why is this interview question stumping our candidates?

A reader writes:

I’m wondering why a particular interview question that we ask our candidates is so fraught. Something we commonly ask candidates at the very end of our process is quite simple but is for some reason astonishingly difficult and unexpectedly challenging for a lot of candidates. It is just this:

“Is there anything we haven’t asked or talked about that you’d like us to know about you?”

I’ve always thought of this as a softball question. I mean, for anyone who has prepared for an interview there has to be some question that you prepared for that we didn’t touch on. And it gives candidates a chance to volunteer something useful up-front (“I’m fluent in Mandarin”) or that they think makes them stand out (“I raise llamas”) or, well, just anything.

Can you shed some light on why this stumps people? Too many times, from my perspective, we hear some mumbled version of “No, I think we’ve covered everything.” Which seems like a really lost opportunity for them to pitch themselves.

Is this a question we should pull from the list? Am I missing something here? Given that I’ve seen that candidates don’t handle this one well, should it be withdrawn from our list even though I like it?

Someone recently sent in a question about this from the candidate’s side — and like your interviewees, they were stumped and wondering how to respond to it!

Lots of candidates do handle this question just fine, especially people further along in their careers and more used to interviewing. But quite a few people do seem confused about how to respond to it.

Especially when it’s phrased more as “is there anything we haven’t asked that we should?” some people worry that you want them to suggest an actual interview question, like they’re on Jeopardy (like they should literally say, “Please ask, ‘what is your experience with Excel?’”) which feels awkward and unnatural.

You know they don’t need to do that — you’re expecting it to be much more conversational, like “we haven’t had a chance to talk about my experience with llama grooming and I think it might be helpful for this role” — but candidates don’t always realize that and it can throw them.

Beyond that, sometimes candidates are just in “you ask questions and I answer them” mode and are thrown off by you treating the interview as a genuine conversation (even though that’s exactly what a good interview is).

Your particular formulation — “Is there anything we haven’t asked or talked about that you’d like us to know about you?” — can also make people unsure what exactly you’re looking for and some of them will have this internal dialogue: “What are they looking for? Do they want something personal, like why I got into this field or that I’m new to the area? Or is there something specific they’re hoping I’ll raise? If so, I don’t know what it is. Are they asking because they can tell I’m pregnant and want me to bring it up? Aggh!”

To be clear, this isn’t all candidates! Just some of them. (And frankly, my whole answer here is a level of over-analysis that may or may not serve you.) But you’re seeing it stump people enough of the time that it’s a sign that the question isn’t working well for your particular candidate pool.

You could keep the gist of the question but rephrase it like this:

“Is there anything else you’d like to ask us, or anything you want to tell us that we haven’t covered yet?”

That should lower the pressure a little for the people who need it lowered.

{ 361 comments… read them below }

  1. Anonymous Hippo*

    That particular wording would throw me off because it sounds (to me) like I’m being asked to confess something. I think I’d try and reword it like Alison suggested to more of a “is there anything else you’d like to talk about that we didn’t cover” which is virtually the same thing, but without the tint of an interrogation.

    1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      Oh yes, great analysis! “Being asked to confess something”

      It’s like being stopped at customs after an international flight “Do you have anything else to declare?”

      1. Elizabeth West*

        The next time I’m asked this question at the airport, I’m going to say “I DECLARE THAT I AM AWESOME!”

        1. Max Floof*

          The last interview I had this question.. I think I answered in some version of this…… Didn’t get the job (for experience reasons… but still.)

        2. supertoasty*


          “No, you can’t just say it-”

          “I didn’t say it. I declared it.”

    2. Batsheva*

      I wonder if there’s also a sense in which many candidates would see the question as a trick, an attempt to give your enough rope to hang your job chances, so to speak. Particularly for candidates ranking in the upper percentiles for agreeableness, answering “is there anything we haven’t asked” with anything other than a chirpy “no, I think that’s everything!” risks unlocking the “oh, so you think you know better than us what to ask” bonus level.
      Like “oh, so you agree, you think we missed something?”

      And… If the interview is clearly winding up, many people will be reluctant to say “yes actually I just wanted to mention….” when to do so might extend the meeting beyond the interview’s comfort.

      1. Dust Bunny*

        This. And I haven’t even had that many bad interviews. But I would be thinking, “OMG is this where I have to tell them I’m on the spectrum? WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?” The extreme open-endedness is really stressful.

      2. Sarah*

        I just have to say that I get really strong Regina George vibes from the “So you agree, you think we missed something?” and I definitely see how someone choosing to be agreeable would want to avoid a possible (imagined) passive-aggressive response like that.

        1. Mr. Shark*

          haha, that’s exactly what I was thinking when I read that, Sarah. It definitely feels like a trap. when stated that way.

      3. Rectilinear Propagation*

        Oh yeah, I wouldn’t have thought saying that they in fact covered everything would be a problem. In my mind I’m telling them they did a good job interviewing. Who doesn’t like praise?

        Strongly agree with your last point as well; any mention of another interview or meeting you have after your interview with me will guarantee that I try to keep it short. I’m giving you some breathing room between interviews/meetings/etc.! Isn’t that nice? I’m being considerate of your time!

        1. As per Elaine*

          I ask a question like this towards the end of an interview — I think I phrase it “Is there anything else I/we should know about you as a candidate?” and I treat it as an optional question.

          Sometimes I get several paragraphs on “I don’t have any experience in X because [structural limitations] but I really want to learn.” One candidate told me that he’d learned to swim in the past few years and now really loved it and swam several times a week, which is kind of random but also spoke well to his ability to literally dive into something new and pick it up from scratch. Some candidates don’t really have anything, and I gloss it over with, “That’s fine – you don’t have to have something! Is there anything else you want to ask me, while we’re here?”

          I treat all of those as acceptable. You don’t HAVE to have something more to say, but if you have something to say, that’s the time to say it.

          1. Anna*

            That was my feeling when reading this. I wouldn’t consider not adding something bombing the answer, it’s a good opportunity to add something but maybe the interview process was pretty thorough and under pressure the candidate doesn’t have anything additional

      4. Lanlan*

        > Like “oh, so you agree, you think we missed something?”

        why am I having Mean Girls flashbacks

        (For what it’s worth, I have been asked this question and I used the time to ask questions of my own, but not everyone gets trained in how to interview by their degree program. I was.)

    3. ForgiveMeForIHaveSinned*

      I leave 1/4 cup of coffee in the pot so I do not have to make the next one.

      I may or may not have eaten your lunch from the fridge just before this interview. I will probably do it again if hired. Regularly.

      I am very diligent about leaving dirty dishes in the sink for the nightly dish fairy to take care of.

      “Zoom casual” is ok for the office right? I have great PJs…

      1. tessa*

        “If I am hired, you will see in less than 5 minutes how obsessed I am with cats. Also, I will have to leave every day to go home for lunch and be with my cats because as Angela said, ‘…there’s bad blood. Jealousies. Cliques.'”

      2. Phony Genius*

        I bring Hawaiian rolls to every party. And nobody else better bring any other kind of rolls, or else!

      3. Just J.*

        You all win the internet today. Thanks for the laugh at 2:38 in the afternoon and in the middle of a deadline!

      4. L.H. Puttgrass*

        “I have very strong opinions about rolls and the quality, value, and provisioning thereof.”

      5. Anonymous4*

        I love fish, and like to bring it for lunch. I make a great fish-and-rice casserole!

        I’m usually really busy and I don’t have time to go to the supply closet so I just take what I need from my coworkers’ desks.

        I’m a very friendly person and I like to know ALL about the people I sit next to!

        I de-stress at work by singing along to some CDs a friend made for me. You’ll love them!

    4. Just Another Zebra*

      Yes! I read this and had memories of being a preteen, with mom asking in THAT tone “Is there anything else you’d like to tell me?”

      I think Alison’s reword is good, but this still isn’t my favorite question, tbh.

      1. Just Me*

        Yes, I think starting the interview with “Tell me about yourself” and ending with the wording Alison gave gets the job done without freaking people out too much. She’s right that many people get into “just-answer-the-questions-perfectly-mode” because, frankly, there are tons of interviewers who expect that, even though it’s a crappy way to get to know a candidate. (Conversational interviewing is great but some interviewers Will. Not. Have. It. so I don’t think you can judge candidates too much for not being used to it.)

        1. birch*

          I hate “tell me about yourself.” Even in an interview context, it’s way too vague, especially as a starter question. Where should I start? Do you want to know about my specific skillsets related to this position, or do you care about why I’m changing subfields and thus want me to start the story where my CV gets interesting? Are you asking about my educational background or why I’m applying for this specific job?

          1. Just Me*

            It’s not my favorite, either (I would gravitate toward, tell me about why you’re interested in this position), but I think it’s a little less accusatory than “is there anything else you would like us to know.” I also think it’s more common as an interview question, so people may be less caught-off-guard.

      2. Medusa*

        Haha, I’ve asked my friends “Is there anything you want to tell me?” when I’ve heard a life update either from another mutual friend or when they glossed over something major (like “Oh yeah in my new house we have installed X” and they’ve responded “… Am I in trouble?” I don’t phrase it that way anymore.

      3. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        I think if you can simply say “it feels like you’ve covered everything,” and it’s not considered to be a wrong answer, it’s fine. What’s weird in OP’s letter is that she seems to think the candidate should launch into a whole spiel about their many talents that have not been covered already, like they obviously must have more cards up their sleeve to dazzle her with.

    5. Yet another person*

      Yes, exactly! I was asked a very similar question (replace “you’d like us to know” with “we should know”) and asked for clarification. What the interviewer really wanted was to know if there was anything negative in my personnel file they were going to find and what I had to say about it.

      I like Alison’s suggestion better.

    6. squeakrad*

      Coming from the nonprofit world, this is a pretty common question on Grant or development opportunities. So I wonder if the op is coming from that world?

      1. LW*

        Hi. Letter Writer here. I’m in academia and we get a lot of people with very varied backgrounds. For people who do answer this question, we get some standard “and I also have experience in X” answers which are helpful, but we also learn about very cool things that wouldn’t otherwise rise to the surface. Like the person playing in a punk rock band, or the person who volunteered as a supervisor of custodial visits (which was relevant to the public-facing position). I like the suggestion of Chriama further down in the comments:
        “before we finish, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like talk more about”
        This feels more conversational and open and less being-put-on-the-spot. It also keeps the door open to them continuing to ask questions of us.

        1. Littorally*

          Yeah, that’s a great re-word. It’s more conversational, and also structure-wise it’s a more direct question.

        2. Doug Judy*

          I think people are sometimes leery of sharing something personal. Especially as a woman, I’m always very careful about revealing anything non-work related about myself that may tip off I’m married or have children, so I’m always guarded when questions like that are asked. I have developed some basic responses now but I think tweaking the verbiage will help people feel less on the spot and have a clearer idea the types of things you’d be interested in hearing.

          1. pamela voorhees*

            Tipping off I’m not married and don’t have kids is equally as fraught, tbh. Plus, it’s hard to tell what one interviewer will find to be a cool, fun, personal fact and what one will find to be an absolute dealbreaker — it’s good you found “I play in a punk rock band” to be a fun, memorable thing but my current boss would hear that and think “what a completely inappropriate and vulgar use of free time. You won’t be getting called back.”

              1. Anonymous4*

                Or, “You have some really skeevy friends who are druggers and they’re going to hang around the office and cause trouble.”

            1. Chirpy*

              Same, I’ve been discriminated against at past jobs for not having kids or a significant other, and some of my favorite hobbies are things people either think are really cool, or unimaginably geeky and weird, so trying to answer these questions “safely” for an interviewer I don’t have enough info on to judge which way any of those will go is difficult.

            2. CorruptedbyCoffee*

              God yes. I once had to do an ice breaker thing where we went around and each person mentioned hobbies, and I said I read and played video games.

              Three months later, my boss opened my 6 month review meeting with “so you…play…games. really?” And proceeded to tell me the only other person she knew who played games was her 10 year old nephew. She seemed really puzzled at the idea that an adult played video games. It was NOT how I wanted to be remembered.

          2. Deanna Troi*

            Doug Judy, I don’t interpret this question as being about something personal. I like to be asked this because I often DO want to talk about something this didn’t fit neatly into one of their questions. For example, “although my primary duties are giving dog pedicures, when the cat groomer was on maternity leave, I was able to participate in teaching cats how to use a scratching post.”

            1. Elitist Semicolon*

              That’s why I usually present this question as something like, “is there anything on your resume or other experience that you think might be relevant?” If I have to recite the “is there’s anything else you’d like us to know?” version verbatim for reasons of consistency, I try to add on clarification – “other experience that’s not on your resume, or something you’d like to elaborate on?” – to give the person I’m interviewing both a moment to think and a hint about what they might add.

          3. birch*

            Yeah, I still don’t like how open-ended this is. Some interviewers might care about your interesting personal hobbies, but you’re equally likely to get someone who expects “I’m also an editor for Llama Science Weekly in my free time” and is going to react weirdly if you say you got really into ice fishing after your uncle died, because they weren’t expecting anything really personal. IMO if interviewers want to know something interesting and personal about you, they can ask “We like to keep the culture personable around here–do you have any fun hobbies or a fun personal fact that you’d like to mention? No pressure if you want to focus this conversation on the work.” (Emphasis on no pressure!)

            1. DataSci*

              That’s an awful question and I’m always worried about coming off as a stick-in-the-mud if I can’t come up with “fun” hobbies or personal facts on the spot. It’s bad enough in a team-building exercise as an icebreaker, but in a JOB INTERVIEW? No amount of “oh, no pressure” is going to negate that pressure.

              1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

                yeah, when you have young children that you don’t want to mention, you very often have less than zero hours in which to practise a fascinating and relevant hobby.

          4. MCMonkeyBean*

            And if I was going to discuss more personal hobbies or whatever it would probably be earlier in the process. This questions is a wrapping-up question, making it clear the interview is coming to an end–to me that seems like an odd time to drastically shift the conversation toward random facts about me. That’s not at all what I would think they were looking to hear about from that question.

        3. Wendy*

          It sounds like you’re looking for something positive, so it’s fine to say that! “Anything else about yourself you want to tell us that we haven’t already covered but will make us excited to have you join our team?”

