When you go into a room for a job interview, you can’t always predict what the hiring manager will ask you. The interviewer might ask you a non-work related question such as, “What’s the last book you read?” The path to selling yourself on this particular inquiry may not be initially clear.
With this, the hiring manager wants to know if you are an effective communicator. People who read more are usually much better with using spoken and written words successfully.
Depending on your industry, how you communicate with others could be imperative. Keep that in mind as you prepare a response before the interview.
Points to Emphasize
The hiring manager wants a promise that you can communicate well both in writing and verbally. As such, use this as an opportunity to give a well-worded response. Here are some tips on points to emphasize when answering this question:
- Focus on a piece of work that reflects positively on you.
- Showcase your intelligence and communication skills.
- Highlight your eagerness to learn about new topics.
- Emphasize why you chose to read that particular title.
Try to avoid any dark or negative books. You want to steer this conversation in a positive direction, so be cognizant of what is appropriate in the professional interview setting.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
Remember the industry you are a part of and the type of setting you are in. Many people love fan fiction or comic books, but these are not necessarily appropriate or relevant to a professional setting.
- Do not mention a title that you have not read for yourself.
- Do not mention a title that you have not finished recently and in its entirety.
- Do not choose a work from a disreputable author or source.
- Avoid appearing unwilling to engage in multiple genres or styles.
If you haven’t read a book recently, say so and offer the title of an old favorite instead. You can discuss why it was important to you and what you learned from it.
Here is an example of a good answer to the question of what title you last read:
The last book I read was Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. Somehow, I missed reading that classic while in school and a friend of mine thought I would enjoy Whitman. After a few pages, I became really enthralled with how he could execute sharp commentaries as well as gentle subtleties in a single passage.
If you cannot fit your relevant skills into your answer naturally, don’t worry about it. This question allows you the chance to show how effectively you communicate, so focus more on the book and why you read it.