We are young until we dare to dream. So what would you love to do, if no limits existed? If you could break all the chains of your inner prison? Perhaps you’d love to preside a big corporation, or an entire economy? Or you’d run your own business? Maybe you would change roles with Rafa Nadal, hitting a tennis ball, having a gorgeous wife, and earning millions of dollars each month just because you wear a certain brand of shoes or watch?

What you dream about (however secretly), and what you should talk about in your job interview, are typically two different things. In this article we will analyze the “What is your dream job?” interview question, starting with 7 sample answers. Enjoy!

 

7 sample answers to “What is your dream job?” interview question

  1. I am applying for a dream job right now. I always considered nursing my calling, and I love to be around children, helping them to cope with difficult situations. To work in a children hospital would be a dream come true for me. And I’ve done all I could to make it come true.
  2. I would love to manage a big team, or perhaps an entire company one day. To have a power to decide about important things and to change something in the economy. Perhaps to have some positive impact in the world, or at least in the life of my colleagues and subordinates. But I am just starting my professional career, I have to learn a lot and gain experience. I consider a job in a big international corporation a good starting point on my way to the future dream job.
  3. To be honest, I do not know. I am still trying to understand my position in the world, how I can be useful for society, and at the same time enjoy my time on the Earth. Right now, however, I need to make money, to pay bills, and that’s the main priority at the moment.
  4. I am looking for a place where I can grow as a person and as a manager. Ideally it would be working in a diverse team of personalities, in a place where colleagues enrich each other with knowledge and experience. That would be a dream job–perhaps I can find one with you?
  5. I do not dream about something extraordinary. Simply a well-paid job, one that isn’t nerve-racking, and one that will allow me to spend enough quality time with my family. Starting early and leaving early each day is my idea of a dream job, so I can spend the afternoons with my kids.
  6. Well, to be honest, my dream job is to work as a professional athlete. I have always admire professional tennis players and golf players, and the lifestyle they lead. Having said, that, one has to be realistic. I’m 27 already, and though I am a decent soccer player and can hit a tennis ball, I am too old to pursue my dream career. I tried it before, and it didn’t work. But I honestly believe that one can be happy in almost any job, as long as they have a good attitude, and earn decent money for their work.
  7. I thought that child protective services was my dream job. Boy, what a wake-up call it was… I got the job, but after having it for one year, and seeing how little difference I actually managed to make in the lives of the children, and how tough mentally it was to cope with it, my dream job turned into a nightmare. Now I do not have any dream job. I will be happy with any job in which I can actually achieve something for the target group, and at the same time it isn’t as incredibly demanding mentally as cps…

 

The best case: You are applying for your dream job

This is the best possible scenario, and the easiest one to address. The job you are applying for right now happens to be your dream job. Teachers, nurses, social workers, and other professionals often find themselves in this enviable position.

They apply for a job with meaningful purpose. They consider it their calling, they always wanted to do the work (since childhood). Now they are finally interviewing for their dream job, in a good institution or company, and they struggle to hide their enthusiasm.

You are lucky if this is also your case. All you have to do is saying that your dream job is exactly the one you are trying to get with the company/organization. You are telling the truth, and the answer makes sense with most jobs in teaching, healthcare, and scientific research.

* Special Tip: This isn’t the most difficult question you will face while interviewing for any decent job. You will face questions about prioritization, dealing with pressure, solving problems, 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 50 tricky scenario based questions (+ more) will make your life much easier in the interviews. Thank you for checking it out!

A scene from a nursing job interview, three interviewers and a female job candidate

They can help you to get your dream job in the future

Rome wasn’t built in a day. And the same will be true about your castle of gold (or sand).

If you are applying for a typical corporate job, your first position won’t be in the upper management. You have to start somewhere, learn, progress, until you can eventually get the job of your dreams, becoming a big corporate animal, or the wolf of wall street if you want.

This is perfectly fine for the hiring managers, as long as you can reach your desired goal within the company. Let me give you an example:

You dream of a job of a marketing director, running big campaigns which can make an impact in some part of the world. Right now, however, you are applying for a job of a marketing trainee. That’s the first step for almost everyone in marketing.

But there is also a position of a marketing director in the company–maybe the director leads the interview with you. They have been with the business for 20 years, climbed the ladder step by step. Why wouldn’t it be possible for you to have their job, one day in the future? They will eventually retire, and someone will replace them anyway. Why couldn’t it be you?

In this case, you can again talk honestly about your dream job. Everything will make a perfect sense for the interviewers.

 

More distant connection–one that still makes sense

Let me give you another example. You apply for a job of an accountant in a small business. They do not run an accounting department or anything similar. You will be the only person responsible for keeping the books. And your dream is to become a financial manager one day.

Certainly you can’t reach your dreams within their company–since they have no financial managers, they are just a small company, they need just one accountant.

But working for them, overseeing the entire accounting of the company, you will learn a lot about finances and cash flow, and it will help you immensely in the future, once you are ready to apply for your dream job somewhere else.

Even in this case you can be honest about your dream job, because your answer will make sense for your interviewer(s). Let’s have a look at more difficult scenarios.

 

Your dream job has nothing to do with the job you are trying to get right now

In many cases, it would sound ridiculous if you claimed that you were applying for your dream job. Sweeping streets, working as a waiter in a busy restaurant, having a simple administrative job, flipping burgers, and so on, and so forth.

These are no dream jobs for anyone. We apply for them simply because we need money to live, and because we can’t get anything better at the moment. So what to do if an interviewer inquires about your dream job in this case? You actually have a few good options.

Four young people nervously wait for their chance in an interview with a big company.

Tell them that you do not know

You can tell them that you are just starting your career, trying to understand the world and your position in it, trying to find your calling. You need money to live–and a job to make money, of course, but so far you are not sure what your dream job is, what you’d love to do in the future.

They have to accept this answer, and almost always they will be satisfied with your words. Since you do not dream big (or at least pretend not to), you won’t have a reason to quit your new monotonous job with a ridiculous salary. Or at least that’s what they will think when you give them this answer.

 

Focus on expectations, not job titles

A completely different approach consist in focusing on your expectations, rather than job titles or a dream salary. For example, you can say that a dream job is one in which you’ll grow as a person, or as a manager, accountant, communications specialist, etc. I hope you got the point.

Alternatively you can say how such a dream job will impact your life, what options it will give you. Traveling the world, (business trips), getting to know people from different cultures and walks of life (working in a multinational corporation in a diverse team), allowing you to spend enough quality time with your family (short working hours).

The options are endless, and what you talk about really depends on your expectations on life and work

 

Final thoughts, next steps

Dreaming shouldn’t be the privilege of children. Each of us can have some dreams, and we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about them in an interview (or anywhere else).

The key is to explain them in a way that our job application will make sense to the interviewers–that we either apply for our dream job, or for one that will allow us to get one step closer to the dream, or that we don’t know…

Think about your life for a while, inspire yourself with our sample answers, and write your answer to the interview question about your dream job. Once done, you can continue your interview preparation, learning how to answer some other tough questions:

Matthew Chulaw
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