          1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

            The word “excited” there would just paralyse me. If you find anything about me exciting, I’m going to have a introvert’s panic attack.

        4. Rock Prof*

          I wonder if it’s throwing anyone because a lot of academic interviews are incredibly scripted, with the same questions for everyone, so maybe people are just more prepared for answering those. I think early in my career it would have thrown me a bit because I was used to hearing only certain questions asked, but now I’d probably have a billion things to say.

        5. Folklorist*

          I like this re-word too! I’m a science journalist and I ask this question at the end of all of my interviews when I’m writing an article…I’ve never had it in a job interview, though! I find that I get the best quotes when I ask this question because a lot of times, they’re just dying to tell me about this or that specialty or nuance of their expertise that I’ve never heard of before and couldn’t possibly know to ask about. This is where their passions come out!
          Because of this experience, that’s probably how I would take that question in a job interview–but before I had this job and started asking this question, it would have thrown me too!

          1. InASuit*

            As Folklorist said, anyone who has trained as a journalist knows this question — it’s the standard wrap for an interview, where you give the award winning artist the chance to reveal that they learned their art while being a crew member on a nuclear submarine, or whatever.

            It’s just a chance for the interviewee to raise something that’s been missed or under discussed.

          2. FisherCat*

            I don’t mean this with *any* snark at all, but does this question in your context typically yield something useful/interesting/helpful?

            I see it asked in a different professional context fairly regularly and its yet to yield anything much in that situation so I’m curious how this question works for others.

              1. Scout*

                Right, but, in that situation, you are intentionally looking for something unusual (which is often personal). In an interview-for-a-job situation, the interviewee mostly wants to avoid giving out unusual and personal information!

            1. AA*

              I work as a qualitative researcher and the ‘is there anything you wanted to say that we haven’t talked about yet?’ type question at the end of a semi-structured interview very often gives you something really interesting.

        6. Anonym*

          This may narrow the question more than you intend, but perhaps either specifying that it could be things relevant to the person’s candidacy? Or perhaps giving an example or two?

          I happen to like the question as a candidate, and have used it to bring up areas where I have unexpected relevant experience that the interviewer didn’t touch on. I can see it being helpful to have the clarification that it’s an opportunity to raise exactly that – any other relevant experience or interests that we should be aware of.

          1. Joan Summers*

            I work in informal education (think field trips to museums, that sort of thing) and I loved to ask a similar question when we were hiring instructional staff because we’d find out that someone was a great singer, or super crafty, or used to drive a tour bus and so had no problem driving our outreach vehicles. I noticed that it would stump people, too, so I’d usually follow up with a couple of real-life examples from the current team. That seemed to help.

        7. Cheap Ass Rolex*

          I agree, opening the door for a strong suit of theirs that they haven’t gotten to talk about is the vibe you want to go for. I like the rewording!

        8. Anansi*

          I guess for me the issue is that the question sounds like a perfunctory way to wrap up the interview rather than an opening for continuing the conversation. If I were asked this question I probably would say no, unless there was a huge glaring area I thought was missing. I know that’s not how you’re meaning it but I think a lot of people will interpret it that way (regardless of how it’s phrased). This is especially the case of you’ve already asked the candidate if they have any questions.

        9. BritChickaaa*

          I interview for jobs pretty much every week (I’m a freelancer in an industry where jobs generally are completed within weeks or months so it’s the norm to do at least 20 separate jobs in a year).

          It would never occur to me for a second that the question referred to non-work related personal hobbies. That just seems like an utterly bizarre mental leap to make. If you want to know about hobbies why not explicitly say so? Why all the weird game playing?

          1. Kale*

            I also wouldn’t think that question is about hobbies. I’d feel kind of insecure bringing up my hobbies if there’s a chance they were asking about work experience.

          2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

            If you have a hobby that highlights qualities needed to do the job, it could help.

            I often mention that I make my own clothes (and I usually wear something I made to interviews because I don’t want to shell out the kind of money smart clothing costs). This is a good thing for two reasons: it shows that I have knowledge about clothes, fabric, cut, etc. (which is good because I often work for the fashion industry) and it also shows that I’m a perfectionist and pay great attention to fine detail (which is good because my particular job requires exactly that).

        10. Chili pepper Attitude*

          Hi OP.
          My brain goes to, what did they ask me already bc I don’t want to sound like I forgot a question they asked and bring it up again. So I like the rewording you mentioned.

    7. ecnaseener*

      Ugh, but I was thinking the same thing about “is there anything you want to tell us” :( That one seriously feels like you’re expected to confess something. Idk how to avoid it.

    8. Arctic tern*

      Yes, my mind instantly jumps to “they are asking me to confess about my disability or that I am likely to need more sick days than typical employee of my age” which I am not going to do in a job interview. Because in a typical job interview I have already had enough time to volunteer useful information about myself when they ask questions like “What qualities make you a good [job title]?”, “Tell me about a time when…”, what skills will you bring to [company name]?”, etc.

      1. Arctic tern*

        And one important thing to add. If you’re not in the US, or in the US but interviewing international candidates or candidates with different cultural background, invitation to pitch yourself might be fraught, because in many other cultures pitching (praising? selling? whatever is the most accurate term) is seen as rude and obnoxious, while humbleness and respect to authority are valued.

        1. ecnaseener*

          So would you (I assume you’re speaking from personal experience with one of those cultures) not ask things like “why do you think you’d be a good fit for this role?”

          1. allathian*

            I’m from Finland, and here praising yourself is typically seen as something very negative, we even have a saying, “oma kehu haisee,” which means self-praise stinks. That said, we also have fairly low hierarchies in employment, and most managers seem to be able to trust their employees more than in the US. Granted, employment here is based on contracts, and a new boss can’t come in and change everything on a whim, and it’s much more difficult to fire people here than in the US. Nevertheless, “why do you think you’d be a good fit for this role?” is a standard interview question. It’s just that the answers will contain far fewer superlatives than they probably would in the US.

            People are getting better at giving positive feedback, and accepting it with grace, but superlatives are still not really a part of most people’s professional vocabulary here. An American hiring manager calling for a reference would probably get a response that would sound fairly lukewarm to them, even for an outstanding employee.

            1. ecnaseener*

              Idk, I’m from the US and don’t think I’ve ever used a superlative in an interview. Where are you getting that idea?

        2. Dragon*

          That sounds like an instance I read about, when an American boss chewed out his admin assistant for not asking him to clarify an instruction he gave. As a result she made a sizable mistake.

          The assistant broke into tears. She was from another country where one did not question what the boss said. Then her boss felt absolutely horrible.

      2. LW*

        First, thank you for the laugh of your user name Arctic tern. Best wliia segment ever! One thing about the process for us is that it is very, very, very scripted. And we are very strictly regulated about what we can and cannot ask – no off the cuff questions for us! Everything is pre-approved. So reformulating the way we ask this question will take committees and then approvals. Sigh.
        That said, the human element is a huge deal in recruitment and retention of employees. So we have a script and some documents about “things we’re not allowed to ask about but that people want to know about” that includes local options for religion, child-care services, schools, housing, etc. We aren’t trolling for information and we say that outright. But people need that information and even though we’re not allowed to ASK about it, we can still TALK about it. Part of that is also “and the successful candidate will have an opportunity to discuss all their questions about leave and benefits with HR before making a decision”
        So I hope that they don’t think we are fishing for the negatives, but it is useful to know that that’s the first thing your mind jumped to.

        1. Nesprin*

          Then how about asking: Before we end, I wanted to ask if you have any other qualifications that would make you a great candidate for the job?

      3. Your local password resetter*

        This is a good point.
        If I really want you to know something, I probably wrote it into my prepared answers and brought it up already.
        If it isn’t very important or relevant, why would I tell you and draw attention to it like this?

    9. quill*

      Yeah, that wording would be an anxiety trigger.

      And when it comes to employment, a lot of people have things they would prefer not to bring up lest it bias the interview process: medical conditions, sexuality, reproductive plans… and especially as the world around us gets more and more fraught, more and more people are going to end up anxious / suspicious of that question.

      1. LW*

        In response to this mini-thread, our process is very, very, very scripted. Did I say very? All our questions need to be approved beforehand and we are not supposed to deviate from their wording. We will be looking at revising this question to see just how we want to ask it (and it is a “we” – academic committee work. sigh) and if we include examples, they would have to be pre-approved, too. One background detail that is not included in my question is that part of our scripted process is to supply candidates with answers ahead of time to all the questions they might have about things we are not supposed to talk about. We can’t (and shouldn’t and don’t) ASK candidates about all those personal questions (and rightly so), but there is no reason we can’t TELL them about local houses of worship, child-care options and schools, health facilities, housing options, etc. And so we do that in a general way and send candidates written info about same. We also let them know that successful candidates will have a chance to talk with HR about benefits and leave before giving us a firm reply.
        So while I see where the concern is coming from in these replies, it should be clear from earlier in the interview for our candidates that we aren’t fishing for these kinds of responses. Recruitment and retention of good candidates in academia is a huge collective time burden because it is largely done by committee, not by a hiring manager, and so the process has ironed out at least some of the more common no-no’s. That’s probably why I didn’t think about this at all as a possible candidate response to this question. But I guarantee it will be in the back of my head now for candidates who are coming from different backgrounds.

        1. Velawciraptor*

          I know about the heavily scripted thing (state government job). We’re allowed to prepare our own questions, but we’re strongly encouraged to have the same person ask the same questions in each interview (i.e. I handle odd-numbered questions, my colleague handles the evens) and we have to submit the list of questions used with the paperwork for a request for an offer. After 5 years in this particular job, I think I’ve gotten down a set of questions that actually tells us what we need to know for each position I’ve interviewed people for, but it has taken work. And I still revisit the list regularly.

          Good luck.

        2. marvin*

          I think the open-endedness of the question makes it harder to come up with an off the cuff answer and might create the opportunity for misinterpretation. I would consider trying to identify the main kind of answer you’re hoping to get (Additional qualifications? Followup on previous questions?) and focus the question on that.

        3. pamela voorhees*

          It sounds like you’re (general university you, of course) is hoping the question will prompt candidates to ask about these quality of life things that you can’t ask about, but want to talk about and maybe even reassure them about. If that’s the sort of questions you’re hoping to prompt, I have to be honest, there’s literally no way on this green earth I’m asking my interviewer about places of worship for me or what the local healthcare facilities are. I’m sure the intention is good but you have to remember that the candidates can’t see the intention, and if I was the interviewee, I’d absolutely feel like you were trying to trick me into letting you discriminate against me. Again, I’m certain the intention is good! But there’s so many people that have a bad intention, and your interviewee has no idea which you are on the surface.

        4. Chirpy*

          This still feels like fishing for information, though. It just feels like a backdoor way to ask those questions you’re not allowed to. If a I as a candidate do or don’t ask about child care or schools, then I’m still giving you information about whether or not I have children. That is a thing I personally have been discriminated against at work for (as the only childless person in the office, it was assumed I would do any and all evening or weekend events when parents were not expected to do the same, and I was expected to close alone daily so everyone else could leave early and pick up their kids despite some of them having stay at home spouses), so frankly, I’m not saying a thing about children or significant others in an interview if I don’t have to.

          Giving the candidates written resources to take home and look over later seems fine, it’s the discussion aspect that’s problematic. As a candidate, I’d want to be able to trust that I’m being judged on my job qualifications and interview, not what my home life looks like.

          1. BubbleTea*

            It sounds like the exact opposite happens here though – they don’t require the candidates to ask, they tell ALL of them, along with the introductions of who is on the panel and where the toilets are or whatever.

            1. Chirpy*

              They don’t *require* the candidates to ask, but by opening it up for this kind of question, they’ve opened it up for finding out information that could be used to discriminate against someone.

    10. JSPA*

      For me, it would be, “this is the one thing, more important than the others, that they want me to leave them with. Do I pick something about how I operate? Do I fudge, and include two or three factoids? Is this an invitation to do a sales pitch, elevator-style?”

      “Are there any skills or background that would be relevant to the job, that we have not given you a chance to talk about, that you’d like to share with us?” It’s both more directed and more clearly plural and more clearly lower stakes.

      I prefer people to separate out, “what are your questions for us” from “what other relevant things about you would you like to go into.” Otherwise, “tell us about you” encroaches on “ask us what you need to know” time. Unless that sort of judgement is what you’re testing for, don’t bake it into the interview process.

      1. BritChickaaa*

        I’ve had interviews where I’ve been asked that and
        it’s pretty clear the expected answer is “no I think we’ve covered everything.” It’s a pretty standard way of saying “interview is over”, at least in the UK, and taking it as an invitation to speak at any length wouldn’t be looked on positively.

        1. TechWorker*

          I hold interviews in the U.K, use a similar version of this question and get a decent mix of ‘well we didn’t talk much about this summer job which gave me experience doing x,y,z’ and ‘no I think we’ve covered everything’. I’m definitely not saying I have loads of experience interviewing (I don’t) but won’t this generally be industry/company specific anyway?

        2. Kate*

          Yes, I’ve always taken it as a completely genuine question. If there’s really something else I think might help that hasn’t come up, I’ll mention it (for example, once a second language was listed in the ad as ‘desirable’ and I wanted to make sure they knew I had one, and they said ‘oooh great!’ and wrote it down). I absolutely wouldn’t make up something for the sake of it or start pitching myself all over again from the start (or talking about my punk band, as someone suggested above- what?!). They’re a second away from standing up and ushering you out.

          This letter is extraordinarily irritating – if you phrase something as a yes/no question, ‘no, I think that’s everything’ should be a fine answer. They’re not ‘stumped’, they HAVE answered. If it’s actually not a wrap-up formality and you want a ‘fun fact’ or an elevator pitch or anything else, then ask that.

    11. No Longer Gig-less Data Analyst*

      Like when the police officer pulls you over and asks, “Do you know why I pulled you over?” and you literally have no idea why.

      1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        yeah, if you saying “because I was speeding” boom you get a speeding fine on top of whatever crime they think they witnessed!

