How to Answer "What's Your Dream Job?"

dream job

One of the trickiest job interview questions to answer is the old chestnut, “What’s your dream job?” Preparation is king when it comes to successful job interviews and this particular poser will need some careful thought if you are to impress your potential employer with your answer.

Is honesty really the best policy?

A potential employer will not only be interested in working out whether you have the right skillset for the job, they’ll also want to determine whether it will be worth their while investing time and money in training you. If your dream job has absolutely nothing to do with the one you’re interviewing for, you might have to get creative. It’s not a good idea to tell them that you really aspire to a career in a totally different industry altogether as they might decide that you won’t be happy in their employ for long and will quickly be moving on. Therefore, they won’t hire you, and you could easily have just talked yourself out of a job!

Create your “dream job” profile

Read through the job description for the position you’re applying for and think carefully about what appeals most to you about it. Write down all the duties offered by the role that excite you the most, together with the skills you have that make you the perfect candidate. Now consider what you want from a job that would satisfy or motivate you most of all. Use your findings to create a profile for your dream job and include references to your existing skillset.

This doesn’t have to be a defined position, like “Editor in Chief” or “Sales Director”; your perfect job profile can include as many different responsibilities as you think you would really enjoy as part of your role. Your response will be extra convincing if you can explain why you particularly enjoyed these types of duties in previous jobs, and give examples of how you used your skills to add value to them.

Make sure that your answer to the question makes reference to some of the elements offered by the position for which you’re applying. For example, if the role is in sales, you could say that your dream job would be managing the accounts of several major blue chip clients or building your own record-breaking sales department.

Alternative answers

Another approach to this question is to name a particular goal or achievement you would like to reach through working in your ‘dream job’. For example, if the job you are being interviewed for is in the medical profession, you could say that your dream career would be in a role that enabled you to make a valuable contribution towards research into finding a cure for a terminal illness.

See also: How to Answer, "Tell Me About Your Proudest Achievement"

However you choose to answer the question “What’s your dream job?” make it clear that you have aspirations towards a high-level position with the organisation, and that the job you are applying for is a vital step on that ladder. Keep your timescales sensible but ambitious so that the interviewer can see you’re determined and enthusiastic whilst also being a realist.

Take the time to plan your answer to the question, “What’s your dream job?” so that you won’t be wrong-footed if it does come up in your interview. Make your response relevant to the position you are applying for, be ambitious yet realistic, and let your enthusiasm and passion show.