Why do interviewers ask strange questions like, “What animal would you like to be?” or “What animal do you identify with?” They want to undo your game and get honest answers (they know you’ve practiced good answers to difficult interview questions) and they really want to see your personality and thought process. Hiring you is a risk, and they want to make sure you make the right decision.
There is no such thing as being overly prepared for a job interview, and that includes being prepared for questions like which animal you identify with. It is actually a very good pre-interview exercise to think about the qualities needed to do a job well, as it can help focus your thoughts on how to best answer all of the interview questions.
All job interview answers should relate to your ability to do the job, so when you think of an animal, think about the qualities or functions that can be attributed to it that would be important for that job. Keep your answer simple and brief. Name the animal, and then you will give one or two qualities that are seen in both the animal and you. (Don’t let them draw their own conclusions.)
Here are nine animals to choose from:
- Horse: they are strong, intelligent, fast-moving animals that work very well alone or as part of a team.
- Ant: Ants are the toughest workers and team players. They can be good for jobs that require repetitive work, but they are also known for planning ahead. Remember the fable of the cicada and the ant.
- Monkey: Monkeys are energetic and quick learners.
- Chimpanzee: Chimpanzees are famous for their intelligence and group dynamics. They work well in groups, they are team players, they are intelligent, and they are socially sensitive (which translates to emotional intelligence).
- Elephant: Elephants are strong, intelligent (they have a great memory), and group oriented. They are also strong and unstoppable.
- Dog: Man’s best friend is best known for his extreme loyalty and protective spirit. A dog can be a good fit for someone in a support role.
- Dolphin: Dolphins are super smart and intuitive and can be a good example to solve problems.
- Eagle: Be careful with this one. An eagle could be good if you are in sales or in a leadership position, because you can tell that they are aggressive hunters, or that you can see the big picture from up there, but an eagle could be viewed as negative if you are interviewing for a job. you need a team player.
- Lion: Lions are great for leadership roles. They are strong leaders.
What animals should you stay away from? Any animal that has negative qualities associated with it.
- Cat: Cats are independent, but they are also known for nothing in return, as long as they get what they want.
- Whale: Personally, I really like whales, but when associated with personality, people tend to think of fat, bloated, or slow.
- Snake: Snakes are elusive and fear-inspiring, maybe a great trait for a mob boss or drug dealer, but not for you.
- Spider: do you set traps and wait for your prey to get stuck to eat it alive? Excellent.
- Pig: You may love pigs, but they are commonly known for being lazy and messy.
- Cow: Cows are slow and vulnerable.
- Chicken: Chickens are not intelligent animals.
- Fox: Foxes are smart but cunning. Ask the chickens …
A fun way to end your answer to the questions “What animal would you like to be?” or “What animal do you identify with?” is to ask them what their animal would be. It could give you an idea of the personality of your potential future boss.