Traditional education is slowly dying. Schools can teach us a lot of things, but we won’t use the majority of them in our jobs. At least that’s the experience of most graduates. Careers in healthcare and law are perhaps the only exception to the rule.
A good non-fiction book, however, written by someone with real life experience in this or that field, can help us to learn a skills or gain a knowledge we will benefit from in our work. A biography of someone who attained success, in business, sport, science, or any other field, can inspire us to aim higher in our own career.
And an inspirational true story (or even a novel), of someone who overcame adversity and walked away a better human being, can motivate us to step out of our comfort zone, or to start fighting our own demons, and live a better life.
Summarized and underlined, it makes sense to read good books. But what to say in an interview when they ask you about the books you are reading? And how to answer this question in a case that you do not read any books? Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers to this interesting interview question. They should help you find your perfect answer.
7 sample answers to “What books are you currently reading?” interview question
- I’m currently reading Guerilla Marketing from J.C. Levinson, the updated version. In my opinion it’s an excellent introduction into a variety of marketing techniques, and the most effective way in which a business or an individual can benefit from them. I am making a lot of notes while reading the book, and honestly believe that the lessons will help me in my first job of a Marketing Specialist. Once I am done with Levinson’s book, I have three other titles from successful marketers on my reading list.
- To be honest, I am not reading any book at the moment. I’ve been focusing on my job search in the last 30 days, trying to prepare for the interviews, spending a lot of time reading content on InterviewPenguin.com, and also on some other websites. But I am receiving monthly newsletter from two websites that specialize in accounting and in latest changes to tax law, in order to keep my knowledge up to date, and also because I really like my field of work.
- I am reading The Power of Now from Eckhart Tolle. It is probably the most powerful book I’ve ever read, and it changed the way in which I see the world and my position in it. What’s more, I learned, and also tried already, that to be present in your work is actually the most you can do for your employer, customer, and also for yourself. Because when you give your full attention to the present moment, to the task at hand, your work instantly gets another quality. You do not see it as a mean to an end anymore, for example to a salary you will get each month. That changes everything, and you can immediately feel the difference it makes in your everyday life.
- I’m currently reading a variety of books in French, mostly simple non-fiction books and books for children. I do it because I want to learn the language–I understand how important it is for a flight attendant to speak languages. What’s more, I know that your airline operates regular long distance flights to Paris, and it would be a dream come true if I can attend the passengers flying from US to Paris and in the opposite direction.
- It’s been quite a while since I read the last book. I’ve been too busy with work, family, and everything else, trying to juggle the roles of a husband, father, and employee. I love books and know that I can learn a lot from them, gain inspiration, knowledge, and that a good book can sometimes changes person’s life. But my children are very young right now. When not working, I prefer to spend time with them, playing, talking, being present. I know the crucial role such behavior plays in the early childhood. Once they grow older, I will definitely return to books and also to other hobbies I used to do before the birth of our first daughter. Maybe in two or three years when they start going to school it will be possible again.
- I’m currently reading The Alchemist from Paulo Coelho. I must confess that I find many similarities between the journey of Santiago, the boy form the book, and my personal journey. I’ve been also searching for “treasure”, for meaning, pursuing happiness in life. It is one of the reasons why I applied for a job in your NGO. I’ve grown tired of the work of a corporate rat, doing the same simple tasks on a computer each day, never really seeing any impact of my work. Working for your organization I’ll have direct contact with people. I’ll be in the field, and see directly the impact of my work. That’s the meaning I’ve been searching for, and I hope you will give me a chance to find it.
- I’m reading Dervish and Death from M. Selimovic at the moment. The language, the syntax, the thought process of the author is just incredible. I have never read something similar before, and I honestly believe it will help me a lot in my editing work, which I hope to do for your publishing house. To be honest, I believe you have to read a lot before you can write a good book, or even edit one. That’s what I’ve been doing for years, and I hope one can feel it when reading a book I edited…
Connect your reading with your work
The best thing you can do while answering this question is identifying a connection between the book you are reading and the job you are trying to get. As you can see in our list of 7 sample answers, there are many ways to describe such a connection.
The most straightforward is when you read the book from your subject. For example a book from a successful marketer when you pursue a career in marketing (sample answer no. 1).
Another one is when you work on your language skills or communication skills while reading books, skills that are vital in the job you try to get. See sample answers no. 4 and no. 7 as a great demonstration of this principle.
You can also talk about an inspirational book that helped you to find the meaning in life, or perhaps inspired you to make a career change (see answer no. 6). This is a perfect answer especially when you apply for a job in a field new to you, when you are changing your career.
If you do not read books, explain why
Reading books is great, but it should not be our first priority in life. As long as you can explain why you are not reading (and watching Netflix or wasting time on Facebook for 5 hours a day is not a good explanation), hiring managers will be happy about your answer.
If you have small children, for example, you try to be with them, and decided to put books aside for a while, until they grow a bit. See sample answer no. 5 as a good demonstration of this attitude. Family should come first, and most hiring managers will give you extra points for your attitude.
You can also say that you’ve been focusing on your job search lately, trying your best to prepare for the interviews, and spent your free time reading online guides and learning more about your prospective employer(s). Once you succeed, and get a great job, you will resume your reading habits. Check sample answer no.2 as a good example.
Do not be afraid to talk about a philosophy book
Harry Potter, or some books from John Grisham may entertain you, and you may relax while reading them (which is also important, because we need to relax), but they won’t really teach you any important lesson, or challenge your ideals and perception of life.
Some other titles, however, books from writers like Tolle, Nietzsche, Hesse, Heideger, Gandhi or other thinkers, can have a profound impact on your life, and consequently also on your job.
If you can demonstrate this in an interview (see sample answer no. 3 as a great example), you can have an extremely powerful answer, one that can challenge your interviewers intellectually, one they will remember a long time after the end of the interviews. Which should be your goal after all–to stand out, to remain in the minds of the interviewers once the interviews end, and they decide about the winner…
Even if it doesn’t happen, however, reading such books is never a waste of time, which can’t be said about the majority of books that make the bestseller list in the US….
Ready to answer this one? Check also 7 sample answers to other tricky interview questions:
- Tell me one thing about yourself you wouldn’t want me to know.
- What is the biggest mistake you’ve made in your career?
- How do you define quality?