If you are preparing for a job interview, you will come across standard questions that might ask why you think you are well suited for a certain company or a certain position. Numerous articles deal with these questions and let you know how to best answer these questions. If you want to ace your interview, you also have to be prepared for unprecedented questions that might stump you if you are not quick on your feet. One of these questions is, “If You Were An Animal, What Would You Be?”
This is not a common question, but it is not a very rare question to be asked in interviews either. If you think this question to be easy where you can just say the name of your favorite animal and be done with it, you might need to rethink your approach. Like all interview questions, you can better answer them if you are prepared beforehand. Remember that you are sitting for a job interview and that your answer is being judged by an interviewer who decides if you get hired or not.
The key to answering this question is to give a unique answer which is also relevant to the position you are applying for. Even if it does not specifically correspond to your job responsibility, the answer you give should relate well to a professional atmosphere. This question might seem unrelated, but seeing from the employer’s perspective, they want to see how spontaneous you are with your answers. While a good answer would make a good impression, an ill-suited answer can cost you a coveted job.
You can prepare for this question beforehand, but in case you find yourself blanking, consider specific points that will help you in answering this question. These are as follows:
- Think about an answer related to the position you are applying for.
- Do not refuse to answer by saying you do not want to choose.
- Refrain from choosing animals with notorious images.
- Be ready with a justification of why you chose a particular animal. Do not describe the negative qualities of the animal.
- Connect the characteristics of the animal with yourself and also with the job responsibilities.
- Do not be subjective as to how a certain animal is your favorite.
- Be brief but cover all points.
After you have considered these pointers, you are well-equipped to tackle this question on your own. In case you require some inspiration, the following are some animals you can pick as an answer to this question.
Ants are universally known to be hardworking. Technically an insect, if the interviewer does not go into specifics, you can claim that you would want to be an ant because of its dedication and determination towards whatever it sets its mind to do. Immensely strong for their size, ants work together. If you want to show that you are capable of taking up responsibility but are also a team player, explain to the interviewer why you chose an ant and how it might benefit the company.
Elephants are majestic animals. They are loyal to their herd, friendly, and highly intelligent. If you are looking for a leadership role, you can say that you would like to be an elephant. Since elephant herds are matriarchal, this answer might work better for you if you are a woman. Elephants are not overtly social, but they are receptive to change in the environment, protective of their herd, and nurturing to all elephants in their herd. Inherently peace-loving animals, these animals are also known to show their strength only when and if needed.
Horses work well on their own. They are famous hard workers and also very graceful in their movements. If you want to assert your individuality with your answer, consider saying you would be a horse if you were an animal. Horses work well with a group, but they also work well individually, showing the kind of well-rounded personality employers usually seeks for candidates.
Dogs are social animals. Truly the man’s best friend, the implied quality one might understand is loyalty. It is a good choice to choose a dog if you are an extrovert and do not mind socializing. It puts you in a position of working on team projects, probably even leading them in the future. A dog is not an animal that will immediately come to mind but it is not an uncommon answer either. Make sure you relate your personality to the animal’s characteristics to better justify your choice.
A new study has described giraffes as just as smart and dedicated as elephants are. Initially considered to be only fun-loving, giraffes are intelligent creatures. Generally speaking, you can say that you have foresight which allows you to observe and anticipate things in advance. You can also say that you always keep your head up and are confident in your decisions. Since this might come off as over-confident, you can finish your answer by saying that giraffes are gentle and loving, always respectful of boundaries.
The idea of choosing an octopus would have something to do with its eight hands. Simply speaking, it will be a great answer if the dominant quality you are going for is multitasking. Many job responsibilities often require more than just a couple of duties you need to fulfill as you work. Your ability to juggle all of these would be showcased via your answer. Octopuses are also extremely intelligent and resourceful. If you want to show your commitment to the prospective position by explaining how detail-oriented you are, choosing an octopus would be a good choice.
Mouses are extremely dedicated to thriving in the most adverse situations. Survivalists, use the most resourceful of solutions to access food and shelter. They are perceptible to danger and also very well adapt to their surroundings, no matter how difficult they may be. If you are good at adapting to whatever situation comes up in front of you, consider saying that you would want to be a mouse.
