If you could be an animal, what would you be and why?
Some hiring managers really like these oddball interview questions. Some think it’s going to reveal more about your character, and others just want to know what you act like when you’re under stress or thrown a curve ball. Questions like these do reveal your thought process and offer you a chance to show off your creativity and inventiveness.
As in all job interview situations, your best bet is to be prepared for anything. Thinking long and hard about the qualities that are necessary to do a job well is actually an excellent exercise to go through before an interview, because it can help you focus your thoughts for how to answer all the interview questions you’ll be asked.
How does your personality, your background, your experience, or your skill set meet or exceed what this job requires?
For this particular question, it doesn’t matter a lot what animal you choose, as long as you can tie it into qualities necessary to perform the job well. Although I would generally stay away from animals that have negative associations, like snakes, hyenas, rats, or chickens. Or spiders.
How to Approach the Animal Question
What are the personality traits that are desirable for someone who’s going to fill this role?
Just smile and keep your answer simple and brief. Name the animal, and then explain why. Give one or two qualities that you see in that animal that also describe you.
- I have a friend who says you should always try to be like an eagle, which is great if you’re a CEO, but that’s a bad animal to be if you need to be a team player.
- A horse is really strong…able to function alone well or as part of a team.
- Ants are hard workers, and the ultimate team player.
- Monkeys are quick learners.
- An elephant is strong, intelligent, loyal to the group, and unstoppable.
- A dolphin is also intelligent, and actually considered one of the smartest animals.
- Dogs are seen as Man’s Best Friend, so might be good for someone in a support role. With a dog, you get loyalty and friendliness. Also protectiveness, but that’s probably only required for bodyguards. (Sorry, cat lovers. A cat’s independence might appeal to you, but they have a bad reputation for not giving a darn about you as long as you’re feeding it. That says, “I’m just here to collect my paycheck.”)
A fun way to end this discussion is to say, “What animal did you choose when they asked you this question in your interview?”
****Make sure you check out our blog series on How to Answer Interview Questions.