Personal growth does not happen within the limits of our comfort zone. Facing unknown situations, we have to come up with new ideas, and our intellectual capacities are challenged. We learn something new, and devour in the satisfaction of overcoming an obstacle.
But is this really necessary, and true for all jobs? I do not think so. Interview questions about challenges definitely makes sense in managerial interviews, and interviews for creative and artistic jobs. But it makes a little sense in many other cases, such as repetitive jobs in retail, or jobs in public institutions.
Let’s have a look at 7 great sample answers to this question, and to the two most common alternatives, “What challenges do you think you will face in this job?” and “What do you see as the main challenge of this role?”. Do not forget to read also the text below the sample answers, in order to understand a few crucial things to keep on your mind when answering this question in your job interview.
7 sample answers to “What challenges are you looking for in a position?” interview question
- I hope to be challenged intellectually with tough programming puzzles, and with writing code that I have never written before. I enjoy to work on innovative things, and to devise my own way of solving different problems in application design and functionality. Your company works on many interesting mobile apps, unique products on the mobile market. I am sure that such work will be challenging enough to motivate me, and to help me grow as a programmer.
- I am looking forward to put my management and organization skills to the test. This company grows very quickly, and I’ve been never working in this field before. I am sure that I will be confronted with many unknown situations, and will have to often decide on the spot, and solve a lot of problems. But that’s exactly the sort of work that attracts me the most, because I hate routine and love to be intellectually challenged.
- Speaking honestly, I am not looking for any challenges in my new job, and that’s exactly why I apply for work in your restaurant. I worked in a similar place before, know the ins and outs of this business. Something may still surprise me, of course, but it likely won’t be a big surprise. At this stage of my career I prefer to have my daily routine, and to benefit from the experience I’ve accumulated over the years. No need to be challenged with the unknown anymore, since I experience a tricky situation in my personal life which is challenging enough.
- More than anything else, I am looking for a change. As you can see on my resume, I’ve worked in a completely different field before. But I got tired with my job, with the industry practices. Looking for something new, I am sure I will find the transition challenging, and will have to deal with some problems. But that’s exactly what I am looking for right now in my life.
- I want to challenge my physical abilities. Having a sedentary job for the past fifteen years, I feel I got lazy, and my physical condition deteriorated. Speaking honestly, I do not like the image I see in the mirror each morning. That’s why I applied for a job on the farm, though I may look overqualified, and apt for other kind of jobs. But I cannot stand this sedentary lifestyle anymore. I need to challenge my muscles, to give my body something to do, some exercise, some movement, and a lot of it. I can’t stand looking at the computer screen for ten hours a day any longer.
- The most challenging thing for me about this job is definitely leadership. I had managerial roles before, but I never spearheaded the entire organization. And to manage and lead are two different things which require different approaches. Good manager is not necessarily a good leader. But I am eager to explore this new field. I’ve learned a lot over the years, and feel ready to face my new challenge. Actually I can’t wait to start.
- After long years of studies, I am finally looking for practical work in the field. I know that school cannot prepare us for the real challenges of the job. Many things will surprise me, and I will often depend on help of my mentors, the more experienced colleagues. But this is exactly what I am looking for in a position. To bridge the gap between theory and reality, to become a skilled healthcare professional.
Challenges does not have to be only intellectual
You do not have to talk solely about intellectual challenges. Maybe your body needs some physical challenge, or you are simply diving into unknown waters (a completely new field of employment), or you are exploring some new forms of work (interim position, work from home, etc).
The key is to show the interviewers that there is something in your new job that will challenge your existing capacities, and that you embrace such a challenge. They should get an impression that you aren’t in only for money, and want to grow us a person in their organization.
* Special Tip: This isn’t the only tricky question you will face while interviewing for any decent job. You will face questions about prioritization, dealing with pressure, dealing with ambiguity, and other situations that happen in every 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 make your life much easier in the interviews. Thank you for checking it out!
If you aren’t looking for any challenge, explain why
In some stages of our career, or certain life situations (struggling with money, facing uncertainty or a loss), the last thing we are looking for is a challenging job. Sometimes all we need is our daily routine and regular monthly income, and a clear head at the end of the shift. Because we are challenged a lot outside of work…
Nothing wrong about that, and each sensible interviewer will understand–as long as you explain your attitude. See sample answer no. 3 as a good example of this situation.
Try to show positive attitude to challenges
At the end of the day, each new job presents some challenges. Even if you did the same work for years, you will meet new people in your new job, and spend your days in a different working environment. Two identical placements do not exist in two different companies.
Interviewers shouldn’t get an impression that you are scared of the unknown. It may take time until you manage to get along with your new colleagues and get accustomed to new routines, but it’s all completely natural and nobody expect you to excel from day one.
Try to speak positively about the challenges, and show some courage. We are young as along as we aren’t afraid to start something from scratch. Young in our soul :).
Ready to answer this one? Check also 7 sample answers to other tricky interview questions:
- Interview Success Package – Premium answers to all 104 tricky interview questions.
- Tell me about a time when you had to comply with a policy or procedure you didn’t agree with.
- Have you ever worked on a project that was a failure?