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Interview Question: “What do you look for in a job?”

We would all love to have that one job, that ticks all the boxes, right? But have you ever really asked yourself what it is that you're really looking for in a job? Make sure to read this blog to have a solid answer to this question as it is very common during a job interview. 
AnnaG

AnnaG

Content Writer
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what do you look for in a job - interview question

Most likely, you will encounter the question “What are you looking for in your next job?” in a job interview. It is common for an employer to pick the candidate’s brain about what he or she actually desires or strives for in a job. Of course, your answer will have an influence on their decision to take you onboard or not. But don’t you worry, this blog will set you up for a good response. 

But what’s behind that question?

Let’s set the record straight right from the beginning. There is NO right answer to the question “What do you look for in a job?”. The hiring team generally has a set of common interview questions which they will go through with you and there is no downside to preparing for those questions in advance. These common questions are ought to find out if the candidate is suitable for the open position. Your response should be honest, fact-based and shine a light on your skills that are essential for the role. In regards to finding a thoughtful response to the question “what you are looking for in a job?”, you can nail it by using a strategy, which points out that you are a great fit without laying it on too thick. More on that, in a bit. 

Important things to look for in a job

While it is important to have answers ready for the most common interview questions, it is more pertinent to introspect and find out what you really want from your “Next Play”. There are lots of things that you must look for in a job, besides the obvious. Some of these could be:

  • Physiological (comfort, health, work-life balance)
  • Safety (job security)
  • Belonging needs (work culture)
  • Esteem (expectations, recognition)
  • Self-actualization (does this job tap your full potential, motivation, passion,  does it take you closer to your five year career plan, developmental goals, career goals etc.)
  • Purpose (strong and impactful vision of the company, opportunity for growth)

How to answer “What do you look for in a job?” – Best answers

In 4 steps, we are going to help you find your own answer to this question. We can provide you with the framework, you willl have to use your brain in order to prepare a smooth answer that is true to yourself and hopefully what the company wants to hear. 

1. Point out your skills

This is your chance to shine. Start with your skill set when being asked about what you look for in a job. Hiring managers pay close attention to your answer, as they want to hear how your existing skills can benefit the open position and overall how you see yourself in terms of being a value-add to their team. It is important that you relate these skills to what is essential to the role, just keep that in mind. It is recommended to mention that you are open to learning and developing new skills. There is so much room for improving your existing skills. Every company wants to hire a person that is eager to learn. If you are skilled in coding and the position requires basic knowledge. Let the employer know that you are looking for a job that allows you to carry out this type of work.

Another example: “Having a positive impact on my patients by helping them create healthier and sustainable lifestyle choices is not only something I am more than capable of executing, but also what I am looking for in my next job. Joining your facility would allow me to work closely with your staff in order to help the patients’ recovery as fast as possible. My education, experience in Europe as well as abroad and specialisation in Ergotherapy align well with what you are looking for.

2. Motivation is key

Every hiring manager is interested in your motivation. Why are you leaving your current job? Why were you made redundant? What is it that keeps you going? Please don’t mention the importance of a high paycheck right away. Lead your answer by describing how work-related challenges and a diversity of tasks motivate you. Or maybe responsibility and professional growth are your main motivation factors. Will the open position or the company fulfil your motivation? Be considerate about what the role requires though. Possibly the company’s culture, with their bottom-up management, especially motivates you as you can submit ideas and tackle problems. A welcomed solution-based approach is what you are looking for in a job.

You can say “What I would certainly like to do is lead a number of client-related projects in my next role. Communicating with the client is something I profoundly enjoy in my current Sales Manager position, nonetheless, I strive to take on more responsibility for projects. The last few years have trained me well and I am ready for this challenge and I am hoping to get the chance of proving that in my next role.”

3. What are your goals here?

Again, in this step, you are asked to consider your individual goals here. Which general direction would you like to take for your career, for your family, and for yourself? Revealing what your goals are long term does not mean you have to hand out a ten-year plan, but it is recommended to talk about where you are trying to head. Are your long-term goals of building a career at this company lining up with the open position? Yes? Great, then point out that you are keen to develop professionally in a specific area within their enterprise.

Here’s how you could frame your answer- “What I would certainly like to do is lead a number of client-related projects in my next role. Communicating with the client is something I profoundly enjoyed in my current Sales Manager position, nonetheless, I strive to take on more responsibility for projects. The last few years have trained me well and I am ready for this challenge and I am hoping to get the chance of proving that in my next role. And as I recall, George described that the person you will hire will start by leading and delegating tasks for two to three projects at a time. This role sounds very exciting.”

4. Don’t forget the company

Always, ALWAYS, relate the mentioned factors to the company you are trying to get hired from and evidently to the open position. You want to be considered as a value-add to the company. This includes doing your research online in advance of the interview. Align the answer to what are you looking for in a job with the basic company identity. 

Does it make sense to point out that team spirit and fieldwork motivates you if the position clearly states the opposite? No! Be sure to understand the requirements of the position and the “vibe” of the company. It is handy to check out the company LinkedIn profile of employees, articles about the organization’s culture and learn about their values. 

The hiring process will move forward if you are able to point out that your skills, goals and motivation meet the company’s needs. The response to the interview question will be different for every individual job opening. The potential benefit to the company is what should be the most important fact of your response. 

How to be confident during a job interview? 

If one does not know how to be confident during a job interview, the interview situation might be really stressful and challenging for you. For this reason, it is highly recommended to check out the star method. It will prepare and help you with job interview anxiety. In order to increase confidence during a job interview, it is helpful to write down answers to the most common interview questions and practice them out loud. In this case, we want to point out 3 follow-up questions to today’s topic. Check out these links about answers to the questions “What are your strengths?”“What is your weakness?” and “Why should we hire you?”

Where do you look for a job?

Once you figure out what you are actually looking for in a job, how to be confident during an interview and how you are able to relate your skills, goals and motivation to the open role, you will have many opportunities to practice talking about it. The wecanbeheroes.io platform is definitely a go-to for open startup positions.

Bottom Line

Answering the question “What are you looking for in a job?” is tricky, because you will want to respond in a way that shows the company you are a great fit. It is possible to prepare for this question and you are now well-prepared if you followed the 4 major steps we discussed. It helps some people to write down their skills, goals and motivations following a visual comparison of how they overlap with what is required for the position. The key takeaway is that you are able to see commonalities between you and the role. 

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