How to answer the question 'What is your ideal job?'

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 9 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

An interview is an opportunity for a hiring manager to confirm that your experience, qualifications and professional goals align with the position that they are looking to fill. During an interview, recruiters often ask applicants what their ideal job is. Understanding how to best answer this question can help you demonstrate that you're the right candidate for the position. In this article, we explain why a hiring manager may ask you what your ideal job is, discuss how to answer the question, provide tips for answering it and offer five examples to help you prepare your own.

Why do hiring managers ask, 'What is your ideal job?'

Hiring managers may ask you, 'What is your ideal job?' to learn more about your personality and what you're hoping to achieve professionally. The answer can help a hiring manager determine several things about you, such as how ambitious you are, how organised and determined you are and what your short- and long-term goals are.

Related: What are prospects? (Plus how to identify ideal prospects)

How to answer the question 'What is your ideal job?'

If a recruiter has asked you this question or you want to feel prepared for an upcoming interview, follow the advice below when preparing your answer:

1. Identify your transferable skills, interests and professional goals

Most often, hiring managers don't expect your answer to this question to relate to the position you're interviewing for. Rather, they might want to learn about your personal or professional interests, skills and goals that may align with the daily requirements of the role or the company culture. Start by outlining the skills you have and your goals for your career. Pay careful attention to the job description for the role you're applying for and include any skills you have that align with the job.

Read more: What are commonly asked questions in a trainer interview?

2. Think about the future

Take a moment to consider what your long-term goals are. Where do you want to be in five or ten years, both personally and professionally? Decide whether the position you're applying for can help you get closer to those goals. If you believe it can, be sure to mention what your aspirations are, and describe how this job could upskill you and assist you in reaching your professional goals.

Read more: What is a job field? (Plus how to choose your ideal job)

3. Consider other aspects of the role

While you're considering your answer to this question, think beyond only the skills and qualifications necessary for the position. Consider other things, such as the type of working environment you're looking for and why that's important to you. Do you prefer working independently or in a team? Do you prefer to work in an office or in a customer-facing role? Mention some other aspects of the role you're applying for and explain your experience or strengths in those areas.

Read more: 5 popular communication skills interview questions (with sample answers and tips)

4. Think about the working environment

As more jobs move towards flexible or remote working arrangements, the type of environment the company offers may be an essential element of your dream role. Do you prefer working from home or in the workplace? Would you like to be able to choose? Do you like working in closed offices or open-plan working spaces and why? Mention how the setting that the company provides aligns with your goals and how it can help you be more productive while adding value to the role.

Read more: 30 types of cultural fit interview questions (with examples)

5. Discuss the extra benefits

Many hiring managers ask you about your ideal job to determine what motivates you aside from a salary. Think about the other benefits you may be looking for in your ideal job. Does the company support their staff members' well-being or offer gym memberships? Do they have a mental health plan? Do they provide pension plans? Consider all of these aspects when preparing your answer and explain why they are important to you and how they align with your personal interests and professional goals.

Related: What are the characteristics of good questions? (With tips)

10 tips for answering this common question

Here are a few suggestions to consider and mistakes to avoid when answering this question in an interview:

  1. Be honest and realistic but ensure you're sincere.

  2. Be positive and enthusiastic. Even if this is not your dream job, talk about the parts of the role that you're most passionate about.

  3. Highlight your strengths and transferable skills that are relevant to the position.

  4. Always relate your answer back to the job and the company's values or culture.

  5. Think of the aspects of the role that pique your interest and form your answer around them.

  6. Enhance your answer by describing how you have successfully used your skills and qualifications in the past.

  7. Mention your future career goals that align with the company's culture or mission.

  8. Use the job description as inspiration, but don't quote it word for word.

  9. Talk about the kind of role you're looking for rather than a specific job title.

  10. Describe how this position can help you achieve your long-term career goals.

Related: 5 strategic interview questions to ask candidates (and tips)

Example answers to the question 'What is your ideal job?'

Here are a few examples of answers to this question that you can use to help you prepare your own answer ahead of an interview:

Example 1

'My ideal job would be one where I can work as part of a team. I prefer working with other people, as I believe that this promotes creativity, knowledge sharing and support. It's really important for me to work in a company where I can upskill myself both personally and professionally. I believe that there is a lot for me to learn from the other members of this team and would love the opportunity to do so.'

Example 2

'My dream job would involve using my marketing, communication and creative skills. I love working with a team of creators to bring a project to life. In my ideal job, I would make important decisions and have the freedom to explore new marketing ideas and be more innovative than the competition. I believe that this position can help me develop my creativity and leadership skills.'

Read more: 10 motivation interview questions (and how to answer them)

Example 3

'I am a people person, and I enjoy interacting with other people. My dream job would be one that allows me to support customers and help resolve their problems as I find this very rewarding. No matter what, I feel the most fulfilled when I am using my people skills to help others. I believe this role, with its customer-facing responsibilities, would be the ideal fit for my capabilities.'

Related: What are interview questionnaires? (Plus how to answer them)

Example 4

'My dream job would involve managing and leading a diverse team. In my last role, I found it very beneficial that every member of my team was an expert in their field, each bringing a different skill set to the company. Leading this group of professionals was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. I love that this company values diversity and professional development, and I would absolutely love to be a part of it.'

Read more: 7 different types of interview questions (with examples)

Example 5

'My family and my job are the most important things in my life. My ideal job would be a role that allows me to grow and excel in my career while also allowing me to spend time with my family. That's why I am seeking to join a company that focuses on providing a healthy work-life balance. I love that this company provides a flexible work policy and offers development opportunities to staff members looking to progress in their career.'

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