I’ve had the privilege of interviewing countless individuals as a recruiter, and among my favorite questions to ask is, “What are you searching for in your next position?” This question serves specific purposes, and making a few critical errors can result in a failed interview.
So, in this article, I will guide you through how to answer this question and leave a lasting impression on the interviewer, regardless of the question’s variation. These variations could include:
- “What challenges are you seeking in a position?”
- “Can you describe what you desire in your next job?”
- “List the three most important things you are looking for in your next position.”
Let’s dive right in.
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Why Employers Ask You to Describe What You Are Searching For in Your Next Job
Hiring managers, recruiters, and HR personnel all like to pose this question. It might pop up during a phone interview or towards the end of a late-stage interview. There are two primary reasons why employers love asking this:
Firstly, they want to ensure you have a specific target in your job search.
Employers want to hire individuals with goals and motivation for their careers. No employer is interested in hiring someone who is merely seeking the first available job or any job they can get their hands on. They would prefer individuals who have specific reasons for wanting their job since, from their perspective, such individuals are more likely to be motivated, interested in the work, and committed for the long term. If they ask a question that mentions challenges like, “What challenges are you looking for in a job?” it is a clear indication that they want someone eager to grow their career.
While some companies might not prioritize this aspect too much, simply wanting to hire someone who can fulfill their immediate needs and perform the job, others are different. The companies that ask questions similar to the examples above are the ones who want to find individuals they can promote and help develop within the organization.
Secondly, they ask this to ensure their job aligns with what you are searching for.
If you are interviewing at a company that boasts a relaxed work environment where self-management is the norm, and you express a preference for a rigid work environment where you can simply follow instructions from your boss, they will not offer you the job. Therefore, it is vital to research the company culture and work environment to prepare yourself for answering this question. We will discuss other important aspects to consider when crafting a great answer in the next section.
How to Answer, “What Are You Searching For in Your Next Position?”
When responding to this question, the first step is to have a clear idea of the challenges you are targeting or the learning opportunities you seek in your career. You want to sound motivated, eager to learn, and be able to explain your goals clearly and concisely.
Let’s review a sample interview answer to have a sense of how this would sound in a real interview.
Example Answer #1:
“I would love to lead more client projects in my next role. While working as an Account Manager, I have enjoyed communicating with clients. However, my Team Leader has managed most of the projects, including responsibilities like deliverables and task delegation. I feel ready for the challenge and I am hoping to take on more in my next position.”
The sample answer provided is effective because it:
- Is detailed and specific.
- Is clear and concise.
- Presents you as motivated, energetic, and enthusiastic about your work.
However, there is a way to make your answer even better. Mention something specific that excites you about their position, usually something you found in the job description or learned during a previous interview with someone else from the company. Let’s revise the same example answer by adding more information at the end, tailored to the employer’s job.
Here’s the Same Sample Answer, But With a “Tailored” Ending:
“I would love to lead more client projects in my next role. While working as an Account Manager, I have enjoyed communicating with clients. However, my Team Leader has managed most of the projects, including responsibilities like deliverables and task delegation. I feel ready for the challenge and I am hoping to take on more in my next position. During my phone interview with Bethany, she mentioned that the person you hire will start by leading one or two client projects and could grow into leading even more. So the position sounds incredibly exciting.”
Now, you have demonstrated your motivation and energy towards your work. You have clearly thought about your job search, know what you want, and show why you are excited about their specific job and why you want to work for them.
This approach will make the hiring manager enthusiastic about offering you the position. With this strategy, they will forget about other candidates and offer you the job as soon as possible! Overall, this is very similar to how you would answer questions like “Why are you applying for this position?” or “Why do you want this job?” However, questions like “What challenges are you looking for?” can be trickier because it is easy to focus solely on yourself and forget to relate it to the employer and their job.
The best answers, similar to the sample answer provided above, will showcase what you aim to achieve in your next position and what excites you as a professional. Additionally, they will also demonstrate that you have taken the time to understand their job, highlighting specific aspects that excite you about working for them.
Example Answer #2:
“I enjoy working as part of a team, so one thing that I am targeting in my next position is a collaborative, team-focused environment. After researching your company and reviewing the job description, it seems like this is the type of work culture you promote here. I am excited to learn more about the opportunity today.”
How to Answer, “What Are Three Things That Are Most Important For You in Your Next Position?”
If they ask you to describe the three things that are most important to you in your next job, take a moment to organize your thoughts and address the question directly at the beginning of your answer. Start by saying, “The three things that I am looking for are…” Then, list those three things and conclude by explaining why their job seems like a good match for what you want. Mention what caught your interest in their position or why you applied.
Example Answer #3:
“The three things that I am looking for in my next job are a collaborative, team-focused culture, opportunities to learn and enhance my technical skills, and a chance to develop my leadership abilities over time. After reading the job description for this role, it sounds like it could be a good match for what I am looking for. I was genuinely excited to come interview for this position and learn more.”
By following the tips provided, you will have an excellent answer when employers ask questions about the kind of challenge you are seeking. Your response will be memorable, increase your chances of receiving job offers, and prevent any doubts regarding your suitability for the role.
Remember, being prepared for commonly-asked interview questions is crucial. Questions such as “What can you tell me about yourself?”, “What are your career goals?”, and “Where do you see yourself in five years?” often come up. For a comprehensive list of the top 20 most common questions and answers, you can refer to 5 WS.