“What is the last book you read?” This may come across as an icebreaker or conversational interview question, but it holds the same importance as any other HR interview question. If you’re wondering how keep reading.
In this blog, we’ll not only provide tips to answer, “What’s the last book you read?” But also sample answers as well as common mistakes to avoid.
Why do recruiters ask? What is the last book you read?
Recruiters can ask this interview question in many forms “What book have you read most recently?”/ “What book are you currently reading?”/ “What is the last book you read?”
However, the purpose behind asking this interview question is the same, to know more about the job seeker. The books you read can reveal your characteristics, values, and interests outside of your job.
How to answer – What is the most recent book you have read?
#1. Choosing the right book
When preparing for a job interview, the question “What’s the last book you read?” Comes up often.
This is more than just small talk – it’s a chance to make a lasting impression. So, how do you choose the right book that showcases your strengths and matches the interview context?
Think about relevance, not randomness
First, skip books irrelevant to the job or industry. Choose one that subtly reflects your skills and aspirations. If you’re applying for a creative writing position, discussing a classic novel might be appropriate.
For a data analytics role, refer to a book on statistics or artificial intelligence. It shows your alignment with the company’s values and interests.
Obsession with perfection
Don’t feel pressured to name the latest bestseller. Authenticity is above trendiness. Choose a book that you really enjoyed and that you can discuss with enthusiasm.
Your genuine enthusiasm will be contagious and leave a positive impression on the interviewer. They are not looking for literary critics; They’re looking for someone with genuine intellectual curiosity and passion.
Non-Fiction: Friend or Foe?
Non-fiction can be a great choice, especially for roles requiring specific expertise. Citing a professional biography or industry-related book shows your active learning and knowledge base. Just make sure it’s a book you can discuss engagingly while avoiding dry technical jargon.
Remember, the book is just the hook
While the book itself matters, it is just the opening line. Be prepared to dive deeper. Share what attracted you to the book, what insights you gained, and how it relates to your career goals or personal values.
This personalized narrative reveals your critical thinking, communication skills, and overall passion for learning.
Don’t panic if you can’t think of the perfect fit! Turn the conversation to your reading habits, mention your favorite genres, or highlight how you prioritize continued learning. The key is to genuinely demonstrate your intellectual engagement and curiosity.
#2. Building structure
The moment comes. “What is the last book you read?” Echoes in the interview room. Breathe easy, bookworm! We have a winning framework to turn this question into your bridge to success.
- foundation: Start strong with the book title and author. This creates instant context and piques the interviewer’s curiosity. Briefly summarize the main theme or plot of the book without revealing spoilers. Think of it as a movie trailer that piques their interest without revealing the ending.
- Bridge: This is where your book becomes your bridge to the interview. Share what attracted you to the book, what impressed you, or how it surprised you. Did it challenge your perspective? Did it provide valuable insights? Weave your experiences and ideas into the narrative, demonstrating your critical thinking and ability to connect ideas.
- Destination: Now, gently connect your book to the interview context. If it’s a leadership book, highlight how a particular leadership theory matches your perspective. If it’s historical fiction, mention how it relates to company values or industry challenges. It demonstrates your ability to apply knowledge and think strategically.
Remember, this isn’t a book report – it’s a conversation. Avoid dry academic jargon and embrace your natural enthusiasm. Use anecdotes, personal thoughts, and even humor to make your answer engaging and memorable.
Practice your answers! Practice with a friend or in front of a mirror, perfecting your structure and making sure your passion shines through.
#3. Adding depth and intrigue
“What’s the most recent book you read?” The title and author are on the tip of your tongue, but the interview deserves more than that.
Here’s how to add depth and intrigue, turning your book choice into a conversation starter that reveals your unique talents.
Go beyond the surface
Don’t just leave the name. Share what attracted you to the book – a captivating review, a personal recommendation, or a specific topic that matches your current interests or career goals.
This shows your curiosity and initiative. Did you find the writing style surprising? Did the plot take an unexpected twist? Share these discoveries while demonstrating your critical thinking and ability to analyze information.
Connect the dots
Weave your book into the fabric of your interview. Does any character’s leadership style match your own? Does a historical event shed light on a current industry challenge?
These connections demonstrate your ability to apply knowledge and think strategically. If the book is relevant to the company’s values or mission, subtly highlight the similarities, demonstrating your alignment and understanding of their culture.
