In many of our previous posts, we have talked about answering those commonly asked questions well. Questions like “can you walk me through your CV?”, “can you tell me about yourself?”, among others. Answering these generic, formal questions is relatively easy because these are the questions we expect.
But what if we are suddenly asked a question and the answer is expected to be…fun?
In other words, how should questions like the following should be answered?
- Can you tell me a fun/interesting fact about yourself?
- What are your other interests?
- What do you like to do in your spare time?
Why Such Questions:
The logic is similar to the one behind “can you tell me about a weakness?”. That is, the interviewers want to take a look beyond the candidate’s interview persona. Such questions give them a sense of what they are like outside the office.
Everyone is formal and serious during the interview, but the world beyond the interview involves undertaking tasks, managing teams, coordinating with colleagues, talking to clients and associates, maintaining interpersonal rapport. A well-rounded persona, with proportionate amount of seriousness and fun won’t harm, right?
Such questions are thus beneficial for the interviewer to know more about a candidate, and for the interviewee to show a different side of their personality.
What Can Such Questions Do:
Such questions asking about interesting aspects of one’s personality give the person getting interviewed opportunities to:
- Shift the interview from a formal question-and-answer session to a more conversational interaction. We talk about this more later on.
- Talk about their hobbies (if any, given that these days people don’t have hobbies) and interests
- Give a sense of what they would be like during out of the office formal events like conferences, dinners, etc,.
- Talk about themselves as a worker by drawing analogies
This is one of the strongest reason to cash in on such questions, when asked.
Answering (and listening to the answers of) generic questions can get boring. It’s not going to be interesting beyond a point. Think of the interview in terms of rhythm. Changing rhythms keep us engaged. Questions which take a look about the beyond the professional life can change the rhythm of the interview.
There are times of a calm, almost quiet rhythm, when one talks about the more formal issues, like their skills, their work experience, their strengths and weaknesses; there is a little rise in the tempo perhaps when one begins to talk about how one handled a difficult situation. The rhythm will get peppier as one starts talking about the “fun” things. It will keep the interview interesting.
How Exactly Is One Supposed to Talk about this?:
You have been asked something about yourself. Generic is the last thing you want your answer to be. Relevancy and specificity are some qualities to keep in mind. And the answer should connect to some aspect of your professional life in some way, be it how the interest helped you develop certain soft-skills, or how you got better at a hard-skill.
An example will make it clearer.
A: “I like art.”
B: “I like art. I am not a pro, but I like drawing illustrations based on the everyday things I see around. The last illustration was about the quiet that I noticed in my building when the electricity went off, and how the people came out to talk to each other. It initially started as idle doodling but now I think I have developed an eye for minute details and for making ordinary tasks interesting.”
A is too general. What does it tell about the interviewee besides the fact that they pursue art in their spare time? Not much. On the other hand, B gives a sense of what the interviewee pursues, what their view of the world is like, and what other skills they have developed in the process. Fun fact indeed!
Talking about a fun or interesting fact about yourself in a balanced way can give the interviewer a sense of what kind of a worker and a person you are. It can give a glimpse of your soft-skills, good qualities and how you act when faced with challenges.