  | James Innes

What contribution do you make to the department in which you work?

Alternative and related questions:

How does your job relate to the overall goals of your department/organisation?

The meaning behind the question:

The interviewer could have rephrased this question, “Are you able to see the bigger picture?” They’re searching for evidence that you understand the purpose and goals of your department as a whole – and how your role fits into the big scheme of things. While it might not be vital to your ability to undertake your job, it is always preferable for an employee to understand what the overall purpose is of their team or department – and what part they are expected to play in that.

Your answer:

Even if the interviewer hasn’t phrased their question so as to use the word “contribution”, you still need to place a clear emphasis in your answer on what it is that you contribute to the overall goals of your department. You’ve got to demonstrate your value. The interviewer knows what job you perform – but how is it of benefit to your colleagues and to your employer?

Some people won’t necessarily work in a specific department as such but, if this is the case for you, then you can simply talk about the contribution you make to other departments and to the organisation as a whole – as in the example below.


While I am technically part of the IT department, all my colleagues focus very much on keeping the company’s computer infrastructure fully functional. As the company’s only Web Developer, I work very much on my own in managing and enhancing the website. I do liaise closely with other departments though, most particularly Marketing and HR. As the website is primarily used as a marketing vehicle and as a way to source new employees, my work is of significant importance to both of these departments. The systems I put in place to collect potential sales leads online make a major contribution to the results of the sales team – these days more and more of our new business comes via the website. And, by identifying ways to attract potential new employees online, I have contributed to a reduction in the amount we spend on recruitment consultants – again resulting in a direct impact on the company’s bottom line.

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