    12. Queen Anon*

      Like when you were kids and you broke a dish or something and you all thought you covered your tracks then your mom asks “is there something you want to tell me?” Nope. No. No, we covered everything you need to know! As it’s phrased, it sounds like a “gotcha!” question. (Like maybe the candidate was fired because they weren’t a good fit but their previous employer agreed to say it was a mutually-decided departure so they told the interviewer that they left their previous job because it really wasn’t a good fit – and now they’re wondering how the interviewer found out and for heaven’s sake, just outright ask, please!)

    13. Susie*

      I was asked this question in a college interview and shared some pretty dark family medical and mental health stuff…soooo yeah…I agree it seems angling for a confession

      Luckily I learned that interviewers aren’t looking to dredge up my deepest secrets to determine if I am worthy before my post-collegiate job interviews. When I’ve been the interviewer, if I haven’t developed a conversational rapport with an interviewee, I often explain my rational for a question before asking. In my last job, I hired a lot of college students and recent college grads. I saw part of my role as training them on workplace norms. So when I asked about areas of professional development they were interested in (usually in the second and final interview), I often explained first that it wasn’t a question to catch them in something but a legitimate question to plan professional development. OP maybe be mindful the interpersonal dynamics and the response of the interviewee in the next few interviews to see if you can pinpoint why the question is flopping.

    14. June*

      And I hope LW is not penalizing anyone who answers no to this ambiguous question. It’s not a good question.

      1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        Yes, they think people are “stumped” for an answer when in fact, everything they want to know has been spelled out and they’ve managed to say everything that might be a positive for them. “No” actually means “you’ve conducted this interview perfectly so there’s nothing left to say”.

    15. Rosacolleti*

      OMG, my hubby always wishes for this question so he can say that he never had a day off sick from school OR work.
      I personally think it’s a great question.

      1. TechWorker*

        Fwiw if I got this response I would not view it as a positive. My reaction would be a bit like ‘ok good for you, but that’s a strange thing to tell me’ – I’m not more likely to hire someone because they don’t get sick EVER or because they (worse) come into the office even when they’re a bit ill…

      2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        I’d rule your husband out thinking, right he’d bring covid to the office and the entire department would be off sick at the same time.

    16. Rosacolleti*

      I think that’s a different question.

      I’ve asked this and had great responses ranging from how exciting they think the role sounds, why they think they’d be great at it, or just asking us more general questions say, about company culture, what we love best about our roles.

    17. Squidlet*

      This is exactly how I read this question. It feels a bit like “this is your last chance to tell us about [that thing] which we already suspect about you”.

      Maybe you could try a different phrasing: “Is there anything else you’d like to ask, or share about yourself?”

      Or ask the question, but immediately follow up with a clarifying statement if the candidate looks anxious or perplexed. “Anything that we haven’t covered yet?”

      At any rate, do try some different wording until you start to see the types of answers you’re expecting!

      1. Squidlet*

        So I just saw that your interviews are heavily scripted. But if you have the opportunity to change the question via a lengthy process, do some research / find a way to test the phrasing before you change it, or you could end up with something else that doesn’t work.

    18. Owlgal*

      Yes! I had this question at the very end of an interview recently. I was interviewing for a C-suite position and I was initially taken-aback, not knowing what specifically was meant by the question. Do they want me to go back over my experience? Skills? Are they looking for a personal blurb about my passions? — I wasn’t really certain. I ended up talking about my personal enthusiasm for the line of work and community, but it felt like, maybe, that’s not what the interviewer was looking for? I really disliked the question. We had just talked extensively about my skills, education, experience. We had discussed the role and the difficulties/opportunities that were present. The only thing we hadn’t canvassed was my personal life/viewpoint… so I went there. It felt kind of icky, though, like I was hoping to win the job with my personality or something.

      1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        Hm yes. I wouldn’t want a candidate to say that, because your enthusiasm should shine through whatever you’ve already been talking about. If I haven’t seen your eyes light up as I mention a specific responsibility (at least one), then I’m not going to believe you if you say “I really feel this job will be exciting”.

    19. Chickaletta*

      Just adding on to the conversation that I agree the wording feels a little interrogative. I’d be stumped too, honestly. It’s not the same as “what questions do you have for us?” and it’s not the early on “tell us a little bit about yourself”. It’s that, after a 30 or 60-minute Q&A, the interviewer is STILL trying to squeeze something out of me, and it would feel slightly like they are assuming that I’m holing somethign back. Depending on how the interview had gone so far, it wouldn’t sit well with me as a candidate.

      I think if someone has something they want to bring up at the end of the interview it’s fine, but don’t hold it against them if they don’t.

  2. The Original K.*

    I would guess people are trying to decide whether to share something personal or professional – like, skill vs. hobby. That’s where my mind would go, and I would probably err on the side of professional.

    1. GammaGirl1908*

      Agree with this. I think the candidates are just in an overthinking panic of “What are they looking for here? What’s the best thing to say? Is there a wrong answer? Do they want something quirky and fun? Are they looking for some work skill that I don’t know about?”

      And indeed, LW clearly thinks “ I don’t know,” or “No, I’m all set,” are wrong answers, so their visible disappointment probably flusters the candidates even more.

      1. Isben Takes Tea*

        I think I’d be okay now, but 10 years ago, this would have flustered me for just those reasons: being in the “an interview is a quiz with right and wrong answers” mindset. Facing an open-ended question where there’s just no way to know what is expected or wanted would have definitely caused me to panic.

        I don’t think that means it’s a bad question, but I also wouldn’t hang too much judgment on people who find it a difficult question to answer in the moment.

    2. Caramel & Cheddar*

      This is where I might be tempted to use the “Is there anything about your past professional or volunteer experience we haven’t covered yet that you think makes you a good fit for this role?” or something similar that makes it clear they don’t have to share personal stuff. I feel like someone might worry that this is when they need to declare something they might have waited to share after getting an offer (disability accommodations, pregnancy) when that is definitely not the intent of that question.

      Or if you DO want them to share personal, non-invasive stuff, then be explicit about that.

      1. learnedthehardway*

        Yes – this is a much better way to phrase the question. And it is much more likely to get the interviewer the kind of response they want, as well.

      2. LW*

        I think this is the academic side coming out. I really would be happy with anything they chose to share, but should temper my expectation that they MUST share something. I can see how we’ll need to either remove this question or make it more targeted and thus easier for the candidate to answer in the moment or else rephrase it to get at the sort of open-ended “did we miss anything interesting?” that we’re going for.

        1. Kale*

          I feel like “Did we miss anything?” could still yield the answer “Nope!” You should be more clear if you want to know about hobbies/what they’re like if that’s what you’re looking for.

          1. Scout*

            As the interviewee, them wanting to know about hobbies/personal stuff would make me very uncomfortable. So much so that it might make me think twice about them, because I do think it’s often used as a way to find out stuff they can’t ask.

      3. Mockingjay*

        This is excellent.

        OP’s original phrasing is too wide in scope for a wrap-up question. After an hour or so of talking, there is fatigue on both sides. Based on the varied responses she’s gotten, I suggest that OP add questions to get some of that info earlier in the discussion.

        1. alas rainy again*

          I think you nailed it! The question is grammatically too complex to understand when exhausted. I usually give my best while interviewing. I simultaneously listen intensely and over-adapt to the style of the inteviewer. I am quite successful at selling mysef (and work on better red flags detection). But after one or two hours, I am exhausted and just wish to escape before putting my foot into my mouth.

  3. supertoasty*

    “Is there anything we haven’t talked about that you’d like to bring up?”

    “Yeah, actually – why DO we drive on parkways and park on driveways? And what IS the deal with airline food?”

    “Uh, that’s not wha-”

    “Hey, you said anything”

      1. supertoasty*

        I feel like I’d attempt it with a longer working history. As it stands now – 1L and searching for summer internships – I’m not entirely sure it would land well, so once I start getting interviews (fingers crossed, knock on wood) I’ll probably not veer too far into jokes.

      2. BubbleTea*

        If I knew that this kind of answer was what an employer was looking for, I’d consider it a red flag personally. I don’t want to be hired for my ability to make a quip.

        1. supertoasty*

          Devil’s advocate: it’s not the answer that they’re “looking for,” but it is a) unique from the usual answers to this question (while not being so debasing like other “unique” things people do to get jobs that you often see highlighted), and b) shows that the interviewee isn’t just a stick-in-the-mud, but has some humor and personality. Of course if it was the be-all-end-all then yeah I would agree – and like I said in my above reply, I wouldn’t try it until I pad up my resume and get some amount of seniority in my field – but it might have a bit of a positive. YMMV, of course.

      3. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        you’d really like a candidate who derails the interview with a silly take on a question????

    1. Grace Poole*

      For me it’s more like:
      Them: “Tell us anything else about yourself!”
      Me, panicking: “Sorry, I can’t remember anything about myself.”

    2. Nanani*

      IIRC the original park ways were lanes with literal parks – greenery and trees and such – on either side to look at during the drive, and driveways only existed in front of posh manor houses and such and were used to drive up.
      For both of these picture horse-drawn carriages, not zooming by on the freeway.

    3. Sunshine*

      “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
      “Celebrating the five year anniversary of you asking me this question!” Mitch Hedberg

  4. I should really pick a name*

    I’m curious why you frame the question as fraught/challenging.
    Maybe you’ve already covered their best selling points and they have nothing to add.

    Is it a problem that some people don’t have an answer?
    I suggest continue to ask the question, but don’t read too much into it if some people don’t have more to say.

    1. Dust Bunny*

      This, too.

      Honestly, my job isn’t the kind of job where I’m supposed to be endlessly creative. I need to be sort of creative within a set of very clear boundaries, but there just isn’t a lot I think I could add that wouldn’t be covered in the rest of a competently-conducted interview.

      1. Wendy Darling*

        I’m just very shy and find interviews deeply stressful so by the end my brain has been replaced with a novelty molded gelatin dessert and I am no longer capable of original thought.

    2. KHB*

      This was my thought too. I interview people all the time (for media, not for jobs), and I always ask some version of “Is there anything I haven’t asked about that you want me to know?” Sometimes I get some really surprising information that way, other times they say “No, I think we covered everything,” and either way it’s fine. It would never have occurred to me that somebody asking that question in a job interview would be secretly judging me for giving the “wrong” answer.

      1. Heidi*

        Totally agree. I get the impression that the LW is expecting the applicants to come up with something impressive or entertaining, and that could be putting some pressure on the applicants. Theoretically, the interview questions should elicit all the information that they’ll use to make a hiring decision. If they were successful at doing that, there may not be additional relevant stuff. And that really ought to be fine.

        That being said, I might think about holding back a little something in case I get this question some day. Something harmless and mildly interesting, like how I collect photos of sheets of paper that have been pulled out of photocopier paper jams.

    3. So they all cheap ass rolled over and one fell out*

      I think that’s exactly LW’s problem.
      The question is fine. Possibly great. Gives candidates a chance to bring up something that might strengthen their candidacy.
      But some people – most apparently – aren’t going to have something like that. Maybe they already gave their elevator pitch in their cover letter or when you asked “so, tell me about yourself” at the start of the interview. Maybe the interview covered everything pretty well already (or if it’s part of a loop, the previous interviews covered everything, and the candidate assumes you’ll talk to the other interviewers).
      Whatever the reason, IMHO this should be one of those things that can help the candidate but generally shouldn’t hurt them. (With an exception for those who say things like “You should have asked me what my greatest weakness is, which is ” Or “I feel I should warn you that I have a habit of punching my coworkers”).

      1. Esmeralda*

        GReat advice from my dissertation director, a million years ago: You can ask the same questions of different people or groups. In fact, you should, because you may not get the same answers, and that’s information.

        1. So they all cheap ass rolled over and one fell out*

          The LW is an interviewer who said they are asking the candidate what question they (interviewer) should ask the candidate (interviewee).

          Of course the candidate can ask the same question of multiple interviewers, especially if it’s something opinion based.

          I am saying that I don’t think LW should hold it against candidates if they don’t come up with anything. Especially since it seems to happen a lot, with otherwise strong candidates.

    4. ecnaseener*

      I took the “mumbled” part to mean LW thinks the candidates are struggling with what to say. A confident, cheery “No, we covered everything I wanted you to know!” would be different.

    5. Liz T*

      I honestly hate in interviews when I get asked MULTIPLE times if there’s anything else I want to ask or say. Even if I understand that they’re just trying to be considerate, it makes me feel like they think I’ve been incomplete and I need to come up with something. Especially if I feel like we’ve really vibed and covered a lot of ground–what more do you want from me???

      1. KateM*

        Oh, I had this in an oral language exam – they kept asking me “what else?” and I had no idea what they wanted from me because I felt I had covered everything I had wanted to say!

        1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          yeah like when you’ve got four Wordle letters already, like “-ATCH” and you’ve tried batch and catch and watch -what else?
          And you forgot that you can have more than one of each letter and the answer is hatch.

      2. The New Wanderer*

        After a full day of interviews at one place (giant tech company you know), the very last question I was asked was “What makes you the best candidate for this job?”

        I was at a loss for words because I literally had just spent that entire day, plus the two phone screens/interviews before then, discussing my unique qualifications. AND the person asking had told me, earlier in that same conversation, that my specialty of X was considered my top selling point, just as the other top candidate’s specialty of Y was theirs. So I really didn’t know how to address that question, what they were looking for, that we hadn’t talked about for hours already. It just felt like anything I chose to say would just be spitting back the the point the interviewer made about me, which they clearly already knew.

        In hindsight, I guess they were looking for a soundbite or summary statement, but I wish they had been clear about that. That should be the main rule all interviewers follow: make it clear what you are asking for.

        1. KHB*

          What a weird question. How can you possibly even claim to be “the best candidate” without knowing anything about the rest of the candidate pool? I wonder how they’d react if you just said that?

        2. Devin Singer*

          Ah, the Mediocre White Man question. “Tell me why you think you’re obviously the best at everything!”

    6. Show Globe*

      It’s possible that a lot of the candidates look really confused by the question. Based on many comments here, apparently it is not as straight forward as I would have thought.

    7. dudebro*

      The last couple of interview I had were more like conversations. They ask questions, I ask questions. Then at the end, when they ask if I have any questions, the answer is always “No, I think we covered everything.” Because I already asked everything I wanted to.
      I never get the jobs though, so maybe they didn’t check the “Have questions at end of interview” box.

