Answering the question 'Tell me something that's not on your CV'

Bain & Company BCG Boston Consulting Group FIT fit interview MBB McKinsey
New answer on Jun 08, 2021
10 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on May 10, 2021

When asked 'Tell me something that's not on your CV', is it ok to mention something personal, such as a hobby or interest? I struggle to understand why a professional achievement worth mentioning in an interview won't already be on the CV, so can only think of a personal interest to talk about.

(edited)

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Adi
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updated an answer on May 11, 2021
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Hey,

You are absolutely right- whatever is worth mentioning must be on the CV. Any hobbies/interests that you are proud of must already be on the CV. So no point digging into them.

So, what's not on the CV usually:

  1. Weaknesses/Areas for Development
  2. Failures
  3. Back story of how you got that award or how you managed that project or how you won a scholarship or how you learnt that guitar in 4 weeks etc. Usually this is about the challenges you faced & overcame to come out victorious

My advice will be to talk about two things from the above list:

  • Situation when you failed but learnt a lot- its time we talk about these with pride
  • Story of how you overcame challenges

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Udayan
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updated an answer on May 11, 2021
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

Yes the aim of this question is to get to know you better and learn about what drives you and your values. Not all of this is captured in the CV. You can for example talk about :

  • An experience on your CV (e.g., an internship) but a detail that is not there as there are many things you cannot write on a CV
  • Work you have done outside of the projects you listed
  • Achievements/Accomplishments
  • If you want to talk about personal things do make sure that it is not too personal (e.g., overcoming weight loss or traveling to a new country). Instead focus on personal things that also showcase your skills - e.g., maybe you have written a book or participated in a play or your volunteer work etc.

Best,

Udayan

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Francesco
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replied on May 11, 2021
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Sure, totally fine. The important thing is that the story/activity is:

  • One single experience. Don’t talk about several things but one experience in particular
  • Specific. You should provide clear details of the story
  • Related to a skill useful in consulting. There should be a clear answer to “Why are you telling me this in a consulting interview?”

Hope this helps,

Francesco

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Clara
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replied on May 11, 2021
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

Absolutely! I would actually take the chance to talk about what passionates you (which does not necesarely need to be your hobbies)

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Ian
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replied on May 11, 2021
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

Absolutely you can! If you have a hobby/interest that you're proud of, you can talk about it here. Ideally, you can have some achievements related to it (some medal, award, etc) and/or you can tie it back to lessons you've learned and skills you've built.

Additionally, you can talk about one of the roles on your resume. How so? Well, you can talk about a intense experience related to that role. Or a story about how you got that role, etc. etc.

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Pedro
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replied on May 11, 2021
Bain | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger | FIT | Market Sizing | Former Head Recruiter

Hi there!

If you get this question, make sure you grab the opportunity. They are basically giving you a free pass to make a selling pitch based on whatever you want (and ideally prepared for).

You can either talk about an experience, story or skill that is less evident on your CV, or just highlight something about you that means you are an outstanding candidate.

Speak with passion and make sure whatever you say matches the key skills the consulting firm is looking for: ability to relate with (and influence) the client, communication skills, drive and resilience (get it done no matter the circumstances), pragmatism/passion for results. This is CRITICAL! Otherwise you are missing the opportunity.

Of course this depends on your seniority level. Undergraduates are more likely to resort to something more "personal", and experienced candidates on something more work related.

Talking about a hobby or a personal interest is ok. But ONLY RELEVANT if you are able to relate it to the "pitch" you want to give on why they should hire you.

Feel free to reach out if you want to discuss this further.

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Antonello
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replied on May 11, 2021
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi, I confirm best topics are passions and an impactful story relevant for your personal and professional growth

Best,
Antonello

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Gaurav
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replied on Jun 08, 2021
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Its a good question btw. So will be better for you to speak about your personal achievements and goals that reflects your professional growth as well.  And yes - would be great if you’ll speak about the weakness and challenges and what lessons you’ve learned after all.

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Marco-Alexander
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replied on May 31, 2021
Former BCG | Case author for efellows book | Experience in 6 consultancies (Stern Stewart, Capgemini, KPMG, VW Con., Hor

Feel free to contact me, then we can have a call on this topic :)

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Ken
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replied on May 13, 2021
Ex-McKinsey final round interviewer | Executive Coach

Your interpretation is spot on! As an interviewer, I would ask that quesetion either because the candidate was so well prepared with their intro that I wanted to see how they would respond and/or curious to get to know them more personally.

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Adi gave the best answer

Adi

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Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience
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