You’re interviewing for a job and the hiring manager asks you this rather strange question, "If you were an animal, which animal would you be?"
How should you respond?
This type of question, while it can offer insight into you as the candidate if you’re prepared enough to articulate the relationship intelligently, is often more about gaining insight into how you think and handle “outside the box” situations. Asking a question like this will allow an interviewer to see how you maintain composure, think through a problem, quickly create a viable solution, and deal with stress.
These questions were quite popular for a while - especially since Google was using them – but they are starting to fall out of favor. To prepare yourself to deal with this type of question, just put some thought into how you would answer such a question if posed.
It is as simple as thinking of the necessary qualities for the position, as well as your fit for the position, like your personality, background, experience, and skills. The animal itself isn’t important, but the traits associated (presented) with the animal should positively relate to the position showing that you can perform the job well.
The answer should be brief and a bit light-hearted while directly addressing the question at hand. While you shouldn’t take this too seriously, it’s not something you should blow off either. Simply name an animal, explain why it fits you, and then provide one or two qualities you share with the animal.
A great example of this is a dog because they are generally thought of as loyal, trainable (quick learner, able to apply new learning effectively), friendly (open, approachable, easy going), protective (“guard corporate secrets”), or a person’s best friend (able to build strong relationships).
For further reading: "Top Oddball Interview Questions of 2015" from Glassdoor.
Tanya White-Earnest manages Trident's Career Advising & Development Center. Tanya has over 20 years’ experience in Workforce Education, Training and Development, HR and Career Development. Both her undergrad and grad degrees are in Education, focusing on Training and Performance Improvement. She also has extensive experience working with transitioning military members and was a certified Transition Assistance Program Facilitator.