What would you say is our Unique Selling Point?

  | James Innes

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.

Your answer:

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?"

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