2. “If you could be an animal, which animal would you be and why?”
In asking this strange question (or one like it), your interviewer has a specific objective. They aren’t looking for a particular answer as much as they’re testing you to see how fast and well you think on your feet.
From this perspective, the answer you give is of secondary importance. Likening yourself to a powerful eagle, cunning fox, or lordly lion matters to the interviewer less than the poise and confidence with which you respond.
1. “Do you have any questions for us?”
You may have heard that you should always have at least a couple of questions ready for the interviewer. It’s true. Doing so shows that you are prepared, engaged, and excited about the opportunity.
In some cases, the questions you prepared will be answered spontaneously as the interview progresses. Avoid repeating them if this occurs. Instead, prepare a longer list of potential questions and draw on your backups. The “Questions to Ask Yourself” section below doubles as a source of inspiration for queries you can ask the interviewer when given the opportunity.
Questions to Ask Yourself
During a job interview, you are also screening the employer for a potential match just as much as they are screening you. With this in mind, there are several critical questions you should ask yourself leading up to, during, and after the interview. These include:
- If I get this job, how am I likely to feel each weekday morning when it’s time to wake up and go to work?
- Is this job more of a short-term fix or a path to a long-term career?
- Do I believe in the company and its mission?
- Is this a job I can be proud of?
- What will my commute be like, and can I live with it day in and day out?
One new question that has cropped up in the past 18 months that we also recommend asking is this one: “How did your company respond to the Covid-19 pandemic?” This will let you evaluate whether how much they value their employee’s health and overall well-being. Look for things like allowing work from home, paid sick leave, or increased insurance benefits to cover testing. A lot of companies like to proclaim “we’re a family!” Ask this question to find out which ones actually acted like it when it mattered the most.
Evaluating these aspects of the employment opportunity will help you be ready to respond to a job offer, should you receive one. Doing so will also inform your approach to salary negotiations. Figuring out the money will mark the next critical step in your employment journey, should things reach that stage. Good luck, and don’t worry — you’ll ace it.