When you head for an interview, you expect your hiring manager or prospective employer to ask you specific questions. Most of these questions are related to your educational qualifications and professional background.
However, there are cases when the employer might ask you specific unconventional questions. You might find them odd at first, but there is an excellent reason for doing so.
One such question is, “What animal would you want to be and why?”
This question is sure to remind you of your kindergarten days when you had to play dress up and go to school as your favorite animal for a fancy dress competition! There is much more at stake now than a school prize.
Employers are very particular when they ask candidates specific questions during the interview. You should be prepared for any of them, no matter how unconventional they might feel.
Why Do Hiring Managers want to know, “Which Animal You Would Like to Be and Why?”
Employers know what they are doing, and hence, when they ask you this question, these are some of the reasons behind it.
1. Assessing your Personality
When your employers ask you this question, it is not just about trying to find out which animal you like. They would have nothing to gain from your preference for animals as that will not help them decide.
Instead, they would like to know which traits and qualities in the animal drew you to them, and it presents a clear picture of your personality.
Animals are known for their qualities and attributes. It reveals what kind of person you are when you want to be that particular animal because of those traits.
2. Assessing Creativity
Answering such a question right out of the bat definitely requires some creativity, and you also need to think on your feet. Although this question seems light-hearted, you should not take it lightly.
It will signify that you can come up with creative solutions for unusual problems as well. By answering the question correctly, you will be able to show your analytical skills, which will undoubtedly earn you extra points.
3. Assessing Responsiveness
Most of the time, applicants often feel at a loss of words when they are faced with this question. They are unsure about what to say. Coupled with the nervousness of appearing for an interview, they often fumble and give a half-hearted answer.
How you react in the face of an unconventional question gives the employers an idea about how you are going to react when faced with an unusual scenario at work. The question helps them evaluate your independence and problem-solving techniques in the face of a unique scenario.
Variation of “What Animal Would You Want to be and Why?”
The first step in answering this question is to understand the various ways in which this question might be placed before you. That would help you come up with the correct answer no matter how the question is framed, and you would not have to worry about getting it right. Here are some of the questions you may expect:
- Which animal would you like the most and why?
- Which animal do you identify with the most and why?
- Which animal do you think resembles your personality?
- If you had a chance to turn into any animal, which one would be it and why?
In all these questions, the answer would more or less be the same. You have to adjust the wording of your response to address the exact variation of the question.
How to Answer the Question, “What Animal Would you Want to be and Why?”
While answering this question, you need to prepare yourself well. Most of the time, applicants focus on the questions directly related to their jobs, like what they have achieved so far in their careers but forget to prepare for the unconventional ones. Here is how you can prepare.
1. Create a List of Your Own Traits
Since the purpose of the question is to assess your personality traits, you should take this opportunity to go all out to impress your recruiters. To do so, you first need to make a list of your own positive traits.
Think about yourself and come with characteristics you are proud of. It could be resourcefulness, honesty, loyalty, or leadership qualities. You should also take into account your future goals and how these traits will help you reach them.
Next, think of animals that you believe to possess these traits. Animals that are clever and are known for their resourcefulness, or animals that are loyal and stick together no matter what, something that you would do for your company.
This would help you zero in on some of the animals. You could also ask your friends and colleagues what they think of you and get clues from their answers.
Bonus Read: Answering ”What are Your Career Goals?” In an Interview | Tips & Example
2. Reading the Job Description Thoroughly
It is essential that you read the job description thoroughly and minutely because they often reveal what the employers are looking for. If they are looking for any specific traits, you can choose animals to mention that have those traits and something you believe in.
Remember not to name an animal to please your employer during the interview. Because once you have landed the job and your employer does not notice those traits in you, it might put your entire interview into question.
3. Being Confident while Answering
Because of the light-hearted nature of the question, many candidates answer this question too casually, and it gives off the impression that they do not take this question seriously.
You are, of course, allowed to bring in some humor while answering this question. Still, it would be best if you were as polite and professional as you were while answering the other questions.
Be confident and leave some room for introspection if the interviewer asks you a follow-up question regarding your traits, depending on your answer.
4. Choosing the Right Animal
Most importantly, it is vital to choose the right animal while answering the question. One thing to remember here is that it is not always necessary to choose real animals. Suppose you have something for fictional animals like unicorns, dragons, or phoenixes. You can name them, too, provided you possess the qualities they are representative of.
Also, you may have to rely heavily on symbolism when you answer this question. And for that matter, it would be best if you do some research on the animals you are trying to name. This will help you go beyond the apparent traits, and you will be able to highlight some other crucial traits that are not widely known.
For example, cats are known for having outstanding balance, but they are also inquisitive animals. Tigers and lions are known for their strength but are also very possessive and have a lot of stealth. And since they are known to be pack leaders, you could name them if you are applying for a leadership or managerial role.
5. Use of Humor
As mentioned earlier, you can bring in some humor while answering the question. This would be one of the few instances where you will be able to do so. But, you still need to keep your voice polite and respectful. Meanwhile, you can throw in a joke or two about how you are scared of certain animals, but you still like them for certain qualities, and then go on to name them.
However, keep the humor short and only use it when you are sure it is going to invoke a cheerful smile or two from the recruiters. Suppose you feel that the atmosphere during the interview is too formal. In that case, you may answer the question in a straightforward manner.
6. Do Not Ambiguous
When you are asked which animal would you prefer to be and why, in all likelihood, the recruiters are looking for one answer. Hence, do not try to name too many animals because it will show that you are confused.
You could, at most, name two animals, explaining these two animals are your favorites for their individual characteristics, and you identify with both of them for the said reasons. You could be any one of them.
This would give the impression that you are sure about what you are talking about and know where to draw the line, having done your research on different animals.
Answering the question of which animal you would be and why can change how the recruiter looks at you as a potential employee. More than the regular questions about your educational and professional qualifications, questions like these can often tip the scale in your favor.
Remember not to make your answer about a study in animal behavior! You may take a moment or two to think about the question as well, but it is better not to mention traits that are entirely removed from the traits that might be required for the role you have applied for.
However, this is one of the best ways to win over your employers, and you will surely do well with the interview.