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If You Were An Animal What Would You Be?: Why It Is Asked & How To Answer [With Sample Answers]

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Imagine you have a successful interview, but then you get an open-ended question about something random and your confidence plummets. We’ve all been there.

If you are struggling to answer questions like “if you were an animal, what would you be?” You’re not alone in your confusion. It’s hard to prepare a professional answer for a seemingly unprofessional question correctly.

As hard as it may sound to answer this in a professional manner, there are several possible answers that can work.

Keep reading to understand why people ask this question and how to nail it.

Why Do Interviewers Ask, “If You Were An Animal, What Would You Be?”

Typically, interviewers ask this question because it’s an unconventional way of learning about the candidate. But unfortunately, a business-driven question doesn’t give you the same freedom to talk with your imagination.

Also, an interviewer may use this question during a professional interview to change the pace and make the candidate more comfortable. An unrelated question may give the interviewer a better insight into your tendencies than most questions.

This question is also a chance to determine whether or not your skills and traits align with company culture and what you’ll be doing as a potential employee.

Your animal doesn’t need to fit in with the company’s values, otherwise it would be nearly impossible to nail, but how you answer the question gives a queue to your interviewer as to how good you are thinking outside the box.

What Is The Interviewer Looking For?

An interviewer is looking for your explanation of the question. They’re looking for the depth of your character that’s not written on a resume.

When you give your answer, they’re paying close attention to how you see yourself and what you believe are your most dominant traits.

Regarding dominant traits, animals are known for having specific behaviors that can relate to your tendencies.

Also, an interviewer is looking at how you can formulate an answer to a difficult question. You may prepare answers for business-related questions, but an interviewer is curious to see how you think on your feet.  

How to Answer “If You Were An Animal, What Would You Be?”

Some of you may think that “if you were an animal, what would you be?” is a trick question with no correct answer. However, it’s not a trick question.

Also, there are multiple ways to answer this question to give yourself a way to stand apart from other candidates.

Giving a memorable answer is the best way to answer this interview question.

In addition, you must remember to answer the question “if you were an animal, what would you be?” directly because deviating from the topic isn’t professional.

The best way to answer this question is by remaining confident when telling an interviewer what animal you are; that way, you leave a lasting impression in the interview room.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

Now that you understand, an interviewer asks, “if you were an animal, what would you be?” to learn more about you, let’s discuss what you should focus on when answering.

Here are some things you should focus on when answering this question:

  • Choose an animal with positive qualities.
  • Focus on specific characteristics of the animal.
  • Focus on an animal that’ll make you unique.
  • Have fun with the answer.
  • Tie the qualities and characteristics of an animal back to the job.

Passion and curiosity are dominant qualities that employers are looking for.

Focusing on these suggestions will give you everything you need to answer this question.

What to Avoid When Answering This Question

An interviewer always looks for unappealing answers to “if you were an animal, what would you be?”

We’ve compiled a list of things to avoid when answering this question:

  • Avoid an animal with negative qualities.
  • Avoid picking a notorious animal.
  • Don’t refuse to answer.
  • Don’t say that you can’t choose an animal.
  • Don’t focus on why you love a certain animal.

Remember, this question allows an interviewer to learn more about you. If you avoid these suggestions, you don’t need to stress formulating the perfect answers.

Examples: How to Answer “If You Were An Animal, What Would You Be?”

As with all interviews, it’s important to do extensive interview preparation to say the right things.

Check out these sample answers for “if you were an animal, what would you be?” You can use these examples to inspire your responses to make every interview successful.


“If I were an animal, I would be a horse because while I enjoy working independently, I also know how to succeed in a group. Also, I know how to focus and am a hard worker.”

Why This Answer Works

Horses, specially trained racing horses, are known to be among the most hard-working animals. However, comparing yourself to a horse shows you’re independent and can work well without supervision.

However, horses can work well in a group too. A horse shows that you’re flexible and can adapt to different environments.


“If I were an animal, I would pick a butterfly because it represents me as a person and an employee.