Much like dogs, dolphins are sociable mammals. These creatures love to have fun and are joyful when they are around others of their kind or with humans. Choose this option if you are sociable and like interacting with others daily. In case you are applying for a position where you would have to constantly interact with clients, choosing a dolphin is a great idea.
Not many people know about the elk. One of the largest members of the deer family, elks are great observers. If you are applying for a sales job or even a leadership position, observing your surroundings to see if everything is up to date is a great quality to have.
Elks also keenly sense in case a threat is lurking nearby. Understanding the surroundings and responding effectively is one of the best qualities you can have as an employee. It not only benefits you as an individual but also the company for which you would be working.
Technically speaking, an eagle is not an animal. Have a backup option in case the interviewer points this discrepancy out. Most probably they won’t, especially since you would be explaining why you chose eagle. Eagles are great predators because of their keen sight, agility, and ability to assert individuality. Any predator is good at being patient, waiting for the right moment before striking.
You can cite how patience is a virtue you possess and how you wait and see where the current is flowing instead of making a rash decision. Eagles are independent creatures so they make for an ideal answer for a job with leadership responsibilities. In case the job requires you to work in a team, refrain from saying eagles it might say that you are averse to working well with others.
Everyone has heard of the phrase, ‘As busy as a bee.’ A bee is not only a hard worker but also a highly focussed creature. It works on making honey without bothering anyone. The bee is a committed creature but also possesses the ability to defend itself in case the situation demands it.
Beavers are known for their hard work and solid approach. Beavers make dams on rivers that hold against the flow of water. While this would be a brilliant answer for a construction job, you can say you want to be a beaver in any position if you feel that hard work is an immensely valued quality in the company you are applying to. Beavers work the entire year to construct some of the best dams known in nature. It shows your commitment to the company even when things are not going very well.
This might seem very unconventional to say in response to this question. Since butterflies are insects, consider rephrasing your answer that you’d rather be a butterfly than any animal because its presence is a testimony to growth. The butterfly was once a caterpillar that cocoons to work on itself and emerged triumphant as a beautiful butterfly. If you are applying for a position that allows you to explore new opportunities related to your career, you can give this answer by reasoning that you work hard to rise to any opportunity that comes your way.
Monkeys are more than just copy-cats. Do not mention the copy-cat part though. They are resourceful and very smart. Present a problem to a monkey and give it an incentive to work for the solution. You will find the problem surely solved. If you are an out-of-the-box thinker and a resourceful person, consider saying you would want to be a monkey. They are also very sociable and team players but also have their individuality intact.
What Not to Say in the Answer
Refrain from using names of animals that are known for their bad qualities. For example, you would not want today a jackal or hyena. There are some animals you might relate to but they do not match up the job profile you are applying for. Restrain from saying that and go with an answer that suits the job duties better.
- Spider: No one wants a web of deception woven by their employees.
- Jellyfish: It might look ethereal but the sting of jellyfish hurts a lot, definitely not a quality anyone is looking for in a potential employee.
- Snake: Snakes by definition are not creatures anyone would want to identify with. Refrain from picking these reptiles associated with dishonesty and betrayal.
- Sloth: Sloths are very lazy and not the animals whose names you would want to take in a job interview.
- Turtles: Slow and steady wins the race but no one has got that kind of patience in a corporate setup when results need to be seen on time. It might be good to portray yourself as cautious but saying you are slow like a turtle isn’t going to help your case.
The employer is not looking for the technicalities of your answer. What the interviewer wants to see is your perspective and your approach to challenges you might face in the workplace. Rather than giving an answer which is out of touch with how you feel, consider choosing an animal you can relate to and whose characteristics are better suited for the job you are applying for.
Target qualities include a hardworking persona, an intelligent approach, a resourceful attitude, and an observant perspective. There might also be the chance that one might say they would like to be different animals at different times, owing to their capabilities that will be better suited to different conditions. In such cases, refrain from naming too many animals as it would give away the spontaneous element of your answer and your response would look pre-prepared and ingenuine. The answer to this question depends on your point of view and your approach towards the job you are applying for.