More Interview Questions and Answers
What book are you reading at the moment?
Alternative and related questions:
What was the last film you saw?
What's your favourite book?
The meaning behind the question:
This is obviously quite a personal question and the interviewer will be aiming to learn a number of different things from the question. For a start, they'll be interested to see if you do in fact read. More than that, they'll be interested in seeing what you read and what you have to say about it. It's not quite a psychological question but it's not far from it. What you read will inevitably tell them a bit about your personality.
It's generally important to be seen to be a reader. You may love reading. You may hate it! Either way, you need to have an example ready – and not just a made up one! You will actually need to read a book in order to be able to effectively answer this question.
Beyond that, there is no 'right' answer to this question. You obviously need to choose your example reasonably carefully. If you're applying to work for a French company then telling them you're currently reading '1000 Years of Annoying the French' by Stephen Clarke is probably going to come across badly! Likewise, it's hard to see any circumstances in which they'll be impressed by your reading Barbara Cartland... But that doesn't mean you have to tell them you're currently ploughing through Tolstoy's 'War and Peace' nor that you spend your bedtimes engaged with the latest cutting-edge management tomes. I'm just asking that you choose carefully.
Don't, of course, just tell the interviewer the title of the book. Go on to tell them a bit about it – at the very least just to prove that you're not making it up! In any case, if you don't tell them a bit about it then they'll be sure to ask. You should also be prepared for the possibility that they may have read the same book themselves, in which case you can definitely expect a longer chat about it.
I'm currently reading 'Disturbing the Peace' by Richard Yates. I saw the film 'Revolutionary Road' and went on to read the book and I enjoyed it so much that I'm now moving on to work my way through Richard Yates's other titles. 'Disturbing the Peace' is not one of his best-known works but I find its semi-autobiographical nature particularly fascinating. You can tell that he has first-hand knowledge of what he's writing about. It's not exactly a happy book, by any means. But it's very compelling and gives a lot of insight into Richard Yates and the troubled life he led.
Word of warning:
The interviewer may specifically ask for either a fiction or a non-fiction book so it's best to have examples ready for both cases.
The Interview Question & Answer Book
More interview questions and answers
Talking about your current employment
- Can you tell me what you enjoy about your current job?
- What will you remember most about your last job?
- Is this the first time you have made an effort to move away from your current employers?
- How do you feel about the possibility of leaving your current job?
- How would you describe your current employer?
Talking about this vacancy
- Wouldn’t you be better suited to working in a larger/smaller organization?
- How do you feel this vacancy differs from your current role?
- What reservations do you have about your ability to undertake this job?
- Can you describe your ideal working environment to me?
- How do you feel we compare to our competitors?
- What would you say is our Unique Selling Point?
- What would be your analysis of the current trends in our industry/sector?
Understanding your career path, plans and ambitions
- What aspects of your career path would you like to have been different?
- What are your greatest regrets about the path your career has taken?
- What has been the greatest challenge you have faced in your career to date?
- What do you think are your main career options for the next five years?
- What exactly does the word ‘success’ mean to you?
Addressing problems in your career history
- Why did you only stay with this organization for such a short time?
- Why did you stay with this organization for such a long time?
Coping with stress and pressure
- Are you able to multitask?
- Can you juggle a number of different projects simultaneously?
- How do you handle rejection/disappointment/failure?
- How do you deal with interpersonal conflict?
- What does tact and diplomacy mean to you?
- What makes for a successful team?
Management and leadership
- Would you describe yourself as a good manager?
- Do you really think you’re management material?
- What is your attitude to delegation?
- Can you give me an example of a time when you had to lead from the front?
- Have you ever had to fire or lay off a member of your staff?
- How would you describe your ideal team member?
Personal and professional development
- In what ways do you intend to improve upon your performance?
- How has your current job prepared you for greater challenges/responsibility?
Interests and activities
- What book are you reading at the moment?
- What newspaper do you take?
- Are you interested in current affairs?
The amateur psychiatrist
- If you won the lottery what would you do?
- Can you tell me about the best teacher you ever had?
- If you could meet any historical figure, who would it be and why?
- What are you most afraid of?
Money, money, money
- Why aren’t you earning more?
- How much do you think you are really worth?
- How much does money matter to you?
- Would you still be interested in this job if you current employer offered a pay rise?
- Have you ever had to take a pay cut to keep your job?
- Have you ever asked for but been refused a pay rise?
Author: James Innes