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The One Answer That Is the Correct Response to Many Job Interview Questions

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  • Writer's pictureThe CareerBeacon Team

Just last week we discussed how there are basically three pieces of information that an employer needs to know about you by the end of the job interview. (You can read what those are here.) That is why interviews tend to follow similar patterns, with some common questions almost always being asked.

There is one answer you need to practice in advance of your next job interview – and it can be the template for your response to a wide variety of questions that are very likely to come up. Common queries about your current situation, motivation, career goals, and plans all have the same appropriate answer.

The odds of getting asked in a job interview why you’re looking for a new job or what you are looking for are fairly high. According to a recent survey of nearly 1,000 hiring managers, 78 per cent of interviewers will ask these, and they think that the ideal candidate response would involve taking on more responsibility and growing in their career.

So, have a short answer prepared about how you have gained experience, learned on the job, demonstrated your potential, and are looking to take on more responsibility to advance in your work. This is what employers want to hear for many types of interview questions.

For example:

Why are you looking for a new job?

I have spent the past few years honing my skills and learning the latest trends and technologies in the field. I am excited for the opportunity to prove what I can do in a more impactful role at an industry leading organization like this one.

Why do you want to leave your current employer?

Working for ACME has been a great experience for me. I’ve learned so much from the leadership team there. However, after two years, I am ready to take on more, and there are limited opportunities for advancement in that organization.

What are you looking for in a new job?

I believe in continuous learning. My work has been rewarding so far, but I am ready to take on more. I feel that I can bring a great deal to the team with my experience in X and Y, but I am also looking forward to working with the leadership team here. I am passionate about applying the insights I’ve gained through past achievements to new challenges and to help grow this department’s success.

What are your goals / Where do you see yourself in five years?

The industry is changing so fast that five years is hard to predict. I know that I believe in this brand, this company. I would like to contribute to its continued success. Working with your industry-leading products and technology keeps me at the forefront of this evolving sector. I don’t know where that will lead, but it will be an exciting five years.

Why are you leaving? What are you looking for? Where are you heading? The answer is the same. You are passionate about taking on more responsibility and growing your career. You are motivated to work hard, learn on the job, and achieve significant results.

The best part about this answer is that for career-minded, ambitious people, it’s probably true. So, you don’t have to fake a job interview answer that the employer wants to hear but that doesn’t actually reflect your situation.

The warning about this answer is that it can be risky in some situations. For certain low-skilled jobs, employers don’t want someone who is too eager to grow in their careers. They are just looking for someone who will fill the role and stay there so that they won’t have to replace them too soon. So, gage your audience. If that is the type of job you’re after, tone down the ambition in the interview.

(But remember, low skilled jobs with limited learning curves are the ones most likely to be automated and made obsolete within the next few years. You’ll find more career longevity in a position that allows you to expand your skills and advance your knowledge.)

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