Getting Ready For Your Interview

Now that you’ve completed the application and were one of the luck ones to get an interview you have one more obstacle to get he job. this is where interview prep is vital to getting

Now that you’ve completed the application and were one of the luck ones to get an interview you have one more obstacle to get he job. this is where interview prep is vital to getting the job.

What is your dream job?

The Real Question: Can we help you on your way, or is this the wrong job for you? Do you really want to work here at all?

Top-line Tactic: Play down the dream, play up the things your dreams are made of.

Does the interviewer really want to know your deepest and most heartfelt dream? Maybe, but probably not. For that reason, you should treat this question as a bit of fun, respond in good humor and then move on quickly. Whatever you do, do not take this question too seriously.

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Our dreams tend to be unavailable to us, almost by definition, and there’s not much your interviewer can do about it. Your interviewer only has one job on offer. That job was drawn up before anyone knew you and your dreams even existed.

Consequently, the following two answers are likely to be taken as insincere or misguided.

  • My dream job is . . . the job we’re talking about today.(They probably won’t believe you, which means you’re in trouble.)
  • My dream job is . . . to be an astronaut. (You’re in trouble if they do believe you.)

Uppermost on the interviewer’s mind is the desire to avoid job churners. If your interviewer constantly hires people who want to work somewhere else, one way or another your interviewer will soon be heading for the exit themselves.

Here’s a Reed recruiter talking about this question:

I’ve lost a lot of candidates on the “dream job” question. People are too honest. They talk about dreams that are completely different from what they’re interviewing for. They think it shows ambition, but hirers hate having to re-recruit.

It’s OK if your employer is offering a path to your dream, and a genuine prospect of getting there, but that takes knowledge of what the interviewer is looking for. You need to articulate each step, and show that you know where you are in the sequence of those steps.

There is no such thing as a lawyer who never loses a case, or a mechanic who can keep your car going forever, or a therapist who can solve absolutely anyone’s problems. Such jobs exist only in dreams—and that’s your clue to answering this question. You can get the “dream” part out of the way by saying that you would like to do a real-world job to a surreal, dream-like extent. One Reed recruiter did just that when she said:

My dream job would be a fairy job-mother, giving everyone the job of their dreams with no rejections or disappointments.

This answer works because only in dreams would everyone get every job she found for her candidates, but still her answer relates to the job she was interviewing for at the time, namely a recruiter at Reed. It’s exaggerated, but exaggeration is in the question itself.

Another way to go is to refer to the role by its specification, not its title.

My dream job would be one where I communicate with customers, use my expertise to solve their problems and make everyone who meets me go home happy.

Equally, you might piece together an answer using your personal aspirations. This has the effect of answering the question without saying too much.

My dream job would be one that I found totally absorbing and stimulating, where I was recognized as someone who always broke new ground in my field. It’s usually not possible to tell in advance how much any job might deliver on those criteria, so mainly they’re just a bit of a guiding star—a way of dealing with whatever situation the job puts me into.

We’ll finish with advice for younger or inexperienced candidates: you can’t really afford to dream at this stage of your career, so just focus on knuckling down and becoming good at what you do. If you say that out loud, as matter-of-factly as you just read it here in this article, you’re bound to score well.

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