Personal mission statement, you vision, or the direction you want to pursue in your life. Employers may ask about these things in an interview, trying to understand better who you are, what matters for you, and what place the employment with them have in your heart, or at least on your career plan.
You have likely never thought about these things before. You are young, live for the present moment, and the world changes too quickly anyway. With the virus pandemic, climate crisis, and the imminent danger of worldwide conflict hanging in the air, it doesn’t make much sense to think about the far future. Or does it?
But personal mission statement isn’t necessarily about the future. It can also explain your attitude to life, to work, to people around you, to planet Earth. And that’s exactly what you should focus on while talking about your PMS (mission statement, not a premenstrual syndrome :)) in a job interview.
Let’s have a look at some sample answers to this tricky interview question. My selection includes some typical choices, but also some unconventional ways of answering the question. Enjoy!
7 sample answers to “What is your personal mission statement?” interview question
- My personal mission statement is to always try my very best. To give my hundred percent to everything I do, at work, in personal relationships, but also in my studies. In my opinion, life isn’t worth living if you do not try your best. At least that’s what I believe into, the philosophy I try to follow.
- Every action matters. That’s what I believe. There’s too much hate in the hearts of people, and too many differences in the human society. How is it possible that we throw 30% of food to rubbish, and somewhere else people have nothing to eat? I try to do something with this, and of course every decision we make impacts everyone else in the world. I try to make conscious decisions, always thinking about the effect of my choices.
- Learning never stops. That’s the motto I try to follow in my life. Because it is so easy to lose humility, to think that we already know everything, that we can quit learning and others should start learning from us. But that’s a road to hell, at least in my opinion. I want to constantly work on my skills, and I believe that we can learn something from each human being–even the lowest ranked in the hierarchy of our society. Hence I try to approach everyone with respect, ready to listen and learn from them.
- Don’t do to others what you do not want them to do to you. I wished everyone had this mission statement. It would make life so much better, both in the workplace and in life in general. I try to follow this to the point, and not only when we talk about human relations. I do not eat animals, and I do not treat them badly. It is a great feeling, and I am happy with my choices.
- I am not into the hype of setting personal mission statements. Look, I try to live my life as well as I can. But there is a lot of uncertainty in the world at the moment. It is hard to predict what tomorrow will bring, and dreaming about some beautiful vision of world peace, and happy humans everywhere, is just a fallacy for naive people. I do not have a PMS, but I can assure you that I know why I apply for a job with you, and what role it has on my career plan. Do you want me to elaborate on it?
- Live in the present moment. That’s my personal mission statement. But many people do not understand it right, so let me explain. Living in the present doesn’t mean drinking each evening and partying as if there was no tomorrow. It simply means to give our full attention, 100% focus, to the activity we are doing right now. Be it a phone call with the client, eating ice cream, or playing with your child. When you succeed to stay in the present, and escape the prison of useless thoughts about what happened, didn’t happen, what could have happened and will happen, life gets an entirely new dimension. I wished everyone experienced this at least one. Because such an experience can transform you, and nothing is the same anymore…
- My personal mission statement is to not have any such statements. At the end of the day, most people just search for this online, and it’s an empty phrase on their resume. It has often nothing to do with the reality. I want my actions to talk for me, not some statements or sentences from my resume. You can call any of my former managers, or even my schoolmates, and ask about the feedback on my work. Or you can give me a chance in this great organization, and see for yourself how hard I try. But I am not going to try to convince you with some mission statement or empty words.
If possible, try to refer to the employment
Your PMS does not have to have anything with work, at least not directly. But you should try to make at least some reference. You try hard in everything you do? Fine, so tell them it applies also to your work, to every activity you do for your employer.
Learning never stops for you? Tell them that you want to continue your education in the job, trying to improve on your weakness, and ensuring that you stay on the top of the game.
Do you try to live in the present moment? Why not, that’s a great philosophy! But you can explain it on an example of eating an apple, but also while describing how you give your full attention to the client you try to sell something to.
Be careful to not burn the bridges
I suggest you to avoid sensitive topics in an interview, such as religion, politics, or even some personal beliefs. Look at the sample answer no. 4 as an interesting example. The job candidate says she’s a vegetarian. This can work great, if the interviewers also avoid eating meat.
More often than not, however, they will eat meat. Omnivores have a huge prevalence in Western society. And they may also think that vegetarians and vegans are crazy, because many people think so… Hence I would suggest shortening this answer, and avoiding the part about vegetarianism.
You’ll have time to convince them about the advantages of this diet later on, when you work together and they see how great you feel, how fit and healthy you are. Before it can happen, however, you have to get the job first. Build bridges, not fences.
Do not be afraid of an unconventional answer
A typical day of a hiring manager: The first interview starts at 8am, and the last one ends at 7pm. They talked to eight people, mostly listening to the same answers from everyone.
It’s not easy to choose the winner, especially if the candidates do not differ much in terms of their education and working experience. It’s not easy, because everyone opted for more or less typical interview answers.
You can try to break the trend, coming up with something unconventional. Interview question about personal mission statement is a great opportunity to do so. You can say that you are not into mission statement (see sample answer no. 5), or even that your statement is to “not have any statements” (sample answer no. 7).
Your answer may leave the recruiters puzzled for while, but you can be sure they will remember it. And remembering your answers means remembering you, at the end of the day…
Ready to answer this one? I hope so! Check also 7 sample answers to other tricky interview questions:
- Have you ever been fired?
- Where do you see yourself in five years time?
- Do you smoke or drink alcohol?