Interview Question: "What Is Your Ideal Job?"

By Indeed Editorial Team

June 9, 2021

This article has been approved by an Indeed Career Coach

Interviewers ask different questions to establish who you are, what value you'll bring to the company, and if your qualifications and skills have prepared you to do the job. They tend to ask applicants about their ideal job or dream job across many industries. Your answer to this question can help establish how well you'll fulfill the duties of the job and how you'll fit into the company's culture. In this article, we explain why employers ask about your ideal job and how to answer the question, with example answers.

Related: Interview Question: "Why Do You Want to Work Here?"

Why employers ask about your ideal job

Interviewers can ask the question, "What is your ideal job?" in different ways:

  • "What work would you do if you didn't need the income?"

  • "What part of your work is your favorite?"

  • "How would you describe your dream job?"

  • "What is your desired long-term job?"

However the question is asked, the interviewer is trying to learn a few things about you. This question can help interviewers determine your passions and long-term goals. Your answer will also help them learn how to motivate you on the job and determine whether or not your goals align with the daily duties of the position. Almost always, interviewers will not expect that your answer describes the position for which you are applying exactly. They will expect to see some overlap in the goals and skills you present and which are integral to the job.

Related: How to Use the STAR Interview Response Technique

How to answer a question about your ideal job

To create an original and honest answer to the question, "What is your ideal job?" use these steps:

1. Identify applicable skills, interests and goals

Begin by identifying your skillset, job interests and workplace goals. Look at your list and the qualifications, duties and expectations of the job for which you are applying, and see where the two overlap. Create a final list of the skills, interests and goals you could easily apply to the job.

2. Apply an element

Consider what you're passionate about, be it professional or personal. See if there is an element of the job for which you are applying that relates to your passion. Look at the daily job duties or goals of the company to help you determine any overlap.

3. Determine the connection

Assess your long-term career trajectory. Consider whether this position is on the track to your ideal job. If it's a direct step toward your dream job, make note of it to connect to your answer.

4. Integrate the qualities

If you're still figuring out what your specific ideal job is, think about the qualities you hope to have in your dream job. Consider elements like working independently versus on a team or working directly with customers or in a background-position. See if any of these qualities align with the position for which you are interviewing.

5. Describe the work environment

List the characteristics you hope to have in a dream job. Consider components like location, freedom to work in different places, open floor plans and office or work-site amenities. Assess if any of these items match with the company's workplace.

6. Create your answer

Use the information and ideas you brainstormed in the prior steps to identify strong connections between your specific dream job and the job for which you are applying. Make sure you clearly explain how the job you're applying for connects to your ideal job.

Related: How to Emphasize Your Personal Strengths During an Interview

Example answers to "What is your ideal job?"

Here are a few sample answers you can use to help structure your own answer when asked what is your ideal job:

Specific job: Human resources representative to human resources trainer

"My ideal job would be a full-time human resources trainer. In my last position, I had the opportunity to lead a few training sessions for new colleagues, and I loved preparing the material, planning the event and performing the training. This position seems to have some training opportunities, which I would love to take part in."

Specific job: Teacher to curriculum designer

"Eventually, once I have a substantial amount of classroom experience, I hope to transition into curriculum design. I've always loved the process of writing lesson plans and considering how to best align student interests and contemporary culture with the state standards. This position will continue to allow me to hone my lesson writing skills."

Specific job: Paralegal to lawyer

"Eventually, I hope to go back to school and earn my JD so that I can practice law. I know research is a crucial part of the job for both paralegals and lawyers, so I look forward to improving my research skills in this position. Also, as a paralegal, I'll gain direct experience preparing for court, interviewing clients and helping the attorneys with other duties and responsibilities."

Job skills: Entry-level administrator

"My dream job would involve using my excellent customer service and communication skills. I would love to work directly with customers in some capacity to help solve their problems and improve their experience with the company. This position will help me develop my problem-solving skills and use my communication abilities."

Work environment: Researcher

"I'm interested in working for an educational institution, eventually. I enjoyed working with professors in their professional capacity outside of the classroom, and I would like to do that as a professional rather than a student. This lab will help me develop my research skills and allow me to learn best practices from a highly skilled mentor."

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