Tough Interview Questions: What Didn’t You Get to Include in Your Resume?

what didn't you get to include in your resume?

This question doesn’t require a lot of preparation but you have to understand the thought process behind it because it’s a question that can reveal a lot about you that you want to reveal. So here’s how it goes. This comes from Sir Richard Branson from Virgin Airways. His premise is a resume covers a lot but it doesn’t cover everything. So he asks the question on his interviews. “What didn’t you get a chance to include in your resume?”

Now I think the way to answer this isn’t about details or facts. I believe it’s about who you are as a person and having an opportunity to speak with emotional intelligence goes a long way toward getting an executive hired. So this is an opportunity to talk about your history.

So, you can respond by saying, “You know, I could have covered more facts but the factual data wouldn’t give you a sense of my character and who I am as a person. I’m someone who grew up in . . . ” and then you need to talk about your upbringing briefly. You don’t want to go into this huge long story that’s going to make them fall asleep but I’ll use myself as an example.

“I grew up in The Bronx, raised by parents who tried hard and didn’t have a lot of money but we had enough to make things go and I was motivated at a very early age to be successful. Why? I wanted to make my parents proud. I wanted to help people in a lot of different ways. I knew if I could be in an organization . . . ” You get where I’m going with this.

You talk about your life circumstances to display emotional intelligence and the depth of who you are as a person to an employer.

Now, I also want to say some organizations don’t care and it’s important for you to know the difference between the two. So, for those organizations, you do want to have the fact-filled additional stuff and simply say, “You know, there’s a limit to how much you can put in a resume,” and then you go back to high powered, high-pressure sales voice and say, “You know, it was already at two, 2 1/2 pages. Yeah, I could have gone about four or five pages. So, for example, if there was stuff In my early career where did this, where I was challenged to do such and such. The likelihood is you’re not going to hire me based upon stuff that I did 25 years ago but it was a key part of how I developed into where I am today.”

They’ll go, “how so?”

You see I’m approaching that? So, for some organizations, they want to get a sense of the emotional side of you. For some organizations, it doesn’t matter. It’s more about the fact-based stuff that you’re going to deal out to them.


Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2020



Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterJeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1800 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

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