  5. Turanga Leela*

    The last time I interviewed for a job, my interviewer asked something like, “Is there anything we haven’t covered that you want to tell us?”—similar to your phrasing. I really appreciate this kind of question, and I felt like it gave me an opportunity to sum up my candidacy in a nice way. I wouldn’t have been thrown by the OP’s phrasing either, but I liked the way my interviewer asked it.

    1. honeygrim*

      Yeah, I like “want” in there. It makes it more obvious that it’s an invitation, not an interrogation.

  6. awesome3*

    If we’re keeping it as a conversation, I usually have asked my questions along the way, and during do you have any questions for us. I do think I’ve responded that way before, not because I was stumped but because I genuinely felt we covered everything

    1. A Penguin!*

      Yes! I should have mentioned this in my other reply, but in the cases where the interview is a genuine conversation I’m not surprised/disappointed if there’s nothing left at the ‘any other questions’ phase. Not all interviews flow that well, but the ones that do I’d peg it at about 50% don’t have any more questions when I get to the end of the conversation.

    2. mourning mammoths*

      I have had many interviews recently where I felt that either 1. we had discussed all the things I had in mind, or 2. I already knew the job wasn’t really for me.

    3. STEMArtist*

      Yes, this so much! I was very confused by this letter, because I usually ask questions along the way or respond to this question the first time with a couple questions. And sometimes, there just isn’t anything on my mind! (Side note: I have ADHD, so).

      I have dealt with this a tiny bit by grabbing some of the more “fluff” questions that might not be answered in the interview in general but are still important (what’s the makeup of a typical work week/day, what would you say you like the best about your company culture, how often do coworkers socialize outside of work, how is the work-life-balance, those kind of things). But eventually this question will come up again. And I will be “stumped” because we went over everything.

  7. A Penguin!*

    I like “Is there anything we haven’t touched on that you would like to talk about?” – but it’s really no different than your formulation, so I doubt it’ll make any difference in your candidate pool.

    For candidates I think are probably on the weak end of the interview pool I rephrase it to “Is there anything we haven’t touched on that you think showcases how you’d be a good fit for the role?” Basically focused on looking for unmentioned strengths in candidates I don’t think come out on top at the moment.

    Conversely, for a candidate I feel is currently the frontrunner I might use “Is there anything about the role or company we haven’t covered that you’d like to know more about?” In this case I’m more focused on selling the company, as I’ve already been sold pretty well on the applicant.

    1. TechWriter*

      This is a really good, nuanced approach! Ask the question in a way that leads them toward the kind of answer you want to get rather than leaving it open.

      1. Varthema*

        Just a plea to have mercy on the neurodivergent. We are often good at our jobs but often not good when surprised. Even if I might have prepared for other questions, I might not make that connection in the moment – “oh, I prepared for questions a, b, c, d, e, and f, and she asked me a, b, d, f, which are missing”. Also, my mental capacity is usually shot by the end of an interview – the adrenaline and cortisol really kills my creative and flexible thinking.

  8. Vgw*

    Yeah I don’t understand the need to say “is there anything you’d like us to ask.” It’s like youre asking them to critique your questions.
    Keep it simple: “is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?”

  9. Springtime*

    I’ve probably mumbled “no” to this question many times. Often, I’ve come with a list of questions, and by the end of the conversation, we already HAVE covered all of them. If there’s something about my skills that I really think I haven’t already said, I will bring it up–but a lot of times I’ve just spent 45 minutes or more pitching myself, and I don’t necessarily have a fresh angle to throw at you in the wrap-up!

    1. Yorick*

      Exactly. Candidates have probably found ways to bring up everything they think will show they’re a good fit for the role. At some point, you don’t have anything extra to say. And I certainly wouldn’t answer the question with interesting personal facts – I don’t mind sharing some non-work-related stuff, but I would assume that’s not an appropriate way to answer this question.

  10. jcarnall*

    I’ve been through multiple interviews (and in some of them I even got the job) where I’ve been asked this question, and I have literally never known what on earth the interviewer meant by it. In fact I have been on the interviewer’s side of the table, asking questions of the candidates, and this was one of the questions we asked, and all three candidates did “oh no I think we’ve covered everything” and I just thought that was … normal?

    Occasionally there’s been situations in the interview where I’ve thought “Oh I’d like to ask about that” and then I’ve used this end-question as an occasion to ask the question I thought of when there didn’t seem to be time to ask it.

    But I am today years old before it occurred to me that it’s actually meant as an invitation to pitch myself to the interviewer. Which I know how to do: I just never thought of this question at the end of the interview as a moment to do it in.

    Given how many people have no idea about this, is it possible it’s just a badly-phrased question, and if so, how did it come to be such a standard formula? If so many people have not a clue what it means, is it possible most interviewers don’t really expect anyone to answer it except by “oh no I think we’ve covered everything”?

    (I used to be a technical writer, and my rule of thumb is, no matter how clear you think you’re being, if multiple people all misunderstand you in the same way, you have written it wrong.)

    1. Leela*

      Same, I’ve worked in hiring and I have *never* known this question to be an invitation for the interviewee to pitch themselves. THAT IS WHAT THE WHOLE INTERVIEW IS. And I have to worry about my answer coming off bizarre/unrelated/out of touch, and anything that isn’t, I probably said in the interview already.

      OP if you want this space to be used for a candidate to pitch themselves…please say that exactly, not something you think they’ll translate into what you mean!

      And jcarnall to your point (I used to be a technical writer, and my rule of thumb is, no matter how clear you think you’re being, if multiple people all misunderstand you in the same way, you have written it wrong.), I worked in Game Design and we have a similar philosophy. If players aren’t doing what you want, you designed the game wrong, they aren’t playing it wrong!

      1. LW*

        Good point Leela. Enough candidates were responding to this uncomfortably that the point above -” if multiple people all misunderstand you in the same way” – was clear. Less clear was exactly what to do about it, but hurrah for the commitariat with alternate suggestions and ways to get what we’re after.

      2. Phoenix Wright*

        I totally agree. Even after reading LW’s thoughts on what the answer should be about, I can’t think of anything I’d like to say in that position that wouldn’t have been said earlier during the interview. And even if I forgot to mention it, a second language is something that would appear on the resume, which my interviewer has probably read and might have with them at that very moment. Anything I needed to say in order to sell myself, I either offered before or it came up naturally during the conversation, so there would honestly be nothing left to add.

        So yes, I’d feel very confused about this question and worry that the interviewer might know something negative about me that I’m trying to hide.

      3. moonstone*

        Also, in my experience with interviews, the pitch is usually the response to “Tell me about yourself” at the BEGINNING of the interview. Why would a candidate pitch themselves at the end of an interview???

    2. Velocipastor*

      I’m also in the camp of thinking not having an answer to this question was normal! I think of this mostly being a formality/cue that the interview is wrapping up rather than an invitation to keep talking.

  11. Dr. Rebecca*

    I’m not stumped by the question, I just usually don’t have anything to add, and find being put on the spot by this question to be kind of annoying. If you gave me time for questions, I asked them then. If you didn’t give me time for questions, I’ll follow up by email. If I’ve answered your questions and you’ve answered mine, then…we’re done, aren’t we?

    1. Jennifer*

      Yes, this too. I’ve already told you everything I need you to know. I’ve asked everything I want to ask. But answering ‘no’ to this kind of question always makes me feel like I’m failing a test somehow. I know the interviewer is trying to make sure they haven’t missed anything, but it’s kind of annoying.

    2. anonymous73*

      I’m curious as to why you find you’re being “put on the spot” with this question? To me, it’s not much different than asking at the end of a meeting if anyone has anything else they’d like to discuss. It’s just giving them one last chance to ask or add something before you end the interview.

        1. Dr. Rebecca*

          The same “oh my god, did I miss something??” feeling reported by a lot of the other commenters. I’m on the spot in an interview for things about my qualifications and about the job, not for reading their minds and figuring out what they should have asked but didn’t.

          1. anonymous73*

            I don’t know, I feel like that train of thought is reading WAY too much into a simple question.

            1. Dr. Rebecca*

              And yet, based on the comment section, from the candidate side of things it’s an incredibly feeling. Why do you think that is?

              1. Allonge*

                I mean, I love this commentariat but this is typically the kind of thing most people here _would_ overanalyse as a default. That does not make it a great question, but I am not even a little bit surprised how it ended up here.

      1. jcarnall*

        If we’re at the end of a meeting and the chair asks “does anyone have anything they’d like to add?” the person who says “Yes!” is instantly everyone’s least favourite person in the room.

        Unless it”s very short and either pleasant or highly pertinant or both (“It’s Susan’s birthday! Please all sign the card!”) – (“According to the Met Office, Storm Dudley is going to hit at at four pm, so everyone who wants can go home early!”) the best thing to hear in answer to “Anyone have anything they want to add?” is always silence, followed by “That’s us done then!”

        1. pamela voorhees*

          Right, absolute same here. Too often “anything else before we wrap up?” is the moment that people choose to get on a pet hobbyhorse about something they believe is deeply important, and is deeply not.

  12. Chriama*

    On the candidate side I like the question. I don’t even really think there’s anything wrong with your wording. The only thing I might do differently is reassure them that it’s ok if the answer is no. Couching it in terms like “that’s the end of my questions, but is there anything about yourself related to this role that you’d like to share” or “before we finish, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like talk more about” could also help make it clear that this is really just a general “catch-all” question and you’re not fishing for anything in particular.

    1. SimplytheBest*

      Agreed. I’m actually really surprised by the amount of people saying the question is confusing or convoluted. To me, this is pretty straightforward.

      I also agree on it should be okay to not have anything else to add. I know when interviewers ask if I have any questions but all my questions were already answered, I usually make a point of either looking at a written list of questions I brought with me or verbally going through my list (something like “My major questions were about A, B, and C, but you discussed those pretty thoroughly”) before saying I have nothing else to ask because interviewers sometimes look at not having extra questions as a bad thing. So I would probably do the same kind of thing here, just reiterating a few key points about myself that we had already discussed.

      1. Yorick*

        It’s not confusing in itself, except that the answer is almost always going to be no.

        What’s confusing about it is that some interviewers apparently mean for it to be a final way for you to sell yourself – which is not at all the same as the wording of “is there anything else you want us to know?” If what you really want is them to sell themselves more, you have to ask for that in specific words. But that would be crazy (“Before we wrap up the interview, please sum up why you think you’d be a good fit for this role, again”), and that’s why those interviewers ask it in this backward way.

        If you’re really just trying to give them an opportunity to say anything else they want to, it’s a fine question. But again, almost everyone will have already covered their relevant work experience and skills in the whole interview that preceded this question.

        1. londonedit*

          Definitely – I don’t object to the question itself, but it seems like the OP wants the candidates to have some sort of brilliant answer up their sleeves, and that’s where I think it runs into difficulties. I always have questions prepared when I’m going to an interview, but if I turned up and answered all the interviewers’ questions, asked my questions and we talked about those, and then the interviewer said ‘Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you’, I think I’d probably be a bit thrown off, especially by the ‘know about you’ part. I don’t think I’ve ever been specifically asked that, and I might wonder exactly what the interviewer is getting at. But if it was more like ‘Before we finish, is there anything else you’d like to talk about?’ and it was also clear that if I said ‘No, thank you, I think we’ve covered everything’ then that would be a perfectly acceptable answer, then fine. But if the interviewer was clearly trying to get me to say something in response, then it would get awkward because it would start feeling like a trick question, like there was something I’d missed that they wanted me to say and I wasn’t getting it.

    2. whistle*

      “before we finish, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like talk more about”

      Excellent wording!

      I think this has much less risk of being perceived as a gotcha by the candidate.

  13. Leela*

    OP this question wouldn’t stump me but I’d be very unlikely to respond with something like “I’m fluent in Mandarin” even though I am! There’s just a big disconnect between what the question literally states and me understanding that you’re giving me space to just say *stuff* in general that might be of interest to you…because I don’t know what’s of interest to you! Interview expectations are different than regular conversational ones, for example I know when you say “tell us about yourself” you want me to go into my job history and why I’m here, and Alison’s internal dialogue is spot on – questions are fraught with what I think you’re actually asking, what’s actually relevant to say, the knowledge that having worked in hiring, Hiring Managers are CONSTANTLY going “why did they ever tell us X about themselves??” after a job interview, I think part of what you’re running into is just differing norms for a very high-pressure conversation that changes from company to company with loads of misinformation floating around the internet.

  14. Rachel*

    I am usually burned out by the end of any interview from having to be ‘on’ and expressive/intelligent for the past 30-60 minutes with a stranger. When I get this question, I tell the interviewer(s) that I would like some time to process and send an email later that day with my questions. This works for me; I have not had anyone push back. I then can take some time to type good questions and reiterate my skills and strengths.

    1. Liz T*

      YES THIS. So done by the end. If there’s a part of my work experience that I had really wanted to talk about but somehow hadn’t managed to work in already (bad job Stefan) then fine, but otherwise I really don’t have the energy to guess what might interest the interviewer.

  15. shalimar*

    Is there anything else you want us to know that would help us determine if this role is a good fit for you?

    1. Generic Name*

      Yup. Or similarly, something like “Is there anything you’d like us to know that you think strengthens you as a candidate for this role but we haven’t covered yet?”

  16. Jennifer*

    Yeah, I think it’s a normal question, just phrased awkwardly. Alison’s suggestion is much better.

  17. ThatGirl*

    On one hand, I think it’s a good/polite question. On the other hand, I am not always great at thinking on the spot, and when posed this question I am usually just like “uh…. no?” because I can’t decide what the right thing to say is. Like Alison kinda referenced I get decision paralysis — should I say more about my portfolio? Mention that I collect Baby Yoda toys? Talk about my hobbies? So I end up saying nothing.

  18. Too Many Dogs*

    I’ve used this at the end of interviews for many years, only I phrase it: “Is there anything else you would like me to know about you?” My purpose is not to stump them, it’s to let them tell me something about themselves — job history, hobbies, accomplishments — that might not have a place on their application/resume’. Some applicants freeze, but many relax and tell me something that reveals more of their personality or character. It also shows me how well they answer a question they weren’t prepared for, how articulate are they when it’s not a memorized response to an expected question.

