“What Animal Would You Be?” Job Interview Question [How to Answer]

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Job interviews can be nerve-wracking, especially when you really want a specific position. If you want to do well in an interview, you want to put your best foot forward. The “what animal would you be” interview question presents an opportunity to showcase your creativity, uniqueness, and social skills.

To answer “What Animal Would You Be?” you must mention a relatively neutral animal, present an interesting fact about it, and associate yourself with the fact. The less obvious an animal, the better your answer is received. And the more unique your rationale, the more positive is your impression.

In this article, you will learn three key strategies to answer the “what kind of animal would you be” interview questions, including “what animal are you?” and “what animal would you like to be?” More importantly, you will discover why these questions are asked and what the company is hoping to find in your answer. Finally, you will see sample answers to the question and receive a roadmap to create your unique answer to this interesting question.

Why Companies Ask This Question

Companies ask you about the kind of animal you would be to understand how you approach an unconventional problem. Since this is not a question, people often get informal settings. They’re caught unprepared. However, that’s not a problem because the question works only when one is unprepared. It pushes one into coming up with an answer on the spot, which exposes the following things:

  • How quick-witted one is
  • Whether one prefers to take a long time and give a good answer or fill the silence with a half-baked answer
  • How prepared a candidate is

What Interviewers Are Trying to Learn About You

The interviewer is trying to learn, first and foremost, whether you’re prepared or not. If you come up with a perfectly polished answer on the spot, they know that you did your research, which is a feather in your cap. If you are surprised, the interviewer is glad because now they get to see the real you in action. They observe how you react to being thrown a curveball question.

The worst thing one can do is to fill the silence without much thought or a passable answer. Some of the worst animals to mention are:

  • Sloth – Notoriously associated with laziness 
  • Skunk – Have immediate connotations with poor hygiene
  • Pig – Associated with greed

What Interviewers Are Looking for in an Answer

Ideally, the interviewer would like to see you set yourself apart from others while demonstrating creativity. Very rarely do they take your answer at face value. Candidates usually assume that the point of this question is to mention an animal with the best qualities.

Let’s suppose you say that you would be a fox because you’re clever. Is that a clever answer in any way, though? While being articulate is important in interviews, this question creates a frame where “show, don’t tell” applies. You have to show the following traits:

  • Creativity/Cleverness – By unconventionally answering the question instead of associating yourself with the fox. 
  • Leadership – By taking control of the question and reframing it to serve you instead of associating yourself with the lion.
  • Social Skills – By using your charm and charisma to make the question less rigid, instead of associating yourself with the golden retriever.

How to Answer “What Animal Would You Be?” in a Job Interview

To answer “what animal would you be?” in a job interview, you must mention a unique animal and provide an explanation that stands apart. Avoid answers that seem obvious or ones with strong negative associations. Instead, opt for a neutral animal and bring up an unknown piece of trivia about them.

You can use the table below to craft your answer, but there is a chance another candidate might use an animal listed here. The reason for including this table is to enable you to start brainstorming your unique answer.

AnimalTriviaAssociation
MooseThey shed their antlers every year…And I refresh my knowledge and upskill every year.
PangolinEvery single species of the pangolin is threatened with extinction…And I am that rare.
BeeBees have five eyes.And I have that kind of vision with just two eyeballs.
SwordfishThey can travel up to 62 miles an hour. I want to be ten times faster and get ten times more stuff done.

So here are your options:

  • Add new animals to the table, then Google interesting facts about each animal 
  • Use the animals above but look for alternative trivia.

And remember, you can either mention an animal that has traits you identify with or one that has traits you aspire to have. Either rationalization works because you can assert that you would be an animal that is like you or assume an omitted (want to) in the question. You can answer, “what animal would you be and why,” by taking it as, “what animal would you want to be and why?”

The only time where you are confined to mentioning animals that have similar traits to you is when the interviewer asks, “what animal are you?” or “what is your spirit animal.” All “would be” questions are open-ended and allow you to mention animals you would aspire to be like.

Example Responses to “What Animal Would You Be” Interview Question

Here are a few sample answers to the question. It is advisable to put your own twist on the one that appeals to you, so you’re not caught having the exact same answer as another reader of this post.

“What Animal Would You Hire?”

This has to be delivered playfully, so it is not taken at face value. If one takes this response literally, it shows that you’re willing to do anything to get hired. But interviewers look deeper and can see that you have the ability to take control of the frame and make it serve you.

“I Would Be a Crocodile if I Could Charge Lacoste for My Likeness”

Again, this answer breaks the frame, albeit less than the previous response. This allows the conversation to progress towards likeness and image. You can talk about your personal brand and how you carry yourself in such a way that you can be a corporation’s face at any point. The interviewer might have a follow-up along the lines of, “and if you couldn’t charge for your likeness?”

Then, you should say, “I would be the owl that passes the verdict in favor of the crocodile seeking likeness compensation.” This shows that you predicted the way the interviewer would follow up on your answer. However, this is hard to pull off unless you are highly extroverted.

“I Would Be a Snow Wolf Because Wolves Strike the Perfect Balance Between Cooperation and Competition”

This is a safe answer for introverts who might find playing with the interviewer’s frame too risky. It is a conversation that can lead to a discussion about dogs. Since wolves were the first dogs, they have the capacity for loyalty, and they are team players since they hunt in packs.

“I Would Be a Capybara Because I Get Along With Everyone”

This is one of the safest answers for this question because capybaras have an immensely positive image mainly because of their calm demeanor that attracts other animals. They are the ideal representation of people who are the walking personification of a pep talk.

Final Thoughts

Questions regarding what animal you would be aren’t as “gotcha” questions as they are opportunities to lean into your gift. If you’re naturally humorous, you can break the frame and give an unexpected answer. If you’re reserved, select a positive animal but one that is rare and not obvious. 

Brandon Hill

I'm Brandon Hill with Bizness Professionals. We serve content to help young professionals develop personally, professionally, and financially. Well-rounded improvement is a theme we live by. As such, this website will cover a variety of topics aimed to help you have a successful life and career.