|  April 10, 2015

Interview Questions: Tell me something that’s not on your resume

I recently asked a group of college students about some of the most tricky interview questions they had gotten lately and this was definitely a tough one!

Tell me something that’s not on your resume

While I don’t think this question is so common that it will come up in any interview, it is definitely worth thinking about!

It may also asked as: Tell me something I can’t find out about you on paper

Why it’s a tough one

For me, this question is tricky because you don’t know exactly what they’re looking for. Do they want to know something professional or something personal? Something pretty safe or something more out of the box?

How to answer

tell me something that's not on your resume - interview question

I have a few ideas on how to answer this and there are different routes you can take.  I think they key to success here is all about gauging the environment and your interviewer so you can determine what you want to share.

After all, there is a ton of stuff about you not on your resume!

Share what motivated you to do the things on your resume

This is the safe play but I like it. It’s a good route to take if you are in a conservative environment or can’t really size up your interviewer

Example: Well, you can see on my resume that I’ve held a few jobs/internships in the marketing and communications field, but not why I chose that path. [Then go on to explain why you felt drawn to that field]

Share a more personal detail, like a hobby, accomplishment, or fun fact

We’re venturing into the personal zone and that’s okay as long as you keep it conservative. If you favorite hobby is drinking mimosas at brunch, don’t say it. However, if your hobby is photography or you just got scuba certified, or are training for a marathon that’s an interesting thing to share and also shows commitment to something.

At my last job, we used to use the “fun fact” game as an icebreaker for training sessions and I learned some fascinating things about my coworkers (like when Tina told the group she once did a voiceover for a video game commercial).

Share a strength, whether it’s job related or something interesting

Since your resume is all about what you’ve done, you can share something that you’re good at (that’s not on there). The only issue here is that your interviewer may still ask you for your greatest strength later on so make sure you have something different to talk about for these two questions.

Example: “I’ve been told by [coworkers/friends/professors] that I… [insert work related strength]”

Example: “I’m someone who really goes above and beyond to make things happen. [elaborate a bit more on when this has come into play]

Personal Example: “I’m a really good cook, and my favorite thing to make is…”


Hope this helps anyone looking for the answer to this tricky question! What do you guys think? How would you answer this question if it came your way?

P.S. If you are preparing for an interview, I need to shamelessly plug our Interview Prep Worksheets. They are the best tool I can give to help you get ready for an interview in a few easy steps.

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