    1. No Tribble At All*

      Yeah I wouldn’t know how to answer that. Hobbies can be very personal and can be used by interviewers to determine culture fit, so they’re fraught. Job history and accomplishments are relevant, but shouldn’t they already be on the resume?

      1. LW*

        I like that phrasing as well. I think you’re right, that culture fit is a hidden minefield for this kind of question and inhibiting for the candidate. But I will say, given the academic environment, we attract many quirky folks who have really interesting things in their background that strengthen them as a candidate even if it is not apparently directly related to the job. Anything that helps to let us see how they could add some dimension to the job AND/OR connect with students (a very intangible skill) can add to our assessment of their candidacy. I hesitate to take away a venue for these hidden strengths that can’t be asked about with a targeted question.

        1. WantonSeedStitch*

          So what kind of information ARE you looking for, LW? Hobbies and skills and accomplishments that aren’t directly related to the role itself? If so, that’s something you should say, and provide the context you give here: “We find that people’s hobbies and experiences can be a huge help in connecting with students. Given that, is there anything about your own hobbies, skills, or accomplishments that aren’t directly related to this role, that you’d like to share?” If I heard that question, I’d feel much more confident and comfortable talking about those somewhat-personal things, knowing that there was a good reason for the interviewer wanting to know other than “is this the kind of person I’d want to hang out with outside of work?”

        2. Yorick*

          If you want to know about hobbies, ask them about their hobbies. I’ve had questions like that in interviews before and it was fine. If you ask a general question, they’re not gonna know which topic to cover.

      2. Too Many Dogs*

        You’re right — I was using hobbies & accomplishments as an example, and they were not the best examples. I’m just looking for any way to connect a little bit more with the applicant and give them a chance to sell themselves. One told me he enters trivia contests all the time. Fabulous! This is a library — we love trivia.. Some are fluent in other languages, also helpful. Helps me get a sense of them other that what’s on the application.

    2. Sea Anemone*

      What are the assumptions do you make about candidates who freeze when presented with a question they weren’t prepared for or didn’t expect? I wonder if you are screening for what you think you are screening for.

      1. LW*

        Sea Anemone – this is a really important thing for us to think about as we’re rephrasing our question. Always remember to check our assumptions!

    3. Spencer Hastings*

      If you want to hear about hobbies or non-work things, why not make that more explicit? I don’t want to be the person who answers “tell me more about yourself” with “I play the trombone” when they really meant “tell me more about your qualifications for this accounting position” — I imagine most people don’t.

      1. jcarnall*

        I was just thinking that!

        I mean, if an interview WANTS to know about my hobbies, I’m happy to give them a thumbnail sketch of the kind of thing I like to do. But I’m not going to bring that up in an interview unless I’m asked.

      2. londonedit*

        In the UK it’s slightly more usual to have a couple of hobbies listed on your CV – not just ‘I like reading and baking’ but things that demonstrate skills that might be relevant to the role, like ‘Under-11s rugby coach 2015-2020, current treasurer of village amateur dramatics group’. Sometimes interviewers don’t mention them, but sometimes they will pick up on something and say ‘So I see you were a rugby coach? How did you get into that?’ and then you have a chance to talk about how you got your coaching qualifications and how you managed to corral a load of 10-year-olds every Saturday morning. But I agree that a blanket ‘tell me more about yourself’ question wouldn’t immediately make me think ‘tell me about your hobbies’ – if you’re looking for info about what the candidate likes to do outside of work, then you need to ask that question specifically, or people will be left thinking ‘More about myself? Like….my family? No, surely not. Hobbies? Or do they mean other work skills?’ Basically people will already be in high-alert mode, worried about saying the wrong thing, so it’s kind to be explicit about what sort of information you’re looking for. It’s like the classic situation where the interviewer starts by saying ‘So, tell me about yourself’ – while most experienced candidates will understand that means ‘Talk me through your work experience’, if you’re new to interviewing you might well launch into ‘Well, I’m 22 years old and I live with two friends and our cat in London…’

    4. moonstone*

      Why the hell would a candidate talk about their hobbies in an interview? Is this normal in some industries? It’s definitely not in mine.

      It seems like there is a disconnect in expectations between employers and candidates in some areas.

  19. Beth*

    I think this is just too open ended. You’re envisioning it as a chance for interviewees to bring any relevant skills and experience they have that haven’t been discussed yet into the discussion. But this question doesn’t ask for that. It asks for anything.

    Many people will pause at that, because we don’t actually want to share just anything in a job interview. We want to share what might get us the job. And while you know what you’re hoping to learn to evaluate who is the best fit, interviewees don’t know what you’re looking for; this approach makes people guess at what you want to hear.

    Something like “Is there anything I should know about your skills and experience that we haven’t touched on yet?” does a better job of communicating what you’re looking for, and will result in a lot less guesswork for your interviewees.

    1. posterboard*

      Yes, I agree with this. I was trying to think how I would answer this question and I’m stumped, because it’s just SO open-ended. I would probably default to not sharing something personal, because it feels weird to suddenly steer the interview that way, which leaves me with professional accomplishments/skills. And if I’ve done a decent cover letter and resume, and you’ve just given me a reasonably in-depth interview, is it really surprising that people don’t have more to add? I don’t want to say something just to say it.

  20. DrMrsC*

    I really like the suggested rephrase. The original feels like it closes the door on the interviewee being able to ask questions about the company or position. I think that is more likely where outstanding questions would come from rather than – oh yes, I have this unusual and outstanding talent that I failed to mention entirely on my resume or cover letter…

  21. Velawciraptor*

    I tend to go with the phrasing “before we get to your questions for us, is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself that you think would help us in making our decision?”

    YMMV, but it seems to work for us.

  22. Eric*

    If at the end of the interview, the candidate asked you “Do you have any other questions for me?”, you’d probably say something like “no, thank you for meeting with us today”. I don’t see why it should be any different the other way around.

    1. ecnaseener*

      But that’s apples and oranges. A better comparison would be the candidate asking “is there anything else I should know about this position/company?” And maybe the answer would be no, but not always.

      Even that’s not a perfect comparison, because the interviewer is usually driving most of the interview so it’s more reasonable to expect them to bring up everything they wanted to talk about.

  23. Ana Gram*

    I ask a similar question and I’ve gotten some good responses. But I phrase it a little differently. I usually say something like “I know I just asked you a ton of questions [insert warm laugh here]. But I’d there anything else you want us to know about you or your experience that we didn’t discuss?” Then I follow up by asking if they have any questions for me. Once a candidate asked how old I am so that was odd. But everyone else either has no questions or asks normal questions.

    1. LawBee*

      The [insert warm laugh here] cracked me up. It reminded me of my exec friend who has a post-it on her monitor that says “ask staff about their holiday”.

  24. Trout 'Waver*

    If I heard that phrasing, I’d assume they were looking for something specific and wrack my brain trying to figure out what they were looking for, tbh.

    Having been on both sides of the interview table recently, I think a lot of interviewers forget the power disparity between the two sides.

    1. Leela*

      “If I heard that phrasing, I’d assume they were looking for something specific and wrack my brain trying to figure out what they were looking for, tbh.”

      Yes this! And when people say “anything else that can help us make our decision” well…I don’t know how you make decisions or what would help you, because you have ALL of the details about this role and have shared SOME of them, the rest I would learn on the job. How am I supposed to answer this effectively? Just throw out something random about myself and hope it aligns with what would excite a team I haven’t worked with yet? I mean I might get a sense from the interview (with the Mandarin example, if I knew that the team sometimes worked with Asian clients, for example. However I assume that something like would have come up in the interview so I might not randomly throw out that I’m good with game engines or something like that, hoping that it would excite a team, not knowing if they need to know about that because they haven’t asked about it

      1. Yorick*

        If you learned during the interview that the team sometimes works with Chinese clients, you’d probably mention being fluent in Mandarin THEN. Then you still wouldn’t have anything extra to add later.

  25. introverted af*

    I have been asking a similar question as a candidate for recent interviews – “Are there any concerns you have about my candidacy that I haven’t been able to answer already?” I think maybe if you phrased it more like that you might get more success. “Is there anything from your work experience or other factors of your candidacy that you weren’t able to talk about that you’d like to share as we wrap up?” And that opens it up more for questions or directing the conversation a little better. Bu I do agree as written the question would probably feel weird to try and answer.

  26. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

    So I’m stuck on one thing in the wording.

    “anything else we haven’t asked or talked about”

    What’s with the “asked or talked”? Just say “talked”!

    1. KateM*

      Yes, it needs rewording. OK, English is not my first language, but it took me three readings to understand, so if I was asked it (at the end of interview when I was tired anyway), it would be even more difficult.

    2. Nina*

      Yup, the phrasing in the OP’s version of this question was so convoluted that I would be sitting there for quite a while trying to unpick what they were asking and would probably give up and mumble something noncommittal when it became awkward.

      The purpose of the question is fine, but it needs to be clearer and more direct in the wording to avoid confusing candidates.

  27. Ambarish*

    I’d offer an add-on tag, like “Is there anything we haven’t asked or talked about that you’d like us to know about you, or have we generally covered everything?”

    IME, it totally removes the deer-in-headlights possibilities

  28. Slipping The Leash*

    It’s too open-ended. Imagine someone you don’t know who has the power to hire you hands you a blank sheet of paper and a pen and says, “Draw me a picture of anything you like,” and that picture will be part of the calculus in determining if you get the job. How do you decide what to draw? Much less difficult if you say, “Draw me a tree.”

    1. ecnaseener*

      But this is at the end of an hour long interview, where they’ve been telling you to draw different objects the whole time. The point of this question is “hey, were you hoping to draw an object we didn’t ask you to draw?”

        1. ecnaseener*

          Well, that’s just reading their mind. The point of this metaphor (I think???) is that there are thousands of possible things to draw, and the interviewer can’t know which ones the candidate especially wants to show them.

          1. Nanani*

            I think quill might be referencing the social media semi-meme about mind horses and the inherent difficulty of drawing a horse without a reference.

      1. Leela*

        I think it’s more like, in an interview it would be for a tree drawing position, so you’d draw an oak, and a pine, and a ginko, and then they’re like “is there anything else you’d like us to see you draw?” and you’re like…I…don’t know. Is there anything else they need to see me draw to help sell me? I’m good at drawing cars but I’m also good at drawing sea horses or planets or whatever, I have *no* idea which of that extremely wide variety of things I could draw would be helpful, and general ideas about how interviews go mean I wouldn’t just randomly draw jupiter even if I was good at it and loved drawing it, because they gave me that space. I have no idea what they want out of what they asked or how it could help them, so I’d freeze up too.

  29. emmaX*

    One thing my boss does in interviews that I think is helpful is describes the interview format from the get go:

    We will take turns asking questions. We have set questions. We will all be taking notes. At the end you will be given an opportunity to ask questions.

    Then, at the end of the interview, it isn’t out of the blue and they have had all interview to think of a few questions if they didn’t come prepared.

    1. LW*

      Yes, this is how we do it. Unfair to not let people know ahead of time what the process will be. But clearly we will need to rethink/reword this last question.

  30. Kevin Sours*

    I suspect the core problem is when that answer is “no” but the candidate feels like they will be judged negatively for saying that.

  31. Phony Genius*

    If I wasn’t expecting this question, I would have a hard time deciding what I would want to say here. Unless there was something I was hoping that they would ask me about that we didn’t discuss, I don’t think I would be able to formulate a good answer.

    That said, if you keep Alison’s tips in mind, you can be prepared for this question in advance, since it’s such a common question. I would prepare with a variation on the magic interview question. Think about a task that you did great that others only did good and tell the interviewer about it. Focus on why you were able to do it so well.

    1. LW*

      We will absolutely be rethinking this question, but I like your point about it being a common question. Our wording of it notwithstanding, I think you’re right that it should be something you prepare for. People are endlessly fascinating and almost everyone has something in their wheelhouse or some anecdote not specifically job related that demonstrates a positive character trait (persistent, caring, optimistic, hard-working…) and could be trotted out for a question like this.

      1. ecnaseener*

        I wouldn’t expect anyone to prepare for this question specifically — how could they predict what you WON’T ask them about? Unless they prepare a fun fact, which it sounds like is what you’re maybe most interested in?

        1. metadata minion*

          I agree — I expect to be asked it, but if I feel the interview covered my experience/strengths and the position’s requirements well, I’m not going to assume the interviewer wants me to come up with some other tangential thing to talk about.

      2. Cascadia*

        Yea, I think the problem here is that the interviewee has to immediately think about all of their best qualities, and then scan through the entire interview that just happened and remember what you have or haven’t talked about. I know my best strengths for the job are my X, Y, and Z traits going into an interview. But when you ask this question, now I have to think back to what we just talked about for an hour – did I cover X enough? They definitely asked about Y. Hmmm, maybe I could expand on Z more. You’re forcing the interviewee in real time to think over the past hour and remember every question you asked, how they answered it, and then assess in the moment whether there’s something they need to add. That’s really hard to do! And in a high-stakes, high-stress environment like an interview, your mind may go completely blank. I’m sure we’ve all had that moment hours or days after an interview where you think “Ah, I should have told them about the potato project!” But you’re asking them to do that real-time when the interview is still happening, and I think that’s a super challenging thing to do. Which is why you probably get a lot of answers that are them mumbling and fumbling for a while (that’s them thinking back on the entire interview and cataloging all of the responses) and then saying “I think we’ve covered everything!” I really encourage you to think about what you truly want the answers to be, and then ask that specifically in a question. If you want people to mention personal hobbies or something, then you should explicitly ask about that, because it’s not obvious. If you want people to answer with work qualifications, then you should explicitly ask about that, because it’s not obvious. And if you truly don’t care – then continue to ask the question but don’t judge the candidate for the mumbled, fumbled response.

    2. Delta Delta*

      I think this, also. It sort of feels like the interviewer may be fishing for something, but I don’t know what. Since an interview is such a high-stress situation, such a big, open question feels like there’s supposed to be a “right answer.” There may or may not be a right answer but it feels like it might be a trap.