A butterfly starts as a caterpillar and goes through a large transformation before emerging as a butterfly. I believe that I started my career as a caterpillar, but I transformed into a professional ready for my next challenge.

So, if I were an animal, that’s why I would be a butterfly.”

Why This Answer Works

This answer works because you’re not using the word insect to describe the butterfly. Instead, all jobs and careers allow you to chase new opportunities in your life, so the triumphs of the butterfly are the perfect comparison.

Also, this answer works because you’re talking about your personal and professional self in this situation.


“I think if I were an animal, I would be a lion because I closely relate to a lion.

Lions are known for being part of a pack. I work well with others and enjoy putting minds together when the situation calls for it to come up with new ideas.

Also, lions are the leaders of the wild. Therefore, I believe that my leadership qualities are my strongest skills.”

Why This Answer Works

This answer works because lions are known for being strong animals. Comparing yourself to a lion means you’re willing to lead a group and take most of the responsibility.

Also, this answer works because you’re displaying your strongest skills and qualities in the answer when making the comparison between yourself and a lion.

Additional Tips for Impressing an Interviewer Asking “If You Were An Animal, What Would You Be?”

It never hurts to have additional tips up your sleeve to impress an interviewer.

We’ve added three more tips you can use to impress your interviewer, especially if they ask, “if you were an animal, what would you be?”

Choosing the Right Animal  

Here are the most popular animals to choose from for your interview:

  • Ant
  • Beaver
  • Butterfly
  • Cat
  • Dog
  • Dolphin
  • Eagle
  • Giraffe
  • Goat
  • Horse
  • Lion
  • Monkey
  • Octopus
  • Owl
  • Pig
  • Shark

It’s important that you don’t name the first animal that comes to mind. Instead, choosing an animal with qualities relating to the job you’re applying for would be best.

Be Creative

Being creative allows you to stand out from other potential applicants, so it’s important that you don’t give generic answers.

For example, a generic answer is an answer that needs to be thoroughly explained. Also, a generic answer would be if you chose a bird because you want to fly or a cheetah because cheetahs run fast.

Use this question to create a vivid image in the hiring manager’s mind.

Consider the Position You Want

Every job position has different professional expectations and responsibilities for every employee. So before choosing your animal, think about the position you’re applying for and what skills you need to succeed.

In addition, if you can identify which skills are most important to the hiring manager and the position, you can highlight specific points in your answer.

Additional Questions to Be Aware Of

“If you were an animal, what would you be?” isn’t one of the most common questions to ask. However, there are many different questions you’ll be answering during an interview.

To help you prepare yourself, consider these top five additional interview questions:

  • Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?: A hiring manager wants to know if you plan on staying long-term or have a different plan in mind. Also, they want to know your personal and professional goals.
  • What Makes You Unique?: A hiring manager uses this question to get a glimpse into your personality. Also, they’re looking for specific traits you’d bring to the company.
  • What Interests You About This Position?: Many companies might be hiring for the same position. An interviewer wants to hear why you’re interested in the position at their company.
  • What Do You Like To Do For Fun?: A hiring manager uses this question to see if you have a good work-life balance. Also, they want to hear how you talk about your hobbies outside of work.
  • What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?: Generally, this question is directed towards new graduates or younger candidates. An interviewer wants to know about your goals and how this position will help you achieve them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you still have questions about how to describe yourself as an animal?

Here are some more things you should know.

What Animals Have the Best Personality?

Some animals have personalities that mirror humans and make them the best comparison. A few animals with the best personalities include bears, birds, dolphins, whales and wolves.

Why Would You Compare Yourself to a Dog?

Dogs are a man’s best friend, so it’s the perfect comparison for somebody that enjoys being around others.

Also, dogs and humans have an undeniable connection. You can compare yourself to a dog to show that you’re reliable and willing to engage with others.

Wrapping Up

During an interview, “if you were an animal, what would you be?” might sound ridiculous if you didn’t know that some interviewers ask that. However, finding an answer is easy once you know what an interviewer is looking for.

Remember to make your answer personalized based on your personal traits and compare it to the job you’re interviewing for.

Your answer must be concise, so remember to look through our sample answer as inspiration.

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