“Tell me something about yourself,” is an interview question so popular applicants always anticipate it in every interview. However, there’s an equally challenging question that can throw even the most prepared applicants off guard: Tell me something about yourself that isn’t on your resume.
When I was asked this, I wasn’t sure what to say. For one, this question felt so personal. I was not sure which ones to say, which ones to leave out, which ones are relevant to the job, and which ones are unrelated. Second, I just didn’t see it coming. 🙂
“Tell me something about yourself that isn’t on your resume.”
Why do they ask this?
They simply want to know the person behind the formal attire. They’re facing a stranger with just a piece of paper in hand to tell them who that stranger is. The paper isn’t enough. They need to know more about you. And what better way to know you—the applicant— than to directly ask?
Besides, most applicants don’t expect this kind of question. They usually prepare for questions that are job related. And when asked this, they won’t have time to prepare for a good answer or even make enough sense as to why they’re being asked the question. As an efficient applicant, try not to make that mistake.
Remember, how you answer and what you answer leaves a lasting impression throughout the interview so you don’t wanna mess this interview question up.
What to talk about
Something about yourself that makes you unforgettable and a little bit of different from the rest.
- hobbies and interest.
- dreams and goals
- anything positive about yourself
Your answer must:
1. Tell a story.
You want to highlight the good stories about yourself. A story is good when there is something memorable from it, something that separates you from most of the applicants and make the interviewer remember you. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Even knowing how to play a guitar is better than saying there is nothing interesting about yourself. Just say something that is uniquely you.
2. It doesn’t have to be job-related. Just make sure it’s something positive.
If you can make your story related to the job you’re applying for, great. But it’s not necessary.
The fact that the question in itself specifies something outside your resume, telling a completely job unrelated story is fine. There is, however, one thing you need to make sure: your story must be positive. It shouldn’t put you in a bad light. Don’t talk about the time your boss suspended you for a week after he caught you sleeping at work.
Avoid these answers
I love sleeping.
There’s nothing much to say about myself.
I don’t think there is something interesting about myself outside work.
I can’t think of anything. I’m sorry. All I can say is about work.
Whether you’re applying for a job or not, these answers just don’t do justice to the question. First, they show you’re lazy. Or worse, it shows you can’t be bothered to at least make a nice enough answer for the sake of the job. The interviewer will get the impression that you’re just not interested.
Hobbies & interests
I told the interviewer that I own a blog to help call center applicants land their jobs.
I help call center beginners land their jobs by writing a blog. In my blog, I write tips on how to answer interview questions, improve their English and accent. Since I launched last March, eleven of the readers already landed their jobs for free. I couldn’t be happier. A lot of fresh graduates and applicants out there really want to work in a call center but some of them don’t have the resources for paying for the training so I provide it to them for free.
Well you might say, “Sheina, easy for you to say because you’ve had the experience. Besides, not everybody owns a freaking blog!”
Hold on. Let’s try a very common hobby that everybody, including our grandmas, like: watching movies.
I consider myself a movie junkie when it comes to horror movies. I just couldn’t get enough of it and I can name 100 horror movies right now as we speak. (Smile.) The best I’ve ever watched so far was The Shining. It was an old movie but was excellently directed. After I watched it, I couldn’t sleep nor go to the kitchen. But more importantly, it does help a lot with my goal to work in a call center. Not the horror, but the English part of it. (Smile) Aside from becoming a call center agent, I guess horror movies are my lifetime goals.” (Smile)
This is for the people who have a hard time figuring out what their hobbies are but loves watching movie. Watching movies doesn’t have to mean you’re lazy. It could mean you have a sense of adventure that only horror movies can provide.
What’s the Story:
You love watching movies.
Does this relate to the job?
Yes. It’s helps you improve your English which is necessary in the call center.
Works you do for free to help people
If you volunteer in programs that help people in your community, highlight those. Examples are, when you help distribute foods during calamities, or when you volunteered to cook for feeding programs. These are completely unrelated to call center but your willingness to help people for free is better than saying random lazy things about yourself. It shows you have a purpose and company prefers purpose-driven employees than the mindless ones.
I am passionate about helping underprivileged people and those who are in need. Twice a year, I volunteer to a foundations raising funds for children who can’t afford to go to school as well as help with goods distribution whenever a calamity strikes in the country, as you know typhoon happens a dozen of times a year and some of those typhoons sometimes wreaks considerable damage. I also love hairdressing so much that I would do it for free. Although I wouldn’t call myself a professional hairstylist, my friends and families always come to me for a new haircut from time to time.
What’s the Story:
You love helping people and knows some hair styling.
Does this relate to the job?
No. but it highlights the fact that you’re willing to help people. Whether you’re applying in a call center or a CEO for a company, being helpful and connected to your generous side certainly doesn’t hurt. Who doesn’t love these kind of people?
Skills & Talents
Yes, you should never hide your talents. In fact, some people claim to not have any talents at all. Now that’s a pity. So if you happen to have one, don’t hide it. The interviewer wants to know you a little bit more personally and revealing this doesn’t hurt your chances of getting hired. Although this wouldn’t get you hired, it will certainly help the interviewer know you a little bit better.
Anything about yourself, really, as long as it gives the interviewer a reason to like and know the stranger in front of her a little bit better.
As long as your answer doesn’t put you in a negative light in terms of employment, there really is no wrong or right answer. This question tends to show a more personal side of you so feel free to show what you’re comfortable revealing about yourself.
Just remember to always show the positive side about you. You don’t wanna talk about the time you were always late and absent at work, do you?
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