While the all too obvious response to this question would be to simply name whichever role you were interviewing for at the time, in reality this would cut no ice with your potential employer. Never underestimate an experienced interviewer’s ability to distinguish honesty from unnecessary boot licking, especially at a time where positions of employment are sought after by an unusually high number of applicants. So how exactly should you approach this question, and what answer should you offer in response?
Why Do Employers Ask Candidates This Question?
On the face of it, this may seem like a fairly spurious question, especially given that your dream job is likely to be far removed from the one you have applied for. However, there are several reasons why employers pose this question, and many facets of information that it draws from the applicant. Remember:
- Your dream job gives an indication as to your level of ambition and appreciation of real world goals, and whether you have developed a suitable understanding of the two. They can therefore determine driven candidates from those who are detached from the detail of reality.
- Your answer also reveals the type of industry and environment that you would like to work in, and give an insight into your preferred work place arrangement. This allows employers to decide how compatible you are with both the role and the individual work place.
- Employers are always keen to hire those who can articulate their thoughts honestly and in a professional manner, and this question tests your ability to remain true to yourself in an interview situation. Is your answer a genuine reflection of your interests and value, or something that you believe the employer wants to hear?
How to Answer This Question Effectively
With these points in mind, it is clear that any potential employer can gain a great deal of insight from your response to this question. It also emphasises the need to ensure that your answer is as honest and effective as it can possibly be without blurring the lines between fiction and reality. So:
- While ambition is one thing, it is nothing if it is steered toward impossible or simply unobtainable goals. Employers are unlikely to hire someone who states that their dream job is to manage an experience company based on Mars, simply because they would appear to be unfocused and unable to channel their ambition with significant drive.
- Similarly, you should attempt to consider whether your dream job has anything at all in common with the role you have applied for. Your answer must draw at least some correlation to the job you are seeking, as otherwise employers will conclude that you will ultimately be dissatisfied in your post and seek new pastures.
- It goes without saying that you should avoid sycophantic answers at all costs, and stay as true to yourself as possible when contriving and delivering your response. As we have already discussed, interviewers are only too aware of the contrived sound bites that blight interviews, so the answer you offer must reflect your true goals, values and opinion.
Do you have any thoughts on how to answer this question? If so then we would love you to tweet your thoughts @simplyhireduk.