It’s unusual that I start an article advising that you bend the truth. Usually in job hunting, this is a strategy doomed to fail. But if the honest response to this question is "anywhere but here", then this might be the moment to rethink your wording and apply a little artistic license to your answer.
Done well, your response to this question will reveal a little bit about your personality, your interests and your deeper motivations when it comes to work. So, invest a little thinking time with these ideas as guidance, and you could turn a tricky question into a real winner.
1. Don't Overthink It
This question might be the easiest of the interview for you, if you have a simple, honest and compelling answer that will serve your chosen overall message well. For example, if you are interviewing for a position that aligns with your hobbies or a cause you’re passionate about, then these might provide a natural response without requiring too much thought.
If you’re applying for a position as an outdoor education instructor, and the answer to the question honestly involved hiking up a mountain, splashing in the nearest lake or building a rudimentary shelter from collected twigs, then go ahead and say so.
2. Illustrate Your Personal Motivations
If a suitable answer to this question isn’t immediately obvious to you, then you have a number of options. One angle to take is to give an answer that shows your personal motivations.
So, maybe you’re looking for a role as a teaching assistant or in a caring profession, and your favorite place is home surrounded by family. Although a step apart from your chosen career, giving your honest answer still shows to your prospective employer that you’re at your best surrounded by people and in a caring capacity. This can give an insight to your motivation for the role which helps the interviewer understand you better.
3. Showcase Your Core Values
Another possibility is to use your response to show more about your core values. Perhaps you greatly value creativity or history, and love to spend time in museums or cultural venues. Or you’re passionate about social justice and taking action, and therefore enjoy volunteer work or activism.
Say so – it helps the recruiter understand you that little bit better and at a far deeper level than many interview questions allow. Be prepared to answer questions about ’why’ this activity interests you, ideally in a way that links your personal interests, core values and the role you’re interviewing for.
4. Tell the Interviewer Something They Didn't Already Know
And finally, don’t forget that an interview should be a chance for the hiring manager to get to know you personally, and start to build a connection. Be prepared to open up a little to get the best from your interview, and tell your interviewer something they might not be able to see on your résumé or LinkedIn profile. If your honest answer to this question is a little off the wall, then don’t discount it – giving a memorably quirky response could actually be a great way to make sure the interviewer remembers you.
On the surface, the question ’If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?’ seems quite odd. It could be a filler question to help the interview flow better and allow for nerves to settle a little. It could be used to catch a candidate off guard, and to see how you think on your feet. But with a little planning and thought in advance, you can answer this question in a way that reveals an interesting side to your personality, makes you memorable, and demonstrates more about how your personal and professional interests entwine.