Hand on heart, most people work because they have to.

We have bills to pay and kids to feed. The way our “modern” society functions, we have to go to work to make money, which allows us to exist and to satisfy our basic needs. That’s the bare reality, without sweet words and nice phrases. A truly honest answer to this interview question will therefore be something like:

My new job is a means of making money, and thus allowing me to survive and to take care of my family (or of myself).

But you do not have to be an expert interview coach to tell that employers do not want to hear such answers in the interviews. At least certainly not from people they want to hire for the job.

They live in their small bubble, believing that their company is super important, and the world would collapse if they suddenly ceased to exist

a man is ready to burst a bubble with a needle


Some jobs have a meaningful purpose. Or perhaps all of them?

Anyway, I do not want to be too philosophical (I’d love to be, but understand that you did not come here to read philosophy). In fact many jobs have the so called “meaningful purpose”.

Applying for a job of a school teacher, nurse, or a social worker? The reason why these jobs exist is obvious, and you will easily find a good answer to “What are you looking for in your new job” question.

Just say that you love to help people, that you feel personal satisfaction from doing it, or that the new job will allow you to finally follow the calling you’ve always felt deep in your heart.

Easy-peasy. But what to do if you apply for a typical corporate job, such as a clerk, secretary, financial analyst, marketing manager, etc?

Actually, you have quite a lot of options. And we will look at them right now.


The simple answer: you enjoy doing what people do in the job

At the end of the day, all of us have 24 hours to live a day, no more, no less. We have to spend the allotted  time somehow, and bearing the reasons explained in the beginning of this article, a big chunk of our time we will spend in work.

So why not doing something we enjoy doing?

You can therefor say that in your new job, you are simply looking forward to do something you enjoy doing, and earn money for doing that.

It can be anything from running marketing campaigns to helping your boss enjoy their time in work, from doing financial analysis to leading a small group of people.

Everything is about interaction with other people and systems, and you simply say that you enjoy the kind of interaction the particular job offers. Most recruiters will be contend with such an answer.


Future oriented answer: What you want to do in five, or ten years

Honestly, I consider this answer a product of brainwashing of the typical Western educational system, where we are constantly told to look forward, to think about the future, instead of enjoying the present moment and experiencing the beauty it always has to offer.

Honestly, it makes no sense to have a job you hate for five years, just to be able to get a better one (which you may also hate eventually) later on. But for typical corporate recruiter or hiring manager (who’s constantly brainwashed in his job), such an answer makes sense, and they will give you a lot of credit for it.

For example:

I see this job as an excellent springboard for my career in Finance. Hopefully once I have it for long enough I can become an Analyst, or Financial Advisor.

My ultimate goal is to be a General Manager at IBM. But I have to start from the bottom, I know it, and always keep in mind my final goal. (take this one with a grain of salt :))

Job interview, one candidate and two interviewers, all women in their late twenties

Psychic answer: One that will make them think

Obviously, many forces are active in our life. It’s not only what we do, but also how we feel, how we experience the world around us.

Sometimes, all we look for in as new job is a change. A better working environment, a different routine, new colleagues (and perhaps a new partner we may find among them), and so on.

If you refer to one of these things in your answer, and throw in some emotions to the mix, you can be sure about one thing: the interviewers will remember your answer. And that is always something good. The more specific you will be, the more authentic it will sound. Let me show you an example. What are you looking for in this position?

More than anything else I look for new places and new faces. I didn’t enjoy my last job anymore, the work was monotonous, and I believe that in a company driven by innovation like yours, I should find different feelings and experiences. I really look forward to it.

* Special Tip: This isn’t the only difficult question you will face while interviewing for any decent job. You will face questions about prioritization, dealing with pressure, dealing with ambiguity, and other tricky scenarios that happen in the workplace. If you want to make sure that you stand out with your answers and outclass your competitors, have a look at our Interview Success Package. Up to 10 premium answers to 31 tricky scenario based questions (+ more) will help you streamline your interview preparation, and eventually outclass your competitors and get the job. Thank you for checking it out!


Focusing on the past: Try to avoid this one

I have heard it many times in the interviews: “The last place where I worked was just horrible.” “My boss was a complete idiot, I couldn’t stand working under them anymore.” “You can’t imagine the guests of my last restaurant. Every shift was basically an attempt to survive. ”

Many people simply want to get rid of an old one–and that’s what they are looking for in their new job–it is their means of abandoning the old place and everything they hated about it.

However, this isn’t a good answer. You should always try to avoid bringing negative energy to the interview, and what is more, nobody wants to hire en employee who have a tendency to complain about their colleagues, bosses or customers, or simply about everything… So I suggest you to skip this one.


Summary, next tough questions

Interview is a sales talk. The real reasons for our choices, and the reasons we should talk about in an interview, are often completely different.

Nevertheless, as I have just shown you, there are many good reasons to refer to when they ask you What are you looking for in your new job. Try to pick one of them, ideally one you can, at least somehow, identify with.

The most important thing is to say something, because unless there’s something you’ll looking forward to in your new job, you will struggle with motivation. And no employer wants to hire someone who will struggle with motivation or effort from day one…

Learn how to answer other tough interview questions:

Matthew Chulaw
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