Transformative resume building and interview coaching for college seniors

Are You Who You Say You Are?

Helen Koster

Last month I wrote that there is “…the ultimate question every interviewer wants answered, but doesn’t outright ask.”

What’s the question that every interviewer has in mind?

“Are you who you say you are?”


It’s often easy enough to determine if the skill set the organization needs and yours is pretty well matched.

Your interviewer might have the very same skills or someone in the organizations does and you may be asked to speak with them and there is always a reference check.

Your subject matter knowledge of the industry or discipline you are being interviewed for comes out in conversation.

The answer to the less tangible part of that question is not as easy to identify.   The interviewer asks a variety of different questions to discover if you are who you say you are.

Working who you are into your resume goes a long way in providing the interviewer with the confidence that you are who you say you are!

What’s the question every interviewer has in mind?

Are you who you say you are?

How do you do that? Here are a few simple questions I ask when developing a resume.

A student listed a job on his resume as a “runner and expediter” for a restaurant.

Question: “What was important to you about that summer job when you were a runner and expediter?”

Student answer: “Giving the customer the best experience possible.”    


Question: “How did you do that?”

Student answer: “I tried to provide a seamless experience by running food at the right time so people felt they were being well taken care of.”


Question: “What else was important to you?”

Student answer: “I wanted to be sure I was contributing.”


Question: “What did you do to accomplish that?”

Student answer: “I coordinated with the wait staff. I saw that I could be helpful to them in other ways. I poured water and eventually was able to respond to some customer requests without referring it through the wait staff.”


Question: “Are there any other ways you measure your success at the restaurant?”

Student answer: “Most of the time I could turn 300 guests over in a 6-hour shift.”

This student’s initial bullet as a restaurant runner and expediter turned into three bullets where he was able to both qualify and quantify his work:

  • Created a seamless customer experience by running food in coordination with the wait staff.
  • Cleared and cleaned tables, poured drinks, met random customer requests, and performed closing duties.
  • Consistently able to serve 300 guests in a 6-hour shift.


Being able to confidently say “ I think of myself as a productive team player and very customer-centered” is one thing. Being able to demonstrate it in your resume is another thing. Both are required in order to answer the unspoken question Are you who you really say you are?”

I hope these questions will help you as you begin to develop your resume.