We learn something new our entire life. Every job is an opportunity to grow, and to become better in our field. But is this really what people are looking for in jobs? And don’t 95% of us work only because we have to, because we need money to live, and to pay our bills? Perhaps it is the case, or we are looking for less workload and less pressure in our next role. As you can likely imagine though, most hiring managers won’t be satisfied with such an answer in your interview. So what should you actually say?

First of all, you should be optimistic about the future. Regardless of whether you are in your early twenties or late fifties, there’s still something interesting waiting for you. You should show curiosity, and a desire to learn new things, and achieve something in your new job. And while you certainly have a lot to gain–at least a nice salary, hopefully, you also want to give something back

Some of these concepts may seem abstract to you, but I hope they will make more sense once you read the sample answers below. I tried to include in my selection answers for a variety of life situations and job fields, as well as couple of rather unconventional answers. Hopefully at least one will resonate with your desires, and with the message you want to convey in your interviews. Do not forget to read also my closing notes afterwards, to make sure you won’t make the same mistake many job seekers make when answering this tricky interview question.


7 sample answers to “What are you looking for in your next role?”

  1. First and foremost I am looking for new challenges, intellectually speaking. I’ve had my entry level job for two years already, learned the ins and outs of financial analysis, and understood the expectations one has to meet in an international corporation. But the job has become excessively repetitive, and I feel I am stagnating. There’s not anything else I can learn in my present job. That’s why I hope to get promoted, gain more responsibility, and a chance to implement my own ideas at work. That’s what I am looking for right now, and the reason no. 1 why I applied for the promotion.
  2. More than anything else, I am looking for a better collective in the workplace. Do not want to complain, or say bad things about my former colleagues, but the situation was far from ideal really. Many people did not speak to each other, we had conflicts on daily basis, and one had to be afraid what they said while in the office. And though I tried my best, and did what I could to have good relationships with most people, one cannot really be happy in such a working environment. The energy just isn’t good, and you cannot really focus on the core of your work. That’s why I left the place, and am looking for something different in my next role.
  3. I am looking for a change. Worked in IT for twelve years, did a lot of good work, but also spent tens of thousands of hours in front of a computer screen. Now I want to try something new. And I know I won’t earn the same amount of money I did earn in IT, and will have to learn many new things, but that’s exactly what I am looking for. Because I experienced a burnout, and cannot really sustain programming any longer. I hope you will give me a chance here, and I am motivated to learn and try my best to become a valuable member of your HR team.
  4. Honestly speaking, I am looking for exactly the same as I was looking for in my last role. A nice job in a small cafeteria, taking care of customers, maintaining the place clean, having my routine, enjoying the interactions with people. But the place where I have worked had to close, the owner had some other plans, and I had to go. That’s why I am seeking a job again, but I cannot say I missed anything important in my last job, and am really looking for something similar.
  5. Speaking honestly, I am looking for a better salary. I do not want to sound as if money mattered to me more than anything else, because that’s not the case. But I believe that with my level of experience, and my commitment at work, I deserve more than I am earning with my present employer. Discussed the issue with the manager, repeatedly. They always promised me a raise, but I never really got it. That’s why I am looking for a new job. I have read a lot about your place, the designs you work on here. I like it, as well as the salary offer. Everything considered, I believe I can still grow here as an engineer, and at the same time earn a salary appropriate to my skills and level of experience.
  6. What I am looking for? Well, more than anything else I am looking for a meaningful purpose. Because I didn’t see it in my last job. You cannot imagine how abstract it was. I spent days working with data, entering them to spreadsheets and analyzing them, but I never really understood the purpose, and my managers couldn’t tell it either. Sure, we were earning good money, and could enjoy nice weekends… But is this really what’s life about? I want to see an impact of my work, I want to help change something to better in the world, or at least in the local community. That’s why I am applying for a job in social work, because one can see the impact they have on their target group of people. It is real, tangible, emotional. Completely different to the job I had before.
  7. I am looking for a peace of mind. The workload was enormous in my last job. We earned peanuts and worked crazy hours, always under pressure. That’s not something one can sustain for long enough. Of course, when you are young and just starting your career, you have to accept basically any jobs. Because your resume is just a blank sheet of paper, and you won’t get many chances. But my resume isn’t blank anymore. I’ve worked hard in two places, gained working experience, and I believe to be ready to get something better now. Position of a retail sales associate in your amazing store seems like a perfect choice.


Your verbal and non-verbal communication has to correspond

Many people do the following mistake in the interviews: On one hand, they speak about amazing things they are looking for in their next role. On the other hand, they sound as if they were talking at a funeral, in front of a group of mourners. Remember that your words make up only for 15% of the message you send over. The rest is your non-verbal communication.

Now, it doesn’t mean that you have to jump up from your chair while describing your expectations, and what you are seeing in your next job. But in order to believe you, they have to hear some enthusiasm in your voice, see some sparkle in your eye, and generally get an impression that you are really looking forward to your next role…

Do not be afraid to express your emotions, without getting emotional

Job interview is a formal meeting, but at the end of the day, hiring managers are people from flesh and bones, just like you and me. They also have their problems, things they like about their job and things they’d love to change.

Do not hesitate to share your emotions with them. Maybe you couldn’t sustain the workload anymore, or you didn’t feel recognized for all the effort you put in, or you just didn’t find a way how to cooperate with your colleagues effectively, though you tried your best to foster good relationships in the workplace. And that’s why you are looking for a change, a peace of mind, better collective, or simply for something different. Most hiring managers will understand such feelings, and they will appreciate your openness in the interviews

Ready to answer this tricky interview question? I hope so! Do not forget to check also sample answers to other interview questions:

Matthew Chulaw
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