“What are you looking for in your next role?”
This is a common job interview question you’ll most likely be asked. I’ve personally asked this of people I’ve interviewed and have also been asked this in past job interviews.
It’s a simple, but important question because it is a contributing factor to which candidates are best to move on in the hiring process. So it’s critical you are clear in how you answer this inquiry.
Below you’ll find a few examples to help you answer this question as well as mistakes to avoid in your response. Let’s jump right in!
Why Interviewers Ask This Question
As you are aware from past job interviews, you’ll be asked an array of questions. Some are more job-specific, but others are more generic to get to know you better.
And there are a few key reasons interviewers ask what someone is looking for in their next role. From the high level, it’s so the interviewer knows if your current career ambitions and goals align with the company.
Your answer can also indicate whether you’ll also be a great long-term fit. For example, how you respond can show you want to grow within the organization or may signal you’ll be moving on in a year or two.
Employers want to hire people that are motivated and have a clear direction for their next job. When an interviewee as a concise answer, it indicates that the person is not just looking for any job they can get.
Example Answers to “What Are You Looking for in Your Next Job?”
When the interviewer asks, “What are you looking for in your next role?” there are a few ways you can respond to the question. And your answer will vary a bit pending on the position and company.
Regardless, you’ll want to answer in ways that show your goals, motivation, and needs in applying for this specific job. Here are a few example answers to help you leave a positive impression.
Example Answer 1:
In this first example, you can lead with your excitement about the role and hint at your desire for professional growth. This can give the hiring manager a quick understanding of how you may fit in.
“In my next role, I’m looking for the opportunity to not only use my skills in [XYZ] efficiently but have the autonomy to own various projects and make decisions to help the company grow. Based on my research of [Company Name] and reading employee reviews, I feel this role and company is exactly what I’m looking for and it’s why I’ve been excited about our conversation.”
Example Answer 2:
While there is nothing inherently wrong with job hopping, the interviewer does want to ensure that you want to grow with the company. If you signal that you’ll leave in a year or two, it may harm your chances of getting hired.
This example is a bit more to the point.
“I’m looking for a position where I can grow professionally and where the company will invest in my career interests. It’s important to me and gives me further motivation to stay and grow with the organization. Based on what I’ve discovered about [Company Name], it appears to meet my interests and I’ve been energized about how I can fit in.”
Example Answer 3:
For the next example, you might want to consider an answer about taking on new challenges. It’s easy to get complacent in your work, so wanting to experience things out of your comfort zone is a good thing to highlight.
"I’ve been looking for new challenges to take on, which is why this job is exciting to me. While I’ll utilize my current skills to accomplish [XYZ of the role], I’m also ready for responsibilities in [ABC of the job]. Although I’ve only had some experience in those areas, I know my knowledge of [Industry X] and willingness to dive in will lead to success.“
Example Answer 4:
Whether you apply for a remote job or not, it can be good to highlight your passion for collaboration and teamwork. It doesn’t matter if you work in a virtual environment or in person, being a “team player” is something a company does look for in their job applicants.
I know, I know. The term “team player” is pretty cliche or cringe. But it is an important part of working and can be good to call out in your answer.
“One aspect of my work that I enjoy is collaborating with a team. I get energized when working with different co-workers and have the freedom to help problem-solve with them. Based on my research of the company’s work culture and this job description, it appears that’s the kind of environment that exists here.”
Example Answer 5:
In the last example answer to what are you looking for in your next role, you can make it more about the company. Although this question is generally more personal to you, this response example below can show your passion for the organization and understanding of its mission.
“I’m really looking forward to working with a company that aligns with my goals and whose overall mission is something I can proudly support. I truly believe in [Company Name]’s mission of [Insert Company Mission Statement] and I get amped up thinking about how I can contribute for the long-term.”
What Should You Avoid Saying in Your Answer?
Now that you have some good examples of how to answer what you are looking for in your next role, what should you avoid?
The important aspect of this question is answering truthfully and not making something up just to appease the interviewer. But here’s what not to say.
Avoid focusing on the salary.
Look, the benefits and salary matter and that needs to be openly transparent in job listings. Fortunately, more salary transparency laws are going into effect. And there will be the opportunity to understand what that all includes during your interview.
However, if you are asked about what you are looking for in your next job, avoid zooming in on the money and benefits only.
If your answer is very focused on these monetary things, it will appear to the interviewer that’s all you care about. And maybe it is (After all, it’s why most of us are working – to make money), but remember that will probably harm your chance of moving on in the interview process.
Don’t make things up.
While you may need the job or really want to work for this company, don’t make things up! Meaning, don’t say things that aren’t true or try to share things you think the interviewer wants to hear.
Trust me, it’s obvious when you are not truthful. Usually, there are verbal and non-verbal cues that give it away that you are not being honest. And while the interviewer won’t call you out, the damage is done.
Just remember to provide your authentic reasons this job interests you and what you are ideally looking for in your career.
If the interviewer asks what you are looking for in your next role, ensure you are prepared ahead with the answer examples above.
Remember, this question is the perfect time to share what you desire in a job and where you’d like your career to go. And it’s important you provide the interviewer a glimpse into your needs.
When you answer truthfully, the interviewer can understand your values, needs, and how you’ll better align with the job position and company.
Other example answers for interview questions:
- What Are You Most Proud Of?
- Do You Want To Tell Us Anything Else About You?
- What Does Integrity Mean to You?
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