Personalize your journey
Don’t be afraid to share personal experiences or anecdotes related to the book’s themes.
Do any fictional character’s struggles reflect your own? Did any chapters give you valuable advice that you’re applying in your career? These personal touches make your answer relevant and demonstrate your growth mindset.
Remember to include the interviewer! Ask them about their thoughts on the book or related topic. This shows your interest in their perspective and fosters genuine conversation, making the interview feel more like a natural conversation than a grilling session.
Prepare some “pocket questions” related to your chosen book, ready to lead further discussion if needed. This demonstrates your preparedness and keeps the conversation flowing.
Common mistakes to avoid while answering What is the most recent book you have read?
1. To lie
Never try to fabricate your reading habits. This is easily exposed and can damage your credibility. Choose a book you really enjoy and can discuss enthusiastically.
2. To babble
Stay focused and concise. Keep your answer within a reasonable time limit (1-2 minutes) and avoid rambling.
Don’t try to impress with trendy bestsellers or obscure titles you don’t fully connect with. Choose a book that reflects your true interests and values.
4. Technical Jargon
If referring to a non-fiction book, avoid dense academic language or technical jargon. Explain complex concepts concisely, demonstrating your ability to communicate effectively.
Don’t criticize the book or its author, even if you didn’t enjoy it. Focus on the positive aspects of your reading experience or politely turn to another book you would recommend.
Avoid being arrogant or pretentious. Acknowledge your learning journey and be open to the interviewer’s perspective on the book.
Do not reveal major plot twists or character endings. Keep your answer free of spoilers and focus on the overall themes and messages of the book.
8. Lack of connection
Don’t just name the book and leave it hanging. Connect it in some way to your life experiences, career goals, or interview context.
9. Answer in one sentence
Don’t give a one-word response like “a novel” or “I don’t read.” Show genuine interest and engagement with the question.
10. Missing out on conversations
Remember, the goal isn’t just to say the name of the book, but to engage in conversation. Ask follow-up questions, respond to the interviewer’s thoughts, and continue the dialogue.
By avoiding these common mistakes, you can answer the question “What’s the last book you read?” An opportunity to showcase your intellectual curiosity, communication skills, and engagement with literature.
So, choose wisely, speak confidently, and most importantly, enjoy the conversation!
Check Out More Tips:
Sample answer What is the most recent book you have read?
Sample Answer 1:
“The last book I finished was ‘Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind’ by Yuval Noah Harari. This blows my mind!
I’ve always been fascinated by history, but this book takes it to a whole new level by exploring the big questions about human evolution, our impact on the planet, and what the future holds. It left me with a lot to think about and I couldn’t stop talking about it with my friends.”
Sample Answer 2:
“I recently read Carroll Dweck’s ‘Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.’ As a [Your Job Title]I am constantly looking for ways to improve and push myself.
This book resonated with me in explaining the power of believing in your growth potential. The way I deal with challenges has changed and it has already benefited my work [Specific Example],
Sample Answer 3:
“I’m currently reading ‘Cloud Atlas’ by David Mitchell. It’s a wild ride, weaving together six interconnected stories at different points in time and space.
Each chapter is a whole new world to explore, from a 19th-century musician to a dystopian future. It’s challenging, but it’s also very imaginative and inspiring. It’s made me think differently about storytelling and the interconnectedness of things.
Sample Answer 4:
“I just finished listening to Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ audiobook. I’m not a writer myself, but I’ve always admired King’s storytelling ability.
This book was like a masterclass with him, sharing his insights on craft, character development, and the importance of facing your fears. It was insightful, fun, and surprisingly inspiring.”
Sample Answer 5:
“I recently enjoyed the book ‘The House on Mango Street’ by Sandra Cisneros with my friends. It is an empowering story about a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago.
It raised important issues about identity, belonging, and community which led to interesting discussions with my friends. It reminded me of the importance of diverse voices and the power of stories to connect us.”
Remember to adapt these examples to your interests, personality, and the context of the situation. We hope these samples and tips help you answer the question “What’s the last book you read?”
This will inspire you to prepare your own unique and attractive answer. Always remember to practice beforehand so that you don’t miss the interview and can answer confidently.
Also, practice these Basic Interview Questions and Answers Be fully prepared for your upcoming HR interview.