“What would your superpower be?”
This question doesn’t show up all that often, but when it does, it has a tendency to throw people off.
This article will break down the underlying meaning of this question, and how best to approach it from the hot seat.
Variations Of This Question
The first step is to identify the different variations of this interview question, as it can be phrased differently from one interview to the next.
- What workplace superpower do you possess?
- If you could be any superhero, who would it be?
- Which superhero do you most identify with?
- Which superhero best represents your personality?
- What is your biggest personal asset?
- What is your greatest strength?
What The Interviewer Really Wants to Know
A question like this may seem a bit strange, but the interviewer posed it this way to find out a few things.
First, they want to know what you feel your biggest strength is, since a superpower is basically an exaggerated strength.
Second, asking about superpowers at an otherwise professional job interview will likely throw a curveball in your direction.
By doing this, they want to see how resilient you are and if you can think on your feet instead of giving the typical canned responses they see from so many applicants.
Finally, the interviewer also wants to see if you can make a logical connection between the superpower/strength and the role you’re applying for, allowing them to gauge your creative thinking abilities.
How to Answer: “What Would Your Superpower Be?”
When it comes to answering this interview question, your reply should have three crucial components:
1. Choose A Suitable Power
When choosing a suitable power, remember to keep it relevant to the job you’re interviewing for. Telling them your superpower is “invisibility” is a quick way to get your resumé thrown in the trash.
Think back to a time in your life when you achieved something you were really proud of. What “superpower” did you need to employ in order to reach this achievement?
In reality, there were probably a few powers you needed to use, but hone in on the main one that made the biggest difference.
Here’s a shortlist of work-related superpowers you can choose from:
- Stamina / Endurance
- Creative Thinking
2. Explain How It Relates To You
The next thing you’ll have to do is tie the superpower to your personality and demonstrate to the interviewer how it’s benefited you in the past.
For instance, if you say your superpower would be supersonic speed, you’ll have to communicate to the interviewer why you feel you’re able to complete a task more quickly than most.
Again, it helps to think of the superpower as an exaggerated strength, because that’s really what it is.
3. Explain How It Relates To The Role
You’ll also have to convey how your superpower is relevant to the position you’re interviewing for.
Those applying for sales positions would do well saying their superpower is persuasion. While based on telepathy and mind control superpowers, being persuasive is a huge advantage to anyone in sales.
Explain to the interviewer how your power of persuasion has helped you in the past, and how it can help their company in the future.
Putting It All Together (Example Answers)
That’s the theory covered, but how do you actually put this all together in a real interview scenario?
Below are some sample answers to give you an idea:
Example #1: Data Entry Specialist
“My superpower would have to be super-speed, like The Flash.
I like to be productive and make the most out of every minute in the day.
As it pertains to work, I perform tasks at a torrid pace. This not only keeps me focused and engaged for long periods of time, but it also allows me to do more than most workers can in a full, 8-hour workday.”
Example #2: Car Salesmen
“I’d say my superpower has to be mind control, like Professor X.
In layman’s terms, it’s really the power of persuasion that I excel at. I’m a people person and having meaningful one-on-one interactions is important to me even outside of work.
In previous sales jobs, using this persuasive ability has benefitted multiple parties. Sales positions are really just teaching – not only about the product and it’s specifications, but also about why buying the product will benefit the customer’s life.
My superpower makes it a win-win situation for all involved. The customer is happy, I get personal satisfaction and financial compensation by helping them, and the company improves its bottom line in the process.”
Example #3: Security Guard
“My superpower would be observation.
Although it’s not as penetrating as the x-ray vision of Superman, I’ve always had a knack for paying attention to the small details that most people don’t pick up on. Gathering this intel helps me to make informed decisions going forward.
As a security guard, paying attention and having strong observational skills is a huge part of the job. Being a detail-oriented person, it keeps me on my toes and helps me stay engaged to immediately tackle any problems that may arise.”
How NOT to Answer
As with most interview questions, you have more than one approach when it comes to answering.
Let’s talk about the ones you should avoid:
Don’t Default To Your Comic Book Hero
So you like Batman. We get it – he’s a dark, anti-hero that people all around the world look up to.
But unless you were born into vast wealth (and you probably weren’t if you’re looking for work), Bruce Wayne really has no “superpowers” to speak of.
Our point here is to be selective with what your superpower would be, and not to choose it because your favorite comic book hero has the same one.
Just because you like The Incredible Hulk, it doesn’t automatically mean that your superpower is unlimited strength. If you’re highly confident, that would pair well if you’re a big fan of Tony Stark, but not so much if you identify more with Peter Parker.
Tailor the superpower to what best represents you. The last thing you want is to end up getting the job and not be able to follow through on the facade of false promises you led them to believe.
Don’t Be Snarky. Embrace The Cheese.
Is asking what your superpower would be a bit cheesy? Does it seem like a bush league question to be proposing in a serious job interview? Should you just roll with it and play along?
The answer to all three: absolutely.
Job interviews are usually pretty stressful, and a question like this can actually help break the ice and loosen up the tension in the room.
You may be taken aback by being asked about superpowers, but if you play along, the interviewer will see that you have a side that doesn’t always take things too seriously.
Having a sense of humor about certain things will go far, as having an uptight personality isn’t conducive to an enjoyable work environment for anyone.
- Learn the different variations of this question
- Familiarize yourself with the most likely lead-up questions
- Choose a power that actually aligns with your own strengths
- Explain than connectin through real-life examples
- Explain how this “power” will benefit you in the role