  32. S*

    If you start off with “Tell me about yourself” and/or ask any similar open-ended questions, candidates might have already used those questions as an opportunity to convey what they want you to know about themselves. It could be an indication that you’ve actually already given candidates sufficient opportunity to talk about themselves over the course of the interview.

    1. Yorick*

      Exactly. I’m frustrated with LW and some commenters’ assumption that people are “freezing up” by not having anything to say here. If an interview is going well, the person has probably already had a chance to tell the interviewers about the skills, experiences, and background they think are relevant. Only people with salesman-like personalities are going to think, “I should give a final pitch!” Most regular people are going to think about it and decide, no, I’ve already told you everything I can think of that you should know.

      If what you really want is a fun fact or to hear about hobbies, you should ask for that directly.

      1. Autistic Adult*

        And if you’re hiring for a sales position, that’s important! But if you’re NOT hiring for a sales position, then how good a sales person they are is irrelevant to how good they’ll do at the job you’re hiring for. So looking for that sales-pitch answer (and probably being biased towards the people who can give it) is screening out people who might be perfect for the job, but don’t have the personality the interviewer likes (the sales personality).

    2. SnappinTerrapin*

      I appreciate the opportunity for a “closing statement” if I need it.

      But I’m also comfortable saying, “This has been a thorough interview. I think we’ve covered both what I want to tell you and what I wanted to ask you. I appreciate the opportunity to meet with you.”

  33. Ann O'Nemity*

    It’s easy to overthink this one! Even in Alison’s llama grooming example, a candidate may panic in the moment – should I bring up the llama grooming?? why didn’t they bring up llama grooming if it’s important for the position??

    And sometimes the question is worded in a way that sounds like, “What did we forget to ask you?” and then the candidate has to navigate answering in a way that isn’t critical of the interviewer – e.g. you never asked me about llama grooming, and that seems pretty important for the position.

    1. Joielle*

      Yeah, this was my thought too. Every interview I’ve ever had covered the important parts of the role and my skills and experience related to each – so beyond that, I don’t think I’d have much more to say. I definitely would not think they wanted me to bring up a non-work-related hobby or interest!

  34. Lizianna*

    I’ve been on both sides of the table, so to speak, when this question was asked.

    There have been times when I was asked this question, and I really did feel like the interview had covered the things I wanted to highlight. I either try to just quickly re-emphasize that I’m excited about the position and feel like I would be a good fit (assuming that’s true), or just say something like, “No, I think we covered it earlier, but thanks so much for the opportunity to come in!” with confidence.

    When I think about the times when this question has actually made a difference in my assessment of a candidate, it’s hasn’t been that they didn’t have an answer, it’s either been if the whole interview felt super one-sided, like we had to pry info out of them, and/or it really felt like they weren’t interested in the job or hadn’t prepared for the interview.

    That said, I’m reading a lot of good ideas in the comments about better ways to word this question to get the info I’m actually looking for. So thanks for all the suggestions!

  35. Asheville*

    In her college interview my daughter answered that with “Yes, I can imitate a kukaburra”. The interviewer asked her to show him, she did, and she got in.

    1. Leela*

      That’s what’s freezing so many people at this question I think. Having worked in hiring, there’s a high chance that doing that would make many other interviewers go “what a weird candidate, do they know ANYTHING about professional norms? That’s not what we were asking for…” and candidates are expected to be *professional* which often means being *psychic* and knowing exactly what one particular company likes because they think they’re normal/standard/default etc. It puts candidates in a very awkward position sometimes

  36. Hogwash*

    In the words of George Costanza, “What do you want to hear?” The question is very open ended, so I’d be trying to figure out the intent behind it. Like should I mention I have DEI experience, talk about my technical expertise, or mention that I’m a level 4 bard with no muscle tone and bagpipes of doom? I think simply adding some parameters or qualifiers would make this an easier question to answer.

    1. LW*

      But see, we would love to hear about ALL of that (especially the bagpipes of doom). But that’s academia for you…

      1. Sea Anemone*

        You would love to hear about all of that, but the candidate doesn’t know you would love to hear about all of that. If a candidate doesn’t have a ready answer, I would follow up with some examples. Something along the lines of, “For example, is there a skill that we didn’t get to talk about that you think is relevant to the role, or maybe even something about you, like that you are a level 4 bard with no muscle tone and bagpipes of doom!”

      2. Canadian Librarian #72*

        That’s nice, but I’ve never been in an interview where I could be sure of that. I’m happy to mention my hobbies if asked directly, but I like to keep my personal life personal until I know my coworkers a bit better. I’m quite used to formal panel interviews – I’ve done them for government and academic jobs, some were so formal they emailed me the questions an hour beforehand so I could prepare, while in others I just had a general idea of what they would likely ask – and always prepare questions for the end of the interview to demonstrate interest and get additional info that may not have been covered… but I don’t volunteer information about my personal life, because I have no way of knowing what effect that will have on my interviewers’ impression of me as a professional. I get that you want to get to know your candidates a bit better as rounded human people, but I don’t know that this is the way to go about that.

        (For reference, I’m an academic librarian.)

  37. Michelle Smith*

    I hate this question. If it were up to me, I’d prefer to have the interviewer say: “Do you have any (other) questions for us or want to discuss anything else as we wrap up here?” This would give me an opportunity for a final pitch, if I wanted to make one (I probably don’t) or let you know that I’ve gotten all my questions answered/information out.

    1. LW*

      My snarkiness in response to other comments doesn’t change the fact that this is a much more loaded question than I had understood it to be and we will have to rethink our purpose and our wording.

      1. SnappinTerrapin*

        I haven’t noticed any snark on your part. You seemed gracious in receiving constructive criticism, even if a lot of it was redundant.

        Sometimes we get carried away with our “helpfulness”. Try to find the happy medium between those who overthink and those who get what you intended in your interview question and in your letter to Alison.

  38. anonymous73*

    I find nothing about your question confusing or unclear, but you seem to think that it always requires an answer. In a first interview, I go through the highlights of my career, emphasizing what I think is most important based on the job description. I do have some questions in mind when I start, but a lot of times the interviewer(s) will answer those questions throughout the course of our interview. And unless something they say triggers an experience I’ve had that I feel is relevant to the conversation, I’ve already told you what I thought was important about myself. So if that question comes up, sometimes there really is nothing left to ask or say.

    1. Leela*

      Would you take the question as an opportunity to pitch yourself with things that weren’t already covered by the interview, your cover letter, and resume?

      1. anonymous73*

        I’m not really sure what you’re asking that I haven’t already answered in my original comment. To me, the question is like saying “anything else anyone needs to discuss” when wrapping up a meeting. It’s one last check to make sure someone didn’t forget to bring up something before the meeting ends. If I happen to think of something I forgot to mention that I feel is relevant, then yes I would bring it up. But I’ve already pitched myself within the interview and there’s generally not much more to say.

  39. Khatul Madame*

    This question is perceived as thinly veiled “Tell us about your weaknesses”, hence the candidate stumpage.

    1. Filosofickle*

      See, this is why i love this site. I learn so much about how other people think! If you’d asked me to make a list of all the reasons someone would be stumped by this question, I would have never have come up with this one.

    2. lela*

      that may be your interpretation of it but it’s not a common one, i wouldn’t think. it’s a surprisingly adversarial take on it that i wouldn’t expect most people to share.

      1. ShinyPenny*

        It might not be a common interpretation among *the people you know,* or among *individuals with a background like your own.* But a specific applicant’s personal history might be very different from yours. They might have had more exposure to toxic jobs, or toxic people in general. Maybe watching out for “gotcha” questions is just common sense in their work/life experience..
        It seems worthwhile to edit the wording to avoid the potential misinterpretation, once you become aware of it. Then you’ll come closer to having your question actually do the work you meant for it to do– for *all* your applicants, not just the ones with “life training” similar to your own.
        (“No need for the adversarial interpretation here” is a reoccuring and helpful part of Alison’s advice because a fair number of people don’t spontaniously generate that idea on their own.)

  40. the Viking Diva*

    I use a version of this in interviews for research projects (i.e. not for hiring but for data-gathering in social science research) – “Is there anything you’d like to add or emphasize, or anything we didn’t cover that you’d like to bring up?” Sometimes the answer is no, sometimes it’s a recap of something they think is important (which is useful for me to know), and sometimes a new topic does come up that I’d not thought of. I like it for that reason – opens it up to mental connections that they made along the way.

    1. LW*

      And that’s what we’d hope for. We’ll have to try to figure out some wording that leaves that option to include open without causing discomfort or awkwardness for a “no” answer.

      1. SnappinTerrapin*

        You can make a good faith effort to anticipate potential misunderstandings, but you can’t anticipate every possibility.

        Try to present it as an optional opportunity, and don’t ding them for overthinking.

    2. AnotherLibrarian*

      Yes, but I think inherently a job interview is a place where candidates often feel like there is a “right answer” to every question, unlike a research interview where the stakes often feel lower. Sometimes with very open ended questions, it is super hard for the candidate to know what you are looking for and as a result they panic or freeze up.

  41. oranges*

    In a previous role, I was adjacent to the main team but still invited to participate in their string of interviews. Five people got 10 minutes each. Because I didn’t have to work with them in the same way as the others, I always thought I was softballing by asking, “I’ve read your resume, but what’s not on here? What else should we know about you?”

    As I think about it, it always stumped people in this exact same way as OP! I too was trying to let them talk about interesting or unique things about themselves that wouldn’t have necessarily come up, and they were trying to give me a verbal cover letter. All I wanted to know was are you an expert on Dutch royal jewels? Do you perform in community theatre on the weekends? Just tell me about yooooou.

    I don’t have that role anymore, but I’ll have to do better if I ever find myself in that position again.
    Basically: My goal here is to check vibes. So what are you into?

    1. ecnaseener*

      Yeah, that sounds too vague (and accusatory! What’s not on your resume that we ought to know, you sneak?) If you want to know about hobbies, non-work interests, fun facts, etc, I think you need to say so explicitly.

      1. AnotherLibrarian*

        Yes, I agree. Especially in a first interview- because like, if I thought it was relevant to this job, I would have put it on my resume. Sure, I might have pilot’s license and can fly a small plane, but that’s not really relevant to the Llama Grooming I am interviewing for.

      2. oranges*

        Definitely not accusatory, but I can see how job seekers would think that to hedge their bets.

        I was trying to say, “We’re not going to work together, so I don’t really have questions about that. But we ARE going to sit in the same row and go to the same meetings, so I’d like to know if you’re cool. Let’s have an easy 10 minute chat about something that makes you shine. You pick the topic.”

        But you know, all professional like.

        1. allathian*

          Yes, and this can be fraught for many candidates. I don’t go to work to hang out with cool people. I’m certainly not looking to make friends at work. The important thing for me is that we’re able to work together effectively, and with as little interpersonal friction as possible. I’m friendly and professional with the vast majority of my coworkers, and I reserve coolly professional for those I don’t get along with for one reason or another (a tiny minority, one or two people in an office of 400+ and a nationwide organization of 2,000 employees). There are things I’d much rather not know about my coworkers, because in some things ignorance is bliss.

          I’m wondering why you were on the interview panel if you weren’t going to work with the new hire in some capacity? Surely, it would be in your employer’s best interests to hire the person they consider to be the most competent (including soft skills) for the job, rather than on some vague idea of “coolness”?

        2. BookMom*

          Yikes! I actually really like having some version of the “is there anything else?” question, as both and interviewer and as an interviewee. But feeling like I now need to prove I’m “cool” – which, spoiler, I’m not – makes me uncomfortable. I’m friendly and happy to discuss hobbies, family, vacations, etc with my coworkers once hired, but hiring should be based on ability to do the job. My interests outside of work would reveal my religion and family status. Other people’s might reveal their ethnicity or sexual orientation. My job is highly technical, so a ten minute easy chat on, what, the Code of Federal Regulations or pivot tables?

          1. oranges*

            Shoot, I didn’t mean “cool” that way at all.

            “You’re not an a-hole, right?” is all I’ve ever wanted to know.

    2. irene adler*

      I got that question (“I’ve read your resume, but what’s not on here? What else should we know about you?”) exactly from a VP I was interviewing with. Had already interviewed with almost a dozen employees before this.

      (their strategy was to have EVERYONE interview the candidates as they’d had a bad experience with the prior hire and did not want to repeat it.)

      I folded spectacularly.

      Candidates take the time to put everything they want you to know about them -on the resume. So ecnaseener*’s point about being accusatory is exactly how I took this question.

    3. Leela*

      I definitely would not take “What else should we know about you?” as a request for information along the lines of being an expert on Dutch royal jewels or performing in community theater even if those things were true about me. Even if they were true about me *and* I thought of ways I might be able to fashion those skills into useful skills for the job in question! Companies are all over the place for what they’re after so people usually remain pretty job-focused and conservative with answers in interviews because we have absolutely no idea what you’re open to hearing or what you’re going to think is an idiotic response that could knock us down a point or something

    4. marvin*

      Yeah, that’s a tough one to answer on the candidate side, I think! It sounds nice in theory, but a lot of people are going to be wary of mentioning their political activism or drag queen bingo or ceremonial dancing or caregiver support group because some topics feel fraught or personal even in a social setting, not to mention when your livelihood hangs in the balance.

  42. Snapell*

    I wonder if it would be worth giving a bit of a heads up during the introduction of the interview – let them know you will give them the opportunity to talk about anything that didn’t get covered if they so choose. Then it doesn’t seem so sudden or out of left field.

    1. ecnaseener*

      I like that idea. It would also help the candidate relax throughout the interview, knowing they can just answer the questions and not worry about missing their chance to bring up certain things.

    2. BookMom*

      Love that! As a candidate I would mentally note, “That topic moved on before we discussed X so I’ll bring that up at the end,”

  43. Eliza*

    As a journalist, I always end my interviews with something along these lines — “I think that’s all I need unless there’s anything we didn’t cover that you’d like to add.” Sometimes they do have something really valuable to say that I didn’t think to ask about (and it often becomes the most quotable part of the interview) but a lot of times they say, “Nope, I think we covered it all!” and that’s totally fine, too.

    If I were interviewing a job candidate I’d probably have the same outlook — be pleasantly surprised when a candidate has a good addition but not hold it against them if they are ready to end the interview.

