INTERVIEWS / JUL. 09, 2014
version 4, draft 4

How to Answer "What Would You Do If You Won The Lottery?"

How to answer "what would you do if you won the lottery?" This seemingly innocuous and somewhat puzzling question is actually quite common in modern interviews. The key is to remember that like every interview question, it is not innocuous, it has a purpose and you need to answer it properly.

This is a question asked by the interviewer in order to learn more about you and your personality. What they want to find out when asking this question is how committed to work you are, how much you enjoy your chosen career, what concerns or interests you have outside of work and whether you are just waiting for a reason to leave the workforce.

The absolutely worst way to answer this question is be completely honest and say that you would head off and chill out for the rest of your life enjoying your winnings. This indicates to them that you have little motive to work and are just working because you have to. The fact that many of us are just working because we have to (including the interviewer) is irrelevant, your goal is just to get through the interview.

Some good examples of how to answer this question effectively would be:

  • “If I won tens of millions of euros in the lottery I would definitely take some time off work and start learning a new language or instrument maybe. However, life would be boring if I had nothing to do each day and so I would want to keep busy. It is also possible that I would start my own business or even invest in a company that I had always wanted to be a part of. Being an entrepreneur would be an interesting challenge.
  • “First of all we are talking about winning millions of euros not just 500,000 yes? Ok good. Well I would definitely go and do all of the things that I have always wanted to do. I would go to South America and visit Machu Pichu as well as many other interesting sites in South America. But eventually I think that I would start doing some volunteer work for an NGO such as the Red Cross. If I was just sitting around doing nothing then I would get too bored. I volunteer for the Red Cross at the moment, but not as much as I would like. Having the opportunity to change people’s lives every day would be really satisfying and it would also keep me occupied.

What the interviewer can see here is that you are not the type of person who is going to sit on their hands and do nothing if they are given the chance. You get bored sitting around and would rather return to work, invest, set up your own business to challenge you, or even volunteer for the Red Cross. Volunteering also shows the interviewer that you have positive interests outside of work to keep you occupied.

What is extremely important with this question is that you do not go off topic and start talking extensively about what kind of toys you would buy. Or what kind of extravagant parties you would host at your new mansion.

This question is not that hard to answer. The key is just to remember that your answer must not involve sitting around doing nothing. Instead you need to focus on positive ways of staying occupied such as volunteer work. Also remember to stay on topic otherwise you may end up telling them some of your true intentions. Good Luck.

 

Image: scarlettlondon

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