Ah, your dream job. Hobby blogger. Pro golfer. Margarita tester. Everyone has a vision of what they would love to get paid to do all day. So, what makes answering questions about your dream job such a hard part of an interview?
Well, it’s challenging because you know your interviewers have a particular criteria in mind when they ask the question. They don’t actually want to hear your plans for launching a makeup line, or how you would love to become a professional fishing guide once you retire. Instead, your interviewers want to know about a relatively narrow set of ambitions you have, and how those dreams can operate within their organization.
Think about the question like a psychological pop quiz. If this was a social situation, you might hear something like, “what kind of animal would you want to be?” or “if you were a superhero, what superpower would you want to have?” This is a job interview, though, so people tend to keep the questions more concrete. (Well, most of the time, anyway.)
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you answer questions about your dream job in an interview:
Have a Dream Job in Mind
To answer the question effectively, first, you have to have a job in mind. Again, your “real” dream job might not apply. Instead, stick to your current industry and positions that are relatively possible. Long before you enter the interview, consider where you want your career to end up. It will give you a starting point for crafting your answer.
The question has application beyond the interview, however. Thinking about the topic will help you answer this specific question. But it also helps to shape your career. It gives you something to aspire to and presents a goal around which you can shape your professional development.
Think about How You Want to Describe the Position
A dream position represents more than a job title. In fact, you might not be able to attach a specific name to your ideal situation. You might have to go a little deeper to explain your aspirations.
Remember, the interviewers want to get to know more about you. The answer you give to this question should be revealing. As such, focus on aspects of a job that excite you most. Think about a job posting that would enrapture you. Use this to reverse engineer an ideal position you can describe in the interview.
Don’t Forget the “Why.”
As a “get to know you” question, you want to delve deeper than just providing a list of requirements and qualifications. Rather, you want to explain why your ideal job appeals to you so much. This actually represents the crux of the question. The more you can use the question to describe yourself as a person, the stronger the connection you’ll form with your interviewers.
Focus on Skills
Don’t forget that you’re in a job interview. The goal is to impress the interviewers. It’s not a forum for daydreaming. As such, craft an answer that’s likely to get you closer to landing the position.
To accomplish this, turn the spotlight back on you as a potential job candidate. Talk about the steps you’ve taken to strive for your dream job, and how you exercise the necessary skills in your professional life now.
Find “Dream” Aspects in the Current Opportunity
Along the same lines, highlight how the current position fits into your dream plan. You might not be interviewing for your ideal position. The interviewers know this. However, something about this job appealed to you.
Use the question as a way to show your excitement for the current opportunity. At the same time, you can highlight how well suited you are for the position.
Ready to find your dream job? A strong staffing agency, like Recruiting In Motion, can help. They can put you on the path toward your ideal placement.