How to Answer, “What’s Your Perfect Job,” and Why I Dislike It

Why yes, it is Spring Break, thank you for noticing! What was that? Am I relaxing? HA! I’m a senior with less than two months to graduation and desperately trying to get interviews while staying on top of my class work, there isn’t much relaxing, even now. In fact, a couple weeks ago I had a job interview which went really well, thanks for asking! However, one question in any interview I’ve ever had always trips me up: What’s your perfect job? I want to share why I dislike this question and give three potential answers you could give in an interview.

There are two reasons I dislike this question; the first because it’s conditional on age. If you’re a freshman and have to answer this question, odds are it’s pretty easy, especially if you just discovered your major. Political science: law or politician; biology: vet or doctor; engineering: engineering. The dream job exists and the options are endless in your mind, but as classes get more difficult and you progress through college, this starts to become more obscure.

By the time you’re a junior or senior you begin to question everything you’ve ever thought. You could be a biology major all throughout college, have a couple internships at hospitals, and then suddenly realize this isn’t what you wanted at all! Life=upside down. Now when you’re a senior and what you thought you were going to pursue is no longer an option you are left without an answer and feel lost, and I completely relate to you!

My second reason is simply because your dream job could be completely different from the job you’re currently interviewing for. For instance, my dream job is owning a coffee and doughnut shop (Could you think of a better place to be in? I mean you’re surrounded by the best smells in the world and you bring joy to people daily! That’s the dream!) But do they really want to hear that answer if I’m in an interview for say a bank job? Who knows! That’s why this question is so hard to answer, but here are the three ways I could answer this question.

The Realistic One

Employer at a newspaper: “What’s your perfect job?”

Interviewee: “Ah yes, great question, one I’ve thought about often. My perfect job is editor-in-chief. I like to be the leader and see to completion all phases of the projects placed in my hands. This also insures I know the project is going in the direction it’s intended and the consumers are receiving the correct information.”

Not bad, right? I’m sure an employer would love to hear this answer because it shows direction and determination. I know many people who have this kind of answer sealed in their minds and a clear idea of their perfect job, but not everyone’s perfect job is within the field they’re applying and they give the actual answer.

The Actual One

Employer at a business firm: “What’s your perfect job?”

Interviewee: “Thank you for asking. My perfect job is president of the United States. I’ve wanted to be president ever since I was in fifth grade. I could finally pass the laws and policies that would make the world a better place.”

Not a bad look, right?

On the surface it sounds like a joke, but it could work if you justify it. “At a firm like *Insert Business Firm* I can further expand my skills and use them to advance to my next stage in life. This position will allow me to better myself, the business, and the people we serve on my way to being president. Not too bad actually? Now, don’t go into your next interview and throw down some random perfect job and not be prepared to back it up because Brandon said so, but expressing your dreams in this sort of environment may demonstrate creativity and determination to get to that job. But some may still not know what their perfect job may be and they give the truth.

The Truthful One

Employer at a research lab: “What’s your perfect job?”

Interviewee: “I’m happy you asked that and the truth is I’m not entirely sure. I’m young and haven’t had the opportunity to explore different positions yet, but I know what I’m looking for in my perfect job. I want a job which brings me joy to go to each day and gives me the opportunity to improve the lives of the people I am trying to help.”

This will show you’re honest and have integrity but may need a little help along the way to narrow down and find that perfect position. It doesn’t mean you’re any less motivated you just need a little more time to figure out what the specific perfect job might be.

These aren’t all the answers you could give and they may not even be the ones you should give in an interview (What? Do I look like I’m giving the questions in an interview? Come on, I’m in the same boat as all of you!) But everyone is different and for the most part it depends on how you give your answer.

If you’re beginning to interview, I may not like this question but it is a good question to consider and here are others to consider. How you answer will say a lot about who you are and give them insight into your goals for the position and life. Good luck!




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