Three Ways to Answer “Tell Me Something No One Knows About You”

Hiring managers who haven't read Hiring Geeks That Fit are now asking another irrelevant question:

Tell me something no one else knows about you.

Now, in case you aren't sure, this is an irrelevant question. It doesn't directly help an interviewer learn how the candidate can perform the work or fit with the team. It doesn't help the candidate learn about the job. That means it's irrelevant.

However, if you are looking for a job, you can use this question. I would focus the question back at the work. Here are some ways to answer this question:

  • Tell a personal story about how you exhibited problem-solving or fit with a team. Something that you know or suspect the interviewer is looking for.
  • If this is a first question, ask the interviewer, “What does success look like for this job? I can tell you how I did something like that in the past.” If you do have that experience on your resume, point to it.
  • Think back to the value you bring to an organization. Now, think of a personal story that shows one or more of those values.

Answer this question with a story. Your interviewer is looking for something personal.

If you're not sure how to answer or define your value, look at Manage Your Job Search. I have a number of examples of how to answer irrelevant questions.

4 Replies to “Three Ways to Answer “Tell Me Something No One Knows About You””

  1. There’s only one way I can think to honestly answer the question “Tell me something that no-one knows about you”. I’d explain that I would have to reply with something trivial, or refuse to answer. After all, if you’ve got non-trivial secrets that nobody knows, why would you be willing to share them with an interviewer you only just met?

    1. Robert, that’s why it’s an irrelevant question. It’s such a bad question.

      I’m tempted to write a booklet about bad questions. But, I’m not sure I can get them all!

      1. First time ever I was asked this question yesterday in an interview. Do they really want to hear about a near rape. I had to go into out of an body experience to satisfy, or it would have Turned into a much worse experience. Lived through situations where as, you never know what goes on behind closed doors, not childhood rape, but in an hostile home environment. Stupid A## question.

        I turned the conversation to a positive experience regardless who knew or not.

        1. Kym, how horrible. I usually turn a question like that into the kind of mustard I like. You probably had a better answer than I would have with that question. Good for you, for turning a nutso question into something useful.

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