Oct 27 2015

How to answer “WMYU?”

When it comes to job application forms, why do companies ask, “what makes you unique?” Should you answer in a way that relates to the position you are applying for, or give a personal anecdote that shows off your personality? Do they want to know that when you were 9-years-old you rigged your toaster to spit out perfectly golden Eggo waffles onto a plate across the room, that you helped build an award-winning app, or that you are the captain of a local tuba band?

At MojoTech, the answer is all of the above.

How someone chooses to answer reveals a lot more than their actual answer. Some people launch into their job history and some into their personal lives. What you want to do is find a way to convey your individual blend of experiences, skill sets, and personality.

For example, a good answer may be:

“I’m currently in dev/ops but have recently jumped at the chance to build front-end visualizations. I’m a distance runner and captain of a local tuba band.”

How the hiring manager might read this:

  • learning front-end = willingness to learn new skills
  • distance runner = persistent / determined
  • captain of tuba band = leadership / part of a team

**Another example may be:**

“A coworker and I recently placed runner-up at XYZ Hackathon for our product. Even though we didn’t win, working under that kind of pressure produced some great results and we hope to attend again next year.”

How the hiring manager might read this:

  • entered a competition = willing to push oneself
  • worked with a coworker = part of a team
  • worked under pressure = knows how to prioritize tasks leading to a specific goal
  • planning to attend next year = knows how to learn from one’s mistakes

**A bad answer may be:** >“I’m a hard worker, and if you want to know more you’ll have to find out.”

This sounds like a bad online dating profile. Aside from the fact that being a “hard worker” is an overused personal attribute, this shows us you are either too lazy or incapable of self-reflective, critical thinking to come up with an appropriate answer. Something a “hard worker” wouldn’t shy away from.

An answer like this is also a red flag that you may not be all that interested in the job. We work hard at MojoTech to cultivate an environment where everyone wants to actively take part in something. Working with someone who is enthusiastic and wants to contribute their ideas, creates a chain reaction whereby everybody feels motivated to do their best work. If you’re checked out before you’ve even checked in, you might hurt the team dynamic and that’s something every company wants to avoid.

**And just for fun, a hilarious, but didn’t-quite-get-what-the-question-might-be-after, answer may be:** >“I once saved an entire village from a horde of vicious army ants using only a hoe and a bag of skittles“

This is an actual response we’ve received. Memorable, sure. Although it’s not clear if you’re trying to be funny or serious. If we ever needed to MacGyver an office maintenance issue, you’d be a very valuable teammate. But whether this skill translates to software design and development is beyond us.

If you’re still struggling to come up with WMYU, remember, it’s not about having one particular skill set on your resume that makes you appealing to a hiring manager. More often than not, it’s the aggregate of the different experiences that you’re bringing to the table that makes you a strong candidate.

Think you’ve got what it takes? Check out our current job openings: https://www.mojotech.com/jobs/

Nick Kishfy