    It seems like OP is expecting that candidates *know* this is an opportunity to make a last pitch for themselves, when in reality, it feels to me like more of a housekeeping question. I wouldn’t read it as them being “stumped” and instead simply that they don’t have anything else they’d like to add.

    1. moonstone*

      I do social science research interviews and second that asking a “do you have anything else to add” at the end is actually good interview practice. Just remember it’s optional!

  44. Ama*

    I was asked a variation on this question in a phone interview recently but the phrasing was “Is there anything that’s not on your resume that you’d like us to know about you?” I like that phrasing because it makes it more clear that they are talking about professional skill or accomplishment. I talked about the fact that I am a quick learner when it comes to technology (the job would have required me to become very familiar with a program I haven’t worked with before) and that I actually enjoy the challenge of digging around in a new piece of software and figuring out what all the various features are for.

    Then again I didn’t advance past the phone interview stage, so maybe I biffed it! (I actually think it’s because we weren’t aligned on salary but who knows.)

  45. Anon for This*

    My final question is usually along the lines of “Why should I hire you, instead of the other applicants?” I think I get the content you are looking for without putting the person being interviewed on the spot to come up with a question of their own.

      1. ecnaseener*

        Agreed, at best this is going to yield the same answer as “what makes you a great fit for this role?” At worst, it’ll either stump the candidate or prompt them to launch into a weird, arrogant sales pitch. And then you’ll only be hiring the weird, arrogant, salesy people.

      2. irene adler*

        Nor do they know the hiring criteria used to size up the candidates. I might tout my vast lab experience and ‘get-er-done’ approach when the employer is more interested in the cultural fit and knowledge of the documentation aspects of the position.

    1. AnotherLibrarian*

      This is a question I utterly hate when I have been asked it and it has made me question if I wanted to work for folks who have asked it. The fact is that I might not be the best applicant. I don’t know who else applied. In fact, I have applied and interviewed for jobs when I do know that someone else applied and, frankly, I think they are great and I would cheer if they got the job instead of me. I am not completing against them. An interview is a chance for the employer and the potential employee to see if they are a match for each other. Not for me to demonstrate why I am better than other applicants, but for me to demonstrate how I am a good fit for the job based on what limited information I have about it.

      1. Anon for This*

        I’m a little surprised at the pushback, because in my experience everyone has understood that this is their opportunity to make their pitch for the job. But I take the feedback to heart, and going forward will just ask “why should I hire you?” Thanks.

        1. Leela*

          I don’t think “why should I hire you” is going to land much better honestly. It’s just a bizarre thing to be asked…you are supposed to be able to tell from the interview why you should hire me for this role, and if you can’t, you’re not interviewing well. If what you’re asking for is me to pitch you random things about myself, ask that directly, not something you’re hoping I will interpret that way.

        2. rubble*

          if someone asked me “why should I hire you?” internally I would be thinking “oh no, nothing I said made sense to them, they tuned out because I took too long to get to the point, they don’t think I’ve interviewed well” and I would probably respond by trying to rephrase all my answers to the previous questions in one answer. I would get extremely flustered, leave a bad impression, and leave the interview thinking I’d failed completely.

          it’s not a helpful question, and neither is the original version you shared in your first comment – it implies either you’re completely uninterested in the candidate and can’t believe you bothered to interview them (“ugh, you get one last chance to make me interested in you as a candidate”) or that you weren’t actually paying attention during the rest of the interview and are now putting the pressure on the candidate to solve that problem by saying everything again but in two sentences instead of a half an hour conversation.

          I don’t know why you should hire me – you’re the one doing the hiring! that’s your job to work out!

        3. SG*

          I would hear that question and lose all enthusiasm for the position, to be honest. “Tell me why you’re worth our time” is what it sounds like to me – which I cannot and will not do.

        4. Sylvan*

          But you’ve already gone through the person’s resume and discussed it with them, right? Only you know why you’re making your specific hiring decisions and whether the person looks like they’re a good choice.

        5. moonstone*

          While marginally better than your original phrasing, “Why should I hire you” sounds very presumptuous and arrogant. You’re already assuming that the candidate wants the job. Remember that interviews are a two way street – the candidate is also assessing the job and company, it’s not just their job to prove their worthiness to you, the hiring manager.

          This type of question “why should I hire you, what makes you better than other candidates” is just outdated. It’s reminiscent of the mid-2000s Recession era when employers had leverage over job candidates and could afford to be arrogant to them.

    2. Phoenix Wright*

      Oh nonono, this would fire my insecurities up to 11! I’d hear this as “You are the worst of all our applicants. Change my mind right now or get lost.” I know that’s on me, but I would seriously hate going through this.

    3. Leela*

      Oooh I really would not ever want to be asked this question (but I have been). Basically what you’re asking is “how good are you at BS-ing on the fly?” and I hate BS. And honestly, no one can answer why they specifically should be hired for a role *you* are hiring for over other people only you have met and gotten the chance to interview.

      And to what it sounds like OP is asking based on the other responses, I would absolutely not think I would answer the question “Why should I hire you, instead of the other applicants” with something like “I’m fluent in Mandarin!” unless the job specifically required it and then I’d be going out of my mind wondering why you didn’t bring it up before this point.

    4. Nanani*

      As others said, the interviewee has no clue about other candidates, so this is probably going to filter for the most pushy self promotors who talk out their behinds based on zero knowledge.
      Is that really what you want?

  46. Lifelong student*

    I just thought of an answer I might give to the open ended question if I were being interviewed. (I’m not and do not anticipate being.) I am a CPA and if someone asked me to tell them something new about myself, I think I would tell them that I do the WSJ and WP crosswords every day- and time myself- and would tell them my Wordle success rate. It would round out my strong areas and show that I am not one-dimensional. Maybe those are the things respondents should do. Of course, it would also show my competitive spirit- but that I compete against my self to improve.

    1. KateM*

      And then you’ll get someone asking (or just wondering, which would probably be worse) “WTH are WSJ and WP and Wordle??”.

      1. allathian*

        Washington Post & Wall Street Journal, I bet. And I’d expect Lifelong student to avoid the abbreviations if they’re speaking.

        OT: Wordle’s fun, but at least I’m not posting my scores on FB, because I’m not on FB…

  47. FJ*

    If I ask that question, I usually add a bit more context around why I’m asking… “I know that candidates sometimes think of something they want to add during the course of the interview but they are cautious of interrupting the flow. This is an opportunity to share anything that may have been percolating in your mind over the last 30-60 minutes. It’s also perfectly fine if you have nothing additional to share. You can always feel free to email me if you think of something after the interview.”

    1. LW*

      This is good. I like the idea of bringing it back to things they may not have gotten a chance to include even though they were thinking about them earlier.

    2. marvin*

      You could also ask it before you get to the candidate’s questions, as a kind of “If you had any additional thoughts that we didn’t get around to talking about, feel free to mention that in addition to your questions for us.” That would be a bit more low key.

    3. Canadian Librarian #72*

      I like that. Something else I like that some interviewers I’ve had have done is basically giving me their agenda for the interview – like, they’ll tell me at the start what the process/sequence will be, which gives me more of an ability to mentally organize my thoughts. For instance:

      – Introductions – interviewers explain who they are
      – Description of the position
      – I give them the Cole’s notes on who I am as a professional and a candidate
      – They ask me a series of questions – situational (“what would you do if”, “tell me about a time” when), knowledge testing (“give us 5 examples of humanities/social sciences databases”), etc.
      – There’s often a technical demonstration where we simulate, in the case of my job, a reference interview
      – Opportunity for me to ask any questions I might have or share any info they didn’t directly ask about but which I think is germane

      This takes a lot of pressure off, in my experience, and I still get to demonstrate my capabilities.

  48. Don't Send Your Kids to Hudson University*

    I would be mindful of the general structure of your interviews when asking this type of question too. I’ve been stumped by something similar after a long day of good and thorough interviewing–there really wasn’t anything we didn’t cover! Is it OK when the interviewee really doesn’t have something so valuable to add that they want it to be the last thing they say about themselves? I have used the space to reiterate very generally why I am excited about the role or think I’m a good fit, but good interviews with prepped candidates don’t always leave much left to be discovered at the end.

  49. MelissaH1982*

    As an interviewee, I hate this question. Maybe because I don’t find myself very skilled or just shy so it’s hard to sell myself. A lot of times, during the course of the interview, I have already sprinkled little tid-bits about myself in the dozen other questions given. ‘since, I am know how to do this, this is how I used it to accomplish that’ or ‘I know this program so I used it for such and such.’ So, but the time it gets to the ‘what else about you’ question, I don’t know what else to say. And that’s what goes in my head: “What else do you want me to say!?” and by that point, I am blank and exhausted.

    I also hate when the manager/interview just asked the questions like they are reading a list. The last 3 interviews were like this. I don’t know where people are getting these ‘interviews should be discussion’ experiences, lol

    1. AnotherLibrarian*

      Unfortunately, at my workplace and many others, per State hiring rules, we have to read the questions and the questions have to be the same for every candidate. It’s a horrible way to interview, and we get to break this model once we get to a second interview, but the first one is always like this and I know it sucks for candidates as much as it sucks for us.

      1. Esmeralda*

        You can, however, ask different follow ups as you go along. I tend to play this role in our interviews: asking candidates to clarify or expand, rewording when it seems they did not understand the question, probing depth of knowledge or skill, that sort of thing. Which can’t be the same every time — some candidates understand they need to be specific about “a time when…” and some do not (especially those earlier in their careers).

        1. Yet Another Librarian*

          I interview people at a library and we cannot ask one candidate a follow up question unless we ask all candidates that exact same question. It is an effort to reduce internal biases in a profession where (in my area at least) the patrons are overwhelmingly persons of color while the library staff is very white. I am not sure how successful that effort is but that is the reasoning behind it. Also, our interview records can be made public by a FOIA request so we have to take steps to show that everyone is treated equitably.

        2. Fellow McToad*

          You can’t. It’s the same for many public school positions as well. As with many (not all!) public sector jobs, it’s really trying to treat everyone equally (and not equitably). On the most basic level it makes sense, but once you put humans into it, it’s very clear that it doesn’t make sense. However, it is what it is and that’s just what it is.

    2. moonstone*

      I do think it’s important to ask the same basic questions to every candidate, but there should be room to ask different follow up questions based on their answers in a conversational manner. You need to be able to compare candidates on the same type of information.

      Unfortunately, without any standardization, there can be discriminatory interview practices where favored candidates get all the easy questions (usually white, male or belonging to some other dominant group) and less favored candidates get grilled with a bunch of obscure trivia and “gotcha” questions, which I know happens.

  50. LisaNeedsBraces*

    To that end, if it really is meant to be a “let’s make sure we didn’t forget to discuss something” question, it’s important to treat “Nothing I can think of” as a valid response. If you take that as the person being unprepared for the interview, then you really are looking for something specific and should ask for that specific thing, such as “What other experiences or skills you would like to highlight?”

  51. Heidi*

    What I’ve found to be the best response to this question is saying “Yes, is there anything else preventing me from moving to the next step of this process?”. Because it’s typically the last question, it closes the conversation with you showing you want the job instead of it deviating to a different topic. It shows you want the job instead of deviating to a different topic.

    1. Nanani*

      That sounds unnecessarily sales-y, always-be-closing tactical silliness. Most of the time the answer will be “our need to finish the rest of the interviews in this round” or something like that anyway.
      Maybe it works in your field? But I doubt it applies widely.

      1. londonedit*

        Yeah, I think if I asked that, I’d get a puzzled look and ‘Er…well, we haven’t finished interviewing everyone yet, so…’. It’d just risk making it look like I didn’t have a clue how the hiring process worked. We’re really not very ‘sell yourself’ in my industry so I think it’d be out of step to do the whole ‘How can I convince you to hire me right now’ thing.

  52. HistoryLady*

    I also generally ask a variation of this question at the end of interviews, and while usually it doesn’t seem to be too much of a curveball, I once had a young man, interviewing for his first job, panic and disclose his sexuality to me. Kindly let him know that would not be a factor in our hiring process, and chortled my way out of the interview. I’ve couched the question a little differently for some of our entry level positions since– some phrasing really must sound like we are asking for a confession!

  53. Language Lover*

    The question is fine. The reaction to “no” is where I think most of the issues are. If there are skills I really want to highlight that are pertinent to the job, I make sure to highlight them in my responses to other questions.

    I also come prepared with questions to ask you.

    I probably wouldn’t have much to say in response to your question. I know you’d be welcome to fun responses but most of the people you interview aren’t going to know that. They’re going to want to keep the response focused on the job if they even have a response.

    One way I used to get to at other skills they might have is by asking if there are skills and hobbies they have that might not be on their resume but they think they could be useful in a workplace. And then I’d give examples of how we’ve used the answer in the past.

    But it’s meant to be a low pressure and fun question. It only stays that way if I accept a “no.”

  54. sofar*

    Personally, I like the question. I use it to see how THEY react to things that are important to me. Answers I’ve given in the past:

    1. It’s important for you to know that I’m always the person to ask the “stupid question.” I always use resources and guides to try to research the answer on my own. But if anything is unclear about a process, I will over communicate and ask questions — and I’m willing to do that during regular checkins, or ad-hoc via Slack. What are the norms here? *Had a potential manager tell me people are expected to solve problems “independently” and seem very surprised.

    2. I’ve thrived both in work environments with a more structured traditional workday and in those where people make their own hours and work across time zones. What’s the norm here, and what are your personal working hours? *I had a potential manager confess they do about three hours of work after the kids go to bed and might need to text me at those times — but that nobody on the team is on before 10 a.m. so sleeping in wouldn’t be a big deal. Glad I knew that!

  55. mcr*

    People saying “no” to the question are answering it correctly. If everything’s covered, it’s covered.

  56. JustAMillenial*

    As an autistic person, it’s a very open-ended question coming from someone I don’t know well enough to guess at what they’re looking for. You may not think there’s a “right” answer, but there’s many, many wrong ones. After an interview, fielding questions in a high stakes social interaction where I know I make a weird first impression, I will likely struggle to narrow down the range of acceptable answers and just want to be done.

    1. Canadian Librarian #72*

      Yes! There’s no one right answer, but there are so many potential wrong ones… it’s an unnecessary complication, I feel.

