You’re well on your way to making a good impression when the interviewer asks a tough job interview question… perhaps the toughest:
“What’s your dream job?”
If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking: “Is this a trick question?” Don’t worry. It’s not.
If the opportunity at hand is truly your highest ambition, then let the interview team know exactly why that’s the case. Otherwise, share the components of this job that jive with your ideal scenario.
Either way this job interview question gives you three good opportunities:
- To show your enthusiasm for the position at hand
- To discuss how the skills the position requires fit into your ultimate career goal
- To explain a bit about the environment in which you would ultimately like to work
Enthusiasm is usually regarded as an attractive quality in a potential hire. If the job for which you are interviewing is your dream job, you’re probably totally excited. Sharing that vibe in an authentic way will win you points with the interview team.
Even if this job isn’t ideal, there must be a lot to relish about the opportunity or you wouldn’t have thrown your hat in the ring. Talk about what direction you ultimately see yourself heading and how that attracts you to this particular job. Note how this job will provide the experience you need as you pursue that path.
Of course, you don’t want to sound like this job is a stepping stone or that your tenure would be short-lived. Address that by touting a track record of longevity, if that’s the case for you. Also mention that in past positions you’ve recognized your career path changes as you learn new things and discover new passions.
When you answer this job interview question, show that you harbor ambitious career plans but are also flexible. Discuss that you are open to the possibility that this job will yield unanticipated opportunities.
Review the job post and examine the skills the position requires. How have your previous roles honed your skills for this job? How will the position for which you are interviewing take that a step further and continue your professional growth? How will it help you move toward your ultimate career ambition?
Show that you’ve been thorough in your review of the job post and understand what they are seeking. Demonstrate how that relates to your credentials and experience. If this position is your ideal job, show how your skill set matches the institution’s needs.
Another area of focus is professional environment. For example, “I have always wanted to work on a college campus, and here I am interviewing for a job in admissions.” Then you can mention the details regarding why this is appealing to you. “My parents were professors, and I grew up on a campus.” Again, focus on how this position fits into your dream scenario, whether it is a partial or complete fit.
Ultimately, this job interview question is intimidating because it’s complicated to talk about future ambitions beyond this interview.
Don’t think about it in such a territorial way. Having professional dreams and ambitions is a positive. Pursuing a position that gets you there is a good thing.
In the end: answering this question well takes preparation, reflection, clarity and confidence. But don’t worry. You got this!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Simply Hired.