Job Interview Question: Are You Lucky?
How to respond to interview questions about luck
Sometimes, during an interview, an employer will surprise you with an unusual question, like, "Do you consider yourself to be lucky?" Although the question sounds strange, it's one that recruiters may use to assess whether you have an optimistic or pessimistic view of the world.
Employers generally want to avoid candidates who have a negative attitude. You'll need to demonstrate that you aren't easily defeated by difficult circumstances to ace this interview question.
Like with most open-ended questions, you will have the opportunity to integrate strengths that qualify you for the job when you answer. Make sure you itemize 7 to 10 reasons why your employer should hire you for the job as you prepare for the interview. Be ready to furnish anecdotes, examples, and stories that relate how you have implemented those assets and the value which you have added.
Establishing Your Positive Attitude and View of the World
It's important to demonstrate a balanced but optimistic attitude in your answer. Begin by referencing some reasons why you have been fortunate, like having strong family support, great mentors, inspiring bosses, or a solid education at an outstanding school. Factors like these point to strengths in your background that will be interpreted by interviewers as a sound basis for future achievements.
So you could say "I have had the good fortune to have been influenced by a variety of strong men and women during my developmental years. My mom, my 9th-grade economics teacher, and my first boss at IBM all saw promise in me and set high expectations for my academic and work performance."
Connecting Your Qualifying Assets to Your Good Fortune
Be careful to avoid attributing your successes to mere “luck.” Focus on the core qualities and skills that have brought you success, especially those assets essential for excellence in the job you're interviewing for. In this way, you are demonstrating that you make your own luck, rather than waiting for good things to come to you. This kind of answer will showcase your strengths as well as underscore your positive attitude.
For example, if you wanted to relate the strength of your writing skills for a writing intensive job, you might say "I was fortunate enough to have Professor Jones for my entrepreneurship class where he insisted on composing concise, compelling, and well-researched business plans."
Referencing Challenges Can Add Credibility to Your Answer
Everyone is confronted with difficult circumstances at some juncture in their life. The ability to recognize and effectively overcome obstacles distinguishes high achievers from other workers. You can share stories regarding how you have met and overcome some challenges or adversity, such as a particularly difficult project, a past employer going out of business, an athletic injury, death or illness of a parent, or frequent moves as a child and adolescent.
Although you should explain how you rebounded or coped with the challenge, make sure you convey that it is no longer a distraction or drain on your energy and has instead resulted in a strong sense of confidence and resilience. For example, you might say, "My childhood did have its challenges. My dad worked for the army and we moved six times during my elementary and high schools years. Each time I needed to establish new relationships with peers, coaches, and teachers which was really difficult.
But I think it taught me to adapt to different situations, meet new people, and develop close relationships quickly."
More Sample Answers
- I am lucky in that I have been able to survive difficult times due to my tenacity and strong work ethic. For example, when my former company was considering shutting down our branch, I worked relentlessly with my colleagues to increase our sales by over 15%, avoiding a shutdown.
- I consider myself extremely lucky in that I was given a remarkable education at XYZ University. I have worked hard to take full advantage of that education, participating in multiple internships and extracurricular activities in which I developed the skills and leadership qualities that make me the strong project manager I am today.
- I was very lucky to have an uncle who was a very successful businessman. He took an interest in me at an early age and saw promise in me as a business person. Uncle Bob took me to work and let me shadow his daily activities. I saw the impact that he had on his co-workers and his excitement when he was closing a deal. All this inspired me to pursue a business career and to be an effective business leader.
- It hasn't always been good fortune for me. I loved football as a kid and got the chance to be a featured running back in my junior year in high school. During the third game, I suffered a severe knee injury and tore my ACL and MCL. After surgery, the doctor cautioned me that it was unlikely that I would ever be able to play football again. I was devastated but after a couple of weeks decided that I would do everything in my control to get back on the field. I spent countless hours in therapy, the gym, and the weight room rehabbing and finally got back on the field during the latter part of my senior year. I was no longer a star, but proud that I had worked so hard to recover what I could.