  57. Dr. Doll*

    Maybe the issue is more mumbling “No, all set” than not having anything to say. If a candidate does that, it leaves a troubling last impression with me. But if someone says cheerfully, “No, this has been a wonderful conversation and I’m really excited about the possibilities. I don’t have anything else to explore at this point,” that’s a good final look.

  58. Lori*

    When I was a hiring manager at a previous company we always phrased this question “ what is something not on your résumé that you would like us to know about you.”

  59. T.*

    I love asking “why should I pick you over anyone else in my stack of resumes” and one manager recently asked “tell me an accomplishment you like to brag about personal or professional that would tell me about you and how you would succeed in the role”.

    1. Metadata minion*

      For the first option, I would understand what you were asking and find something to talk about, but the phrasing really annoys me. I don’t know what makes me stand out from the rest of your candidates! Maybe the slightly unusual skillset I have is something four other people have too, or is something you don’t actually value.

    2. Nanani*

      That first one is awful, unless you’re actively -trying- to find the readiest bullshitter in that stack.
      They don’t know who else is in your stack of resumes! Your job is to figure out who to hire, they can’t read your mind or the future, and they sure as hell can’t give a meaningful comparison to other candidates.

  60. felis*

    As someone who doesn’t have the greatest working memory (meaning: It’s harder to keep a lot of different things in mind at the same time, something that often comes with ADHD for example), this question would stress me out because: 1. I’m already in a stressful situation which means my working memory will probably be even worse, 2. I’ll have to remember everything I already said off the top of my head and 3. then go over everything I prepared and find something that wasn’t discussed yet. So honestly, I would try to gracefully bow out of an answer and would probably be much more comfortable about that, if the question left that avenue clearly open.

  61. ShortT*

    For me, that sort of question is waaay too broad. I don’t know you, so I’d not even know what would be appropriate to tell you about myself. I’d wonder if the question were a veiled request for a confession of sorts, if there were some nuance or hidden meaning that I were missing, etc.. I need communication to be direct, clear, literal, concrete, and specific.

    I’m autistic. Open-endedness is unimaginably stressful. I already have enough trouble navigating unspoken social expectations, unvoiced intentions, unstated instructions, and unsaid expectations. I cannot read between the proverbial lines. I have too many experiences of having my words or tone misinterpreted and, subsequently, being shamed for the gap in understanding.

    1. moonstone*

      I’m not autistic (not diagnosed anyway…), but I’m also not good at knowing what to do in social situations I haven’t pre-learned the social script for. Many inexperienced job candidates don’t know the built-in script for job interviews the way they do for other social situations because they haven’t been to many of them. Like I know that the answer to the open-ended question to “How are you?” is “Fine” – not your entire life story.

      You (LW) need to be more literal in your questions.

  62. LemonLyman*

    Why not just “Is there anything we haven’t addressed that you’d like to share that you feel would make you a good fit for this role?”

  63. Magiggles*

    I use a form of this question, but phrase it in two parts:
    Is there anything not on your resume that you would like me to know?
    What haven’t we talked about that we should?

    I get mixed results, but usually one of those questions elicits more info from the candidate.
    It may help to break up the question to get a different response.

  64. Erwin*

    We use this question. We have had some people tell us things that were very helpful. One candidate was like “I want to be a teacher and I can only do this job for 2 years” and one said “I’m having hip replacement surgery so will need some time off.” Those are the two responses that I remember. I don’t mind at all if someone says “no I think that’s about it” I don’t count that against them at all.

  65. City Gal*

    At one interview, the head of HR who showed up unexpectedly sat down across from me and asked if had any regrets? How do you answer that?! I asked him what he meant and he repeated the question – in a monotone without blinking. I thought I was in a Mel Brooks movie. I said something about having regretted leaving one job – I’m not sure I even made any sense. I found the question rather invasive and – what is the correct answer? I didn’t get the job, thankfully!

  66. James*

    In a lot of cases, if the interview was well structured then “no, we’ve covered everything” is a legitimate answer.

  67. Logic, logic, logic*

    The consensus here is 50/50 hating or liking this kind of question. No matter how its phrased, people are going to interpret it differently and the search for the “right” answer is going to stress some (most) interviewees out. Humans don’t like ambiguity, and this kind of question is not generally expected to be asked in a job interview. Can you translate ABC and XYZ? Tell me about the time when you saved the world? “I have experience in XYZ and one time when the system failed, I fixed it with a paper clip and duct tape.”
    I’m not saying it shouldn’t be asked. It’s like the Kobayashi Maru, there’s no right answer, but whatever your answer is, it’s going to be judged and therein lies the stress.

    1. Aiya*

      Your comment and James’ comment above summarize the problem with this question precisely. The question itself is okay, but it’s not a super common interview question (unlike “tell me about yourself” or “do you have any questions for us about the job or the company”). On top of that, the question is vague enough that it opens doors for ambiguity. Are you looking for some hidden professional talent that the candidate hasn’t had the chance to bring up, or are you looking for their personal hobbies? As a candidate, I would be wondering, “We just spent an hour talking about me and my qualifications. What else could you possibly want to know that’s relevant to the job?”

      Based on your letter, it sounds like you already have some sort of response that you’re expecting from the candidate that leans more towards learning about the candidate’s hobbies and talents. If that’s the case, why not just outright ask it? “Do you have any language skills/experience/personal hobbies that may be relevant for this job that we haven’t discussed?”

      Just keep in mind that if you’re asking this question, especially at the end of an interview where you’ve already thoroughly questioned the candidate, the candidate may genuinely think “No, all of my skills and qualifications have already been discussed. I truly do not have any additional talents to offer.” And you need to be okay with and accepting of this answer, because that is valid too. You shouldn’t think less of a candidate just because they don’t have any hidden talents to present – if these skills were genuinely crucial to the role, you should have asked the candidate as part of the interview anyway.

  68. Green great dragon*

    It sounds a bit tricky – surely the interviewers know what they need to know about, and have asked everything important? I would actually keep it (or one of the reframings) but accept ‘no, nothing else’ as a perfectly legitimate answer. If someone feels they have particularly relevant experience that hasn’t come up, it’s a good opportunity for them. If they feel you’ve brought out their main strengths, and either they’ve already asked questions or would prefer to keep them till they know if they’re through this stage, that is also perfectly fine – don’t mark them down for being “stumped”, just move on as if you haven’t asked the question.

  69. Costume drama lover*

    I feel like sometimes as a candidate, you have indeed covered everything they wanted to bring up. So if the answer is honestly “no,” shouldn’t that be ok? I’m sure they’ll have questions for the interviewer, but “what questions do you have for me” sounds like a different question. I guess they could say something about their quirky hobbies like, “I’m a huge Star Wars fan” or “I enjoy costume drama films,” but when that’s totally irrelevant to the job, it’s hard to know if they should say it unless you specifically mention that you’d love to know about any hobbies outside of work just as a little conversational piece.

  70. Mastadon United*

    Yes as a ND person, the double question is off-putting for me to begin with. It may seem a bit elementary, but try asking only one of those parts of the question. Something else which could be helpful is a bit of explanation- turning it more into a conversational tone… “We always like to make sure we haven’t missed anything. Is there anything you’d like to ask? (And later) Is there anything else you want to mention about yourself?”

  71. My Brain Is Exploding*

    #2 I read the question and thought that you asked a question that was actually about softball. I might need caffeine.

  72. moonstone*

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with asking this, but I think it’s weird you expect an answer every time. It’s nice to give candidates a chance to bring up something they didn’t get around to, but it shouldn’t be required? Also, I also think the candidates’ experience will make a huge difference here. Less experience, entry level candidates, by definition, will have less to talk about than more experiences candidates.

  73. John*

    I think it’s a little unrealistic and inaccurate to say that interviews are or should be like genuine conversations. They’re not. The interviewer(s) has something you, as the interviewee, wants, and they are withholding it until you satisfy them that you have earned it. Maybe it’s more complex than that, but there is a clear power differential. I had one interview where the interviewer wanted it to be a conversation, and I came away from it thinking that they learned very little about me as a candidate. This is one situation where the standard framework makes sense: about 80% them asking you detailed and well-chosen questions, and about 20% you asking them about the job, project, company, etc. I think it’s a little harmful and misleading to say that interviews ought to be genuine conversations.

  74. Knitting Panda*

    I’d love to flip it to the interviewers and ask them the same question. Is there anything else I should know about the job or company that I haven’t asked?

  75. MCMonkeyBean*

    I don’t think you need to pull the question, but I would recommend reconsidering what you are looking for as a response. I don’t understand why you are so sure that a prepared candidate *has* to have questions you haven’t covered! I mean, should your interviewers also be prepared and then if they are would it not be possible they really have covered everything a lot of people would want to know?

    Personally, I usually only have a few questions for the initial interview and often they really are covered by all the previous discussion! I might end up with more questions after having had time to process the interview but I’m not likely to have a lot of followups on the spot.

    I think it is a good question to ask to offer people to chance to talk about more *if they want to* but I’m not sure why “No, we really have already covered everything I wanted to” is inherently a “wrong” answer.

  76. MCMonkeyBean*

    Also–just a note on the idea that this should be an easy question because they can say literally whatever they want (except apparently “no, I’m good.”). That’s actually much harder than asking for something specific!

    I played a game with friends once called Anomia that involves trying to name something in a given category faster than everyone else. But there are some wild cards–and (though I think they were playing with house rules different than the official ones) with those you could say literally *anything at all* to win the card and yet that’s actually when people tended to freeze up the most!

  77. CS*

    What kind of role are you hiring for where you see this trend? My guess is that they’re entry level positions where candidates haven’t had much experience interviewing. If that’s the case, nothing to worry about.

  78. SB*

    This may have been pointed out already, I’m not reading 300+ comments, but one thing I learned in grad school from a linguistics professor who was a discourse analyst was that an “any” question subconsciously prompts the responder to give a “no” answer. The question asker may very well want them to say “yes”! But because of the way “any” is used in English, people associate it with negatives. Here’s an example of why:

    “I don’t have any questions.”
    “I do have any questions.”

    Which of those is grammatically correct? The negative one. The association between “any” and “negative” is strong even if you don’t consciously realize it.

    I’ve encouraged my team to remind me to rephrase if I forget and ask them if they have any questions, or if I otherwise use the “any” word when asking open-ended questions, because I’m subconciously priming them to say “no.”

    Instead, I’ve tried to encourage everyone to use the word “what”, because that prompts for a positive answer. “What” presupposes there is something. “What would you like to ask us?” or “What would you like to tell us about yourself that we haven’t already covered?” may still fluster an interviewee (and I might flub it myself simply for not having anything prepared), but at least won’t subconsciously nudge them toward “no.”

  79. McS*

    It doesn’t sound like they are stumped; it sounds like they are answering the question you asked. The way you have phrased the question, “no, we have covered everything” is a complete response. You’re asking a yes or no question. Be OK when the answer is no. Expecting something else is a big red flag for a manager who can’t clearly set and communicate expectations.

  80. Lynn Marie*

    I’ve always experienced this as a trick question and red flag about the company. Not only am I supposed to be prepared for all questions that might come up, I’m also supposed to be prepared for all questions that might not come up. Nope. I’m not gonna live my working life that way.

  81. Weekend Llama Potter*

    For me when I read this question I see these two pieces:

    “Is there anything we haven’t asked or talked about” = maybe it’s a trap! also, what did they ask me? what should they have asked me? which leads to brain loading signal while I try to parse it out.

    “about you that you’d like us to know about you” = no thank you, i dont need to you know anything/anymore personal stuff about me. unless we actually click I don’t need to get into how I love doing weekend llama pottery. hire me and then we can chit chat about hobbies. that’s just me coming from being a private person, aka doors slamming shut at the mention of this question.
    (and I would possibly be in the group of wondering/ending up in a too early disclosure about something.)

    both of these would lead me to default to say “nope” from confusion/wanting to get out of there/brain probably tired.

    The piece I would like to add is that whatever version of this question you land on should be included in your list of questions so that the candidates are prepared and not surprised. Also, as an interviewee I would appreciate (even if I knew it was the next question) if it was posed to me and then you could indicate you’re going to finish up a few notes while I take a minute to think. I usually have time after an interview to go “oh, shoot I should have said x,y,z!” so I like that that there is an option to bring up stuff at the end but I need to have a second to kind of collect myself and realize what I may have missed or still want to pitch. Knowing that I have this option based on the pre provided question list would make me feel more relaxed and giving me a second before I answer helps me collect my thoughts and answer it in the best way possible.

  82. Autistic Adult*

    If I were asked that question, or any variation thereof, in an interview, my interpretation would be that they wanted one of four things. Is there some black mark in my record that they might find in checking my references, that I need to inform them about and explain? Is there something in my personal life that might impact how I am able to do the job should I get it? Is there something relevant to the job that would make me a better candidate that they haven’t already asked? Is there something about the position or the company that they haven’t been clear enough about? If the answers to all of these questions is “no,” then I would answer “no.” I mean, I suppose I could make up some bullshit question I didn’t care about just to have something to say, but why would I want to prolong an interview? It’s a hellishly stressful situation! It would never occur to me to use such a question as an opportunity to share personal details.

    Also, an interviewer asking about personal details that late in the interview (as opposed to earlier in a “getting to know you/icebreaker” stage of the conversation) might actually be a red flag to me depending on how the interview has gone up to that point. Which personal details are “interesting and help you stand out in a positive way” vs. “strange and slightly offputting” can vary wildly depending on race, class, culture, religion, sexuality, neurotype, physical ability, and personal history. Anyone who is even slightly different from the dominant culture is going to have a ton of quick judgment calls to make about which parts of themselves an interviewer will like vs. not like. Many organizations (both corporate and non-profit) actually care more about “fitting in to the office culture” i.e. being the Right Sort of Person than they do about how well the job gets done. Questions about personal life and hobbies are more common from the “have to fit in” places–and I’m not what such places generally consider the Right Sort of Person even though I’m very good at my job.

    It’s one example of how our job search process is skewed so that “can you interview well and make the interviewer like you” is often far more important to getting a job than “how well can you do the job they’re trying to fill.”

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