How to answer – What are you looking for in a new job?

You finally get the call for an interview and one key question the interviewer will ask is what are you looking for in a new job?

How is it best to answer this question? Remember, you want to be honest in your answer and the best way to answer “What kind of job are you looking for?” is by giving facts and examples.

Start with your skills:

This is an area the hiring manager is sure to care about. Talk about how you’re looking for a role where you can use your skills. Remember not to over-sell your skills, being honest about the skills you have is important.

You wouldn’t want to be expected to independently carry out assigned tasks and have to admit that you don’t know how to carry out the work. If there are particular skills that you are keen to learn, use this as an opportunity to highlight these.

Explain your motivations:

Avoid making salary and benefits the focus of your answer. Most hiring managers hope that the individual they hire will be motivated by more than just a paycheck. Lead by describing what motivates you and how you can see that playing out in the position or company.

Remember no-one wants to hear you talk badly about your current/ previous employer, it is important that you explain your reasons for leaving in a positive way. At the end of the day, hiring managers prefer hiring positive people they generally like, so do your best at answering this question, as well as all questions, in a positive light.

Other reasons could be:

  • To take on more responsibility and grow in a career, or maybe it is to take on less responsibility
  • Looking to relocate
  • Career change or new challenge
  • Company restructure has led to either redundancy or change of role leading to dissatisfaction

Long-term goals:

You don’t necessarily have to have a full 5-year plan, but having an idea of the general direction you would like to head, and areas in which you would like to progress will help you form the answer to the question ‘what are you looking for in a new job?’

Make it about the company:

Companies don’t just want to know that you are looking for any job. Do your research and think about why you want to work for this particular company in this particular role. Research the organisation through their website, news updates and social media presence to learn what the company has been up to and what they value. This will help tailor your answer to speak to their needs and how you’re the right fit.

Job interviews are nerve-wracking, no doubt, but preparing yourself by thinking about answers to common questions will help take the stress out of the situation.


Take a look at our other job hunting tips here


Author: Naynesh Mistry

An image of Naynesh Mistry a scientific recruitment consultant