3 Example Answers To "What Is Your Dream Job?" Interview Question

When in an interview and the hiring manager asks you, “What is your dream job?” you might be thrown off a little. How do you answer this question? Is this a trick question? We’re going to cover why the interviewer is asking you this and how to answer.

First, let’s dig into why they ask you this question.

Why The Interviewer Asks This Question

This is a leading interview question. Meaning, the interviewer is trying to understand more about who you are rather than your fit for the job or role. Which gives you an advantage when answering the question.

But what’s important when you answer this question is to be sure that you aren’t telling the interviewer that you lack passion for the area of work you are applying for.

The interviewer wants to know that you have a general passion for what you do for work. If your passion doesn’t exist in this focus area, why would they want to hire you for it? They’d be worried that you’d be lacking enthusiasm for the work.

What A Good Answer Looks Like

A good answer to this question is one that gives a vague understanding of the qualities of the job you are interested in. You don’t have to say something that directly lines up with the job you are applying for. But you need to say something regarding the qualities of the job you are applying for and how that’s your dream job.

Let’s give an example, answer. This is what a good answer looks like: “I want to surround myself by those who are passionate about moving the needle forward. A collaborative, thought-provoking, honest, humble and enthusiastic environment where innovation can exist. That’s what my dream job looks like.”

See how when answering this question we gave some focus to the quality of the work. Rather than the focus area.

What A Bad Answer Looks Like

A bad answer to this interview question is one that most people answer with. It’s something that’s not related to the job function at all. For example, if you are applying for a software engineering role and you say that your dream job is to be a chef, then you lose some credibility over your passion for the job.

A bad answer looks like this, “My dream job would be as a chef. Sure, I love working as a software engineer but my true passion is working with food.”

That’s a bad answer because while it may be true, it makes it appear as though you lack a lot of enthusiasm for this job you are applying to. Avoid answers like that.

Is This Department Specific

Let’s say you are applying for the marketing department, when an interviewer asks, “What is your dream job?” should it differ than those who are applying to the product department? The answer is no. As long as you answer the question with the general qualities of the job you are looking for, you should be fine. You don’t want your answer to be overly descriptive. If the hiring manager asks you to explain more about the type of dream job you are looking for after answering, do your best to describe scenarios which put your answer to work. But again, stay higher level with your response.

Why Is This Question Important

This interview question is important because hiring mangers don’t want to place someone in an environment where they need to be heavily motivated. Self-motivation is the best type of motivation. And that only comes when someone is very passionate about the work the have in front of them. Your goal should be to show the hiring manager that your passion exists within the organization.

When you are thinking about ways to answer this question for the job you are applying to, be sure you tailor or customize your answer to their environment. For example, if you know that they don’t have the most collaborative environment, avoid using that word. Because that could make the hiring manager feel like you are searching for a job or environment which they can’t offer.

It’s vital to think through what type of environment the company has and how your answer could align or parallel with that seamlessly.

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.


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