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“What Type of Animal Are You” – How To Answer Strange Interview Questions

interview in Canada strange question

Headspace is my mediation app of choice.

One of the things I love about it are these cute short animated clips, while the narrator is narrating life advice and lessons about meditation.

Recently, I saw this new clip about how approaching your mediation practice is like how an elephant approaches life.

An elephant walks majestically and slowly to its destination. No matter what is going on around them, whether they are walking uphill or downhill, it just keeps going at a steady pace.

While the rest of the animal world is struggling with excuses and scrambling with distractions, the elephant moves forward, persistently, till it reaches its goal.

It got me thinking to myself, “Man! That’s me!” If I was every asked what my strength is, it’s my persistence to reach a goal. No matter what is going on around me, I will persistently pursue my goals. I will take my time, but I will eventually get there. “Nothing is impossible” – that’s my motto.

Just like the elephant.

Many candidates get annoyed by trick questions like these:

“What kind of animal are you?”
“How many footballs can fit into this room?”
“How many houses are there in Toronto?”

But if you understand why the interviewer is asking these questions, you’ll get some perspective.

First of all note that there is no wrong answer.

The interviewer is doing two things:

  1. They are observing your reaction to a situation you are unprepared for
  2. They are observing your creativity and how your analytical mind thinks

If you react in a way that makes you come off as annoyed or flustered by this surprise question, that’s bad. Stay cool. Understand it’s not a trick. But a test. Just like every other interview question. Worst case, if it’s hard, you can always ask to come back to this question.

In this case, “What kind of animal are you” is a test of how well you know yourself and how your creative mind can formulate an answer.

If it’s a question involving numbers, like “How many tennis balls can fit into this room?” You’d want to talk through how you would go about calculating that, by saying “I estimate this room measures about 10x10x10 feet, so it’s about 1000 cubic feet. A footballs is about 1 cubic feet, so I’d say about a 1000 footballs”.

In reality, you were probably wrong. But it doesn’t matter. You demonstrated that you took the time to analyze the answer instead of guessing it. And that’s what counts!

So, what kind of animal are you?

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