Although you should expect to be asked about your skills and previous work experience in a job interview, you should also be prepared to answer personal questions like, “What’s the last book you read”
This question is typically asked so that the hiring manager can get a better idea of who you are as a person when you are not working. These types of questions may not be asked at every interview, but it is important to be prepared and be well-read. You do not necessarily have to be well-versed in the literary world, but it helps if you had read something fairly recently.
Points to Emphasize
There are certain things to keep in mind when answering personal questions.
- Talk about a book you actually read and liked
- If possible, talk about a book you read that is relevant to the field in which you are applying
- If the interviewer has read it too, feel free to ask their opinion on it
- Be truthful in your response
If you are asked this question, the interviewer is just trying to learn more about you as a person. There is no need to get caught up in trying to give the perfect response.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
It is hard to give a “bad” answer to a question about what you like, but you should still be wary of these common mistakes.
- Avoid saying a book you haven’t actually read
- Avoid saying you haven’t read anything lately
- Avoid mentioning a book that could reflect poorly on you in this position
- Don’t pause for too long before answering
Hopefully, you read fairly frequently, so you should not have to think about the last book you read. You should just have an answer already prepared.
Your response should honestly reflect the last thing you read, and you should frame your answer like this:
I recently read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, which provided a really in-depth look of what it takes to achieve success in anything.
The good part of being asked these types of personal questions is that there is a good chance the interviewer enjoys the same things you do. Then you can both talk about it and develop a good rapport. You may be coming into this interview with the same type of skills as other candidates, but being asked about your personal life is your opportunity to make yourself stand apart so that a hiring manager will remember you when the interview is over. Liking good books will not automatically get you the job, but it is another factor employers consider.