How to Answer "If You Could Own Your Own Business, What Would It Be?"

CBS News

Successfully responding to interview questions can mean the difference between getting the job and having to continue your employment search. Hiring managers utilize a variety of interview type questions such as behavioralsituational, and revealing. Being asked to describe what type of business you would own if you could is a revealing question. This article will address why hiring managers would ask it and how you can respond to it.

The question's purpose

revealing interview question is asked in order to ascertain some revealing information about the job candidate that he or she wouldn’t normally offer during the conversation. A hiring manager asks a basic question that seems simple, yet the candidate’s answer will reveal vital information. This type of question can be perceived as one that is meant to trick the candidate. However, a practical hiring manager knows that it is sometimes necessary to ask revealing questions in order to figure out who is the best candidate for the job. Basically, the hiring manager needs to ascertain if the candidate makes any contradictory statements during the interview.

These questions are used to wade through the “fluff” and discover the genuine self of the candidate. In addition to discovering the genuine center of the candidate, the hiring manager is also trying to ascertain the individual’s reaction to being asked such a question. For example, if the individual becomes defensive or evasive, that can become a warning sign to the hiring manager that this person may not be the best candidate for the job. A third factor in being asked this question is that the hiring manager wants to ascertain your reliability and consistency. For example, you could possibly grow bored with the work and quit the job if you have aspirations to start your own business.

Crafting your response

There are several factors to consider when responding to this revealing interview question and they are discussed below. Be sure to review all the factors when crafting your response.

  • Authentic – Your response should be authentic but tempered with a balanced description of your aspirations. You don’t want to share that you want to start a business in one year, because you will most likely not get the job with that answer.
  • Non-aggressive – It is important to remain calm and be prepared for the hiring manager to ask this question. The last thing you want to do is to become defensive and portray yourself in a bad light that could cause the manager to disregard you as a candidate.
  • Reliability – Demonstrating your reliability as a stable candidate will increase your chances of having the hiring manager consider you as the best individual for the job.

Remember to see this question from the hiring manager’s perspective. You need to embrace the idea that you must portray yourself as an authentic, positive, and reliable candidate. Your response must echo the fact that you realize the company management will be investing time into training and developing you as an employee.

Sample responses

When crafting a response to this question remember to keep the three factors mentioned above in mind. You need to be authentic, non-aggressive, and to demonstrate your reliability. Remove the complexity of the question by crafting an answer that responds to the basic factor of entrepreneurship and whether or not it is part of your life. Consider the following sample responses.

  • If you have an entrepreneurial penchant, you need to demonstrate this in a positive light to the hiring manager. For example, don’t say that you want to start a business in the next few years. You can share that have worked as an independent contractor in the past or have cultivated some entrepreneurial ventures. However, ensure that you make this a positive trait that can positively influence your future with the company.
  • If you have never considered starting your own business, you can be completely honest about that fact and demonstrate that there are no downsides to that factor in your life. With regard to this answer, you have the chance to share that you value working as an employee in the corporate or small business workplace setting. In crafting your answer, you can alleviate any fears that the hiring manager may have by demonstrating your partiality for being part of a team environment without having to concern yourself with running a business.

Responding to this type of revealing interview question is easy if you take into consideration the purpose behind asking it and the most effective way to respond to it. Remember to be genuine, temper your reaction, and demonstrate your stability as a prospective employee.