The interviewer isn’t literally asking you to name the last book you picked up, but be prepared to discuss one you’ve read recently. Give a brief but thorough response that demonstrates that you’re literate and connects your reading to the assets you bring to the company.
Points to Emphasize
Whether you choose poetry or a self-improvement manual, discuss it in a way that demonstrates your character and fit for the position.
- Tell a little bit about the book in case others aren’t familiar with it.
- Remember that your answer isn’t primarily about your reading. It’s about you.
- Explain why you chose that particular text.
- Describe how the book benefited you in some way.
Explain how you relate to a character or tell about a new skill or lesson you learned. Choose an angle that shows a positive aspect of you that other questions might not reveal.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
Because this question overlaps with personal activities, proceed with caution.
- Be prepared with an answer; saying “I never have time to read” may make you sound like you lack balance or intellect.
- Avoid responses that could impugn your character or make you sound frivolous.
- Tell the truth! Lying to impress could easily backfire, making you look foolish – and untrustworthy.
- Don’t assume a work-related text is automatically best. It’s good to show that you have positive interests outside the office.
Your response should help the interviewer get to know you and contribute to the overall impression of what you offer.
A strong reply to this question might sound like this:
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a favorite from my childhood that I recently decided to revisit. As a teen I enjoyed it as a coming-of-age story, but re-reading it from my perspective today, I realized how much it has to say about thriving in the face of adversity. When I first read the book, I related most strongly to the main character and the challenges she faced in her journey to adulthood, and often found myself feeling frustrated with her mother. Now I relate to the mother’s character more. She wasn’t perfect, but she was ferociously determined and resourceful. This book taught me the value of doing whatever it takes to reach a goal.
This can be a tough question to answer, but go into it with a strategy, and your answer can show that you’re well rounded and articulate as well as demonstrating your personal and professional strengths.