It is becoming increasingly common for interviewers to throw in some unusual questions during interviews rather than sticking to the tried-and-true. This could be for a number of reasons: they want to see if you can think on your feet, can think creatively, can say something illuminating about yourself – and possibly demonstrate a sense of humour.
This can take the form of a question such as ‘If you were an animal, what would you be?’ Variations of this kind of question could include ‘If you were a fruit, what would it be?’ or even ‘If you were a breakfast cereal, what would it be?’
There is obviously no right answer to questions like these, nor can you plan for them – but this is your chance to be creative and really impress with your inventiveness. What is required is for you to think fast, not get flustered, and try to think of something that you think represents your best attributes.
For example, when it comes to animals, do you exhibit the loyalty and friendliness of man’s best friend, the solid work ethic of an ox, the industriousness of a beaver or the cleverness and sociability of a chimp? If you’re going for a job as an editor, perhaps you have the acute eyesight of an eagle, able to swoop in on the smallest spelling or typographical error while also keeping your eye on the big picture from above. Whatever your choice, try to choose an animal with generally positive connotations.
When it comes to fruit, almost anything will do as long as you can give a good reason for it. You can choose a fruit that goes well in fruit salad to show that you’re a team player and get along with others; or a banana, which is versatile, transportable and has substance. Or for something a bit different, how about a tomato, which crosses the line between fruit and vegetable, is highly versatile and can be eaten raw or cooked – all demonstrating flexibility and transferability of skills? If you’re going for a job in sales where oversensitivity is not an asset, perhaps you could liken yourself to a rockmelon – which has a thick skin!
Remember, there is no right answer to these sorts of questions – it’s all about trying to see your thought processes, how you handle being put on the spot and your ability to be a little creative. Try to tailor your answer to the specific job – for example, don’t say you have the independence of a cat if you’re going for a job where being a team player is important – but try not to overthink it and just have fun with it!