Unusual Job Interview Questions: What is Your Spirit Animal?


In recent years, some companies have trended toward utilizing unusual questions during job interviews. These questions are seemingly silly at face value but after a deeper look, they can have some worth in revealing character traits and how well the candidate can think on his/her feet. Let’s examine the question, “What is your spirit animal?”

Here is a bit of background on what I’ve gleaned about spirit animals. A spirit animal is a mystical or spiritual guide who appears to offer love and support during difficult times or to assist you in traversing a new path or journey.  

Some people consider the spirit animal to be similar to the totem animal. A totem animal is defined roughly as a spirit, sacred object, or a symbol of a tribe, clan, family or individual. Some Native American tribes believe that each person is connected with numerous different spirit animals that walk with a person throughout their lives acting as a guide.

People who follow their spirit animals believe that the animal’s traits live inside them as a part of their true nature. The chosen spirit animal can be a metaphor, often humorous that a person relates to or admires, and the animal’s characteristics may be similar to your own.

Each animal represents something different. In this world of cat videos, let’s look at the traits of the cat as a spirit animal. Those who possess the traits of a cat may be encouraged to develop balance between opposites. Things like independence and togetherness. Fun and work. They are patient and independent, connected to self, curious, and courageous.

The top five spirit animals as listed by SpiritAnimal.info are: wolf, owl, bear, hawk, and fox. These are very strong animals with great characteristics. It is natural to see why so many mere mortals would claim the characteristics of these worthy animals!

So I wondered: what would be the worst spirit animals? A cockroach, mosquito or worse yet, a tic? Although it seems like these have no noteworthy qualities, they all do possess the positive trait of survival, even when most humans really just want to kill them. They are also very hard workers and never give up! So it seems that all animals have some admirable traits. The truth is you can choose any animal you desire and appoint their traits to yourself.  

To be fair, some feel that with the pervasive use of social media, the term “spirit animal” has now been bastardized. It is used and misused, tossed around, used here and there and has lost its true meaning of referring to practices that are unique and sacred to indigenous tribes, thus causing its use to be socially insensitive and stereotypical. Interesting that in today’s socially correct atmosphere, this is allowed and isn’t mentioned more.

There are many websites that you can use to discover what your spirit animal is. A simple Google search followed by answering a few questions in a self-assessment format and bam, your spirit animal is revealed! Many of the questions are rather vague. I had a hard time choosing some of my answers when I took the assessment. I recommend doing it with someone who knows you well so they can validate your answers. This will make the assessment more accurate and objective. 

The question, “What is your Spirit Animal?” may be seen as a very contemporary, alternative method of asking the very popular question, “Tell me about yourself.” Some interviewers feel this is a more relaxed question geared toward casual conversation, allowing the candidate to speak openly about themselves without the traditional, more formalized, stop-start, question-answer session. More open-ended questions encourage candidates to be themselves, exposing creativity that may not otherwise be exposed.

There may be more to the spirit animal question than you ever thought! If you have an upcoming job interview, it can't hurt to explore what your spirit animal is. If you do search out your spirit animal, really consider the given traits of the animal and how these traits can be incorporated with the job you are applying for. Then practice explaining how your spirit animal’s traits can assist you in excelling in the new job, just in case you are asked!

By the way, my spirit animal is the dog. Loyal, devoted, protective, alert, and brave. What's yours?

I offer a free ½ hour introductory job interview coaching session. Contact me today to prepare for your tomorrow!

Thomas brown