Answering "What Are You Looking For in a New Job?"

What are you looking for in a new job? You can guarantee the interviewer wants to know why you're looking for a new job while you're in a job interview. It's one of the most often asked interview questions.

"Why are you searching for a new opportunity?" or "Why are you quitting your current job?" are two examples of questions that might be asked.

what are you looking for in a new job

Your response to this question can reveal a lot about you and if you're a good match for the job, so it's a good idea to think about it ahead of time. They'll be on the lookout for any potential red flags. How do you manage dispute resolution, for example? Are you planning to depart soon after you've been hired? What role have you played in the circumstance you want to get out of? They can be concerned if you say terrible things about your prior employer, as they worry if you would one day say negative things about them as well.

What the hiring manager wants to know

When applying for a new job, be prepared to answer inquiries regarding why you're leaving or have already left your current employment. The reasons for people leaving employment frequently reveal a lot more about the people who are leaving than the work itself. The interviewer is attempting to determine what type of employee you will be if recruited.

If you are, the interviewer needs to know:

  • A good team player who works well with others.
  • The new company's culture was a terrific fit.
  • When discussing difficult topics, he is diplomatic.
  • If you're employed, you should plan on staying at the new firm.

How to answer this interview question

Job seekers should prepare a simple answer by:

  • Considering their career path/career goals (or career aspirations).
  • Understanding why their last job didn't work out.
  • Understanding what they're looking for in their next job.
  • Preparing a simple and honest answer for their potential employer.

All answers should take less than 90-seconds to recite.

Tips for giving the best response

How to answer this question during your job search.

Frame your response such that the interviewer has no doubt that the job you're looking for is a good fit for your personal and professional objectives. Instead of focusing on the past and any unpleasant experiences you can have had at your previous work, your response should lead to a conversation about why you want the position and why you're the ideal candidate for it.

The interviewer is searching for a response that will assist in making a recruiting choice. While the nature of your response will vary depending on whether you left freely or were forced to leave, it's critical to respond in a favorable light.

Focus on your skills

The applicant in this case begins their response by emphasizing their talents and abilities. This is an excellent chance to discuss what sets you apart from other contenders. This can include any additional work you've done, projects you're pleased with, or even further education you've taken that demonstrates the value you'll bring to their team.

Focus on staying positive

In this case, the candidate ties their abilities to a direct response to the question. This is a more positive way of stating that their present company's goal does not connect with them or that they are unable to discover chances to accomplish the work they desire. Apply the same concept to any reason you're searching for work by framing your response as a positive, opportunity-driven statement.

what are you looking for in a new job

Connect your answer to the job

This is where doing some study on the job description and firm can help you come up with a thoughtful response that your interviewers will appreciate. You can discuss how your abilities and history make you the appropriate person for the job by recalling facts from the job description or company from your study.

Consider the following question: "What are you searching for in a job?" Then, by bridging the gap between what the company is looking for in a candidate and what you have to offer, you can help the employer.

Prepare for follow up questions

The interviewer can ask for further information or ask you follow-up questions depending on the reason for your leaving. Here are some suggestions for dealing with the ongoing discussion.

what are you looking for in a new job

Be sincere

It's good to be honest about why things weren't going so well at your prior work, but return the topic to why that would make you such a valuable employee today. You might explain, for example, that you were disappointed by a lack of possibilities at your previous work.

Begin by listing some of your major successes, then move on to how you overcame obstacles as you attempted to accomplish more. If you can relate your answer back to why the position you're looking for is a better match since you'll have more opportunities, you'll get additional points.

Prepare your responses in advance

It's critical to think about and prepare an answer to this question ahead of time. You want to come out as real and sincere, but you also don't want to fumble when responding. Prepare a succinct yet honest response, excluding any personal information.

Avoid negativity

Don't criticize your bosses, coworkers, or your previous job. You can, however, speak broadly about corporate goals or express your dissatisfaction with the company's current path. Don't make your reaction too personal. You could criticize a coworker only to discover that he or she has a close relationship with the interviewer.

what are you looking for in a new job


Prepare your replies so that you come out as upbeat and confident. Practicing in front of a mirror or in front of a friend or family member, even if it feels ridiculous, can help you feel more comfortable answering this tough topic. This is especially true if you were fired or laid off. Give a quick, straightforward, and unemotional response in such a scenario.

What not to say

It's OK to be open and honest, and you shouldn't lie, but there are some things you shouldn't say in an interview.

Here's what hiring managers don't want to hear:

Don't be negative about your past job

Whatever you do, don't disparage your former employer, coworkers, or organization. The way you respond to this question reveals a lot about your work personality and beliefs.

what are you looking for in a new job

Avoid speaking about salary

Unless the interviewer brings it up first, don't bring up salary during the first interview.

Don't embellish your response

Don't go overboard with your planned response. When asked why you're leaving your present work, keep your answer as concise as possible and redirect the conversation to the new role and why you'd be a good match. Don't go beyond your prepared response since you could get caught up in something you don't want to say.

Example answers

Example answers to this common interview question.

what are you looking for in a new job

Sample answer #1

“Through volunteer opportunities and side projects, I've been honing my project management abilities, and I got my PMP last quarter. I'm searching for a job where I can put those skills to good use for a cause that I care about. I was also delighted to see in the job description that this position would involve regular presentations to important stakeholders—one of my major motivators is the ability to interact with colleagues and convey my team's work, so this is a very exciting aspect of this opportunity for me.

Finally, I've learned a lot in my present position, but I'm looking for the next step where I can continue to grow and apply the skills I've developed at a business I adore, and this position appears to be a perfect fit.”

what are you looking for in a new job

Sample answer #2

"My prior employment provided me with significant abilities, but I was no longer enthused or pushed by the work. I'm eager for new challenges and the opportunity to make a difference in a new role."

Sample answer #3

"After attempting to make the job work, I recognized that I could be a better fit for another career that was more in line with my objectives and ambitions. While losing a job is never pleasant, I learned a lot from it and have progressed in many areas. I'd be delighted to tell you about how I've progressed, what I've learned, and how I'll apply those lessons and talents to your organization."

what are you looking for in a new job

Sample answer #4

"Due to family obligations, I'm transferring to this region and have resigned from my prior employment."

what are you looking for in a new job

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo,, SparkHire,,, FairyGodBoss,, St. Edwards University, NC State University,, Thrive Global,, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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