“What are you looking for in a new position” is a favoured opening question for interviewers. Recruiters want to assess whether a candidate’s expectations align with the interviewed position, as well as the company itself. This means that the answer you give can be crucial for deciding if you’re the right fit.
This is part of our growing series on interview questions. Read our first article on answering the question “What’s your leadership style?”
How to structure your answer to “What are you looking for in a new position?”
Every candidate should expect this question, so we have developed a structure for the ideal answer:
- Positivity: Never ever respond that you don’t want to continue working at your current company! Instead, express gratitude for being considered for the position, and highlight how the tasks align with your career aims.
- Career aspirations: Demonstrate you have thought about your career goals and how the new position can contribute to your professional growth. Ensure the aspirations you outline match the job description of the role to which you have applied.
- Acknowledge the company: This is still an appropriate place to discuss what you could do for them! Make them feel like your success will be their success, as well. Crafting a thoughtful response will exemplify your proactive approach to contributing meaningfully to the company’s success.
- Offer flexibility: Suggesting that you are open to new approaches will cover your bases if the recruiter feels that your answer didn’t included what they believe to be essential tasks required of the role.
Do your research when answering the question “What are you looking for in a new position?”
Beyond looking at the job description, you should also research the company, learning about its culture, values, mission and recent achievements. The question “What are you looking for in a new position” should also answer the underlying question that the company has about you: “Do we need this particular candidate?” By getting under their skin in this way, you’ll understand the company’s needs and align your response accordingly.
Here are four prompt responses to the question “What are you looking for in a new position”:
1. “I’m interested in a position that offers higher decision-making authority.”
If they are a small firm or start-up and you’re moving from a big firm, one good way of answering this question is to tell them that you want to feel more involved in the company’s operations and outputs. Start-ups often have flat hierarchies where everyone takes responsibility, so answering this way will go down well with recruiters at such companies.
2. “I’m looking for a role that challenges me to expand my skill set and knowledge.”
Highlighting a knowledge gap might not be a wise move on its own, but when combined with other reasons why you’re looking for a new position, it shows your willingness to grow and acknowledge inconsistencies. This asserts your potential to learn and be open to other opinions.
3. “I want a new position that allows me to make a significant impact.”
This response demonstrates ambition, motivation, and a drive to contribute meaningfully to the organization. Employers also appreciate candidates who want to achieve tangible outcomes. Highlighting your aspiration to make an impact demonstrates your commitment to producing results.
4. “I’d like to be part of a collaborative and innovative team.”
This answer indicates your willingness to work well with others and contribute to a positive work environment. Collaboration is so important in the new hybrid work environment, as it promotes openness, empathy, and effective problem-solving.
Remember that the answer to the question “What are you looking for in a new position?” is never one-size-fits-all
Curate your answer each time so that it is relevant to the job. Read through the job description so that you know it inside out, and make sure that you have that role in mind while crafting your response. We suggest practicing with a friend or family member – ask them to read the job description as well so that they can pull you up on any gaps or inconsistencies in your response.
Aldrich & Co asks the (interview) questions that make you think! We go deeper with our candidates to reveal hidden talents and strengths and identify any weaknesses that might be holding them back. If you’re thinking about moving jobs, give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to being in touch.