Tell me one thing about yourself you would not want me to know

How To Answer Interview Questions: Tell Me One Thing About Yourself You Would Not Want Me To Know

So, you are preparing for that extensive interview coming up. You have got a new outfit, maybe even a new hairstyle and cologne. You have printed copies of your CV and certificates in that brand new leather bag and are ready to sweep the interviewer off his feet. After all, you spent half of your data subscription for the month researching the company, its past and present CEOs, and of course, the pay package.

While it is important to look at the part, it literally pays to get the part. To do this, you need to be very prepared. While your certifications matter, interviewers will not ask you questions solely related to the courses you took while in the university. Some recruiters skip that part entirely. Your education has qualified you for the job, but truth be told, there are a lot of people with the same degrees as you. This means that your interviewer wants to know what makes you special. It would be wise to read about possible questions you might be asked at an interview. This article is an excellent place to start.

While your job interview is going on pretty well and the tension is out of the room, the interviewer suddenly drops a bomb and throws in the question: “what is the one thing about yourself that you wouldn’t want me to know?” At this point, all sorts of inappropriate and appropriate answers may start popping into your head. Don’t rush into blurting them out, take a moment, breathe in and out, and then smile because you have done your comprehensive research and know how to handle it.

If you are asked, “tell me one thing about yourself you would not want me to know,” what will you say? One thing is sure: you have to give a response, so remain glued to this page to learn how to pick the right answer. However, let’s quickly dive into understanding why interviewers like to ask this question.


Why the Question?

It is not uncommon for job seekers to present themselves as perfect. If you are applying for a job position, you want your reputation and skills to be spick and span. Recruiters are aware of this and also aware of the fact that nobody is perfect, no matter the certification they have. Therefore, they want to see a fallible part of you, not the packaged one you have put forward. There are several reasons why hiring managers tend to ask these questions, and here are a few;


What do you consider a Secret?

Before answering the question, you need to be sure of what secrets you should be telling your prospective employee. Remember that your interview is professional, and you are not spilling tea with your friends, on a date, or playing a game of Truth and Dare. Any secrets you are telling should have to do with only your work life and career.

How you handle your secret

Most interviewers will ask you the big question to know how you can handle a secret, especially if it’s a negative one. Do you explode or lose focus? Do you play calmly and act normally? Do you talk to someone when something serious is up? You need to understand that a good answer to these questions further demonstrates your adaptability to learn, grow, and even be flexible.

Did the secret affect you positively or negatively?

Another reason why the interviewer will ask the question is to know if the long-time secret or these deep things about yourself have affected you in any way. They want to know if you learned any lessons from it, especially if it’s a damaging secret. This will help them get better information and the kind of person you were and is right now. Although, they understand that no one is perfect and hence wish to see the imperfection you hide beneath.


Answering the Question – What to Include and Things to Avoid

While you may be tempted to say you have no skeletons in your cupboard, the question requires an answer. What should be said and what should not? While preparing for your response, here are some tips to include and completely avoid while giving your answer. Understand that the answer you give gets you one step closer to a job offer or one step farther from an offer, so you need to pick the right choice of words.


What to Include:

The Secret – This is a big part of your answer, and it is influential enough to affect any other thing you say or might have said. Here is a tip: Think of positive qualities (you have to excess) an employer would like in an employer-focused, hardworking, ability to work under pressure and cooperate with a team, and so on. Then, you can begin your answer by outlining the problem you faced in your past work life or something from your high school or college years. Just be sure to pick something that you have definitely learned from. Give full details but be sure not to overdo it with sordid details; just get to the point and talk about the challenge you faced and what was at risk.

Describe your reaction – now, you can continue how you overcame the problem by describing how you reacted or how you took it. A perfect career is rare, so as long as you are not afraid of dealing with harsh times, talking about the challenge that put you in a bad spot shouldn’t block your chances. Giving the correct answer and accepting your flaws with confidence humanizes you to the interviewer. Accept that the secret is not something you’re proud of (if it is negative). Use “I” when doing your telling. Strike a balance between showing yourself in a good light and selling yourself short.

Lessons and Reassurance – End your answer by adding the lessons you learned from your experience and reassuring your prospective employees that you are on the right path to becoming a better person. Feel free to talk about the lessons from your experience; it could be something you learned about yourself, maybe your career interests. A reassuring ending can prevent further questioning and stops the recruiter from doubting your competence.


What to Avoid:

Tip: Do not blame your shortcomings on others, your former colleagues, or your former place of work.

Avoid unnecessary details.

Do not talk about uncomfortable personal stories. You do not want to say things like, “I stole a piece of meat from my mother’s soup pot when I was seven” or “I snore when I sleep.” Or tell them of a time you procrastinated and missed a deadline. Answers like that are wrong, embarrassing, come off as weird, and would obviously not get you your dream job.

Getting Ready for your Answer

Now that you know what to say and what not to, how do you present it? Well, the aim of an interview is to sell yourself to your prospective employers. Tell your secret in a way that does not invalidate your qualification. A beautiful presentation is vital. A tip most people have found helpful is playing a trick with the details they reveal and using it to their advantage.


Here are a few samples:

“I give very intense focus and concentration on my work and sometimes tune out on the outside world, and that has affected my social life. But I am working on my social interactions in the workplace, and beyond and recently, I have been told that I am getting better“.

“I can be a perfectionist sometimes. I am not satisfied until a document has reached a high level of perfection.”

“I tend to be too organized, always sorting things. A place for everything I like to say”.

“When I work with a team, I get carried away and try to help everyone do their own part by undertaking most of the tasks myself. I am learning to delegate, though”.

“At my last workplace, I was told that I am an extremely hard worker because I was always putting in overtime and weekends to make sure deadlines are met. Whilst I am still a hard worker, I have learned to apportion time for exercise and overall care of my body”.

“I recently started taking a foreign language class out of curiosity. I am not comfortable telling anyone because I have not mastered the language yet. I hope to get better as I take subsequent classes”.

“I find it a little difficult to express myself when others hurt my feelings, but I have come to learn that it is better to approach them respectfully and talk things out than bottling my emotions.”


Final Thoughts:

The key to giving error-free answers to questions is preparation. It is also very important, to be honest. It would be futile to lie in a bid to present yourself as perfect. Recruiters do not expect perfection from you, and that is why they ask evaluative questions. We hope these tips will be able to help you land your next job.

Interview Questions

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