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What Are You Looking For In Your Next Role?: Why It Is Asked & How To Answer [With Sample Answers]

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The question, “What are you looking for in your next role?” is a common and personal question that many interviewers will ask.

The point of the question is to get to know you personally and gauge why you are interested in the current position and what you expect from it.

At first, the question may seem intimidating, but when you understand what the interviewer is looking for and how you should answer, you’ll find the question is tamer than you might think.

Why Do Interviewers Ask, “What Are You Looking For In Your Next Role?”

Interviewers ask this question to understand where you stand in your wants and your role in the company’s future.

Most of the time, interviewers are looking for long-term applications, so they want to ensure that they can provide you with what you’re looking for so you don’t move on to another position so fast.

What Is the Interviewer Looking For?

It’s important not to go into the interview blindly, so you should consider what the interviewer is looking for in your answer.

Here are some of the things that your interviewer is probably considering.

  • Aligning interests: The main thing an interviewer is looking for is if what you’re looking for is something they can provide you. If you’re looking into the position, there’s a high chance that the answer is yes. Still, confirmation and specifics are what the interview is looking to find.
  • Long-term commitment: The interviewer will try to identify if taking you on will ensure a long-term relationship or if what you’re looking for is just a temporary position with them. Either isn’t bad, but it will give them an idea of what they’re working with.
  • Honesty: The last thing the interviewer is looking for, and the most common, is honesty. Generally speaking, if you’re not honest about what you’re looking for in the position, you’ll be wasting your time and the company’s time, so make sure you actually want what you say.
  • Qualifications: It’s obvious that the interviewer is fishing for information, but they’re looking for more than just your wants. The interviewer will try to fish for where you currently are regarding your skill set and abilities. Make sure you come off as more than qualified for the position.

How To Answer “What Are You Looking For In Your Next Role?”

There are a few sure ways to answer what you’re looking for in your next role. You want to show the interviewer that what you’re looking for is something they can provide and that you have a future with them and their organization.

Try not to make it too obvious or that you’re strictly saying what you’re saying to try and get the job. You want that job to align with what you’re looking for in a job, so be honest about what you expect and how it can provide what you need to further your career.

What to Focus On When Answering This Question

When answering this question, you want to consider how the interviewer will interpret your response and if it benefits their organization.

In general, keep the focus on these two things when you answer the question:

  • Keep your answer relevant: Make sure that you focus on how well your answer translates into the position you’re trying to get. For example, if you’re looking for a chance to be part of a team and collaborate more on projects, make sure the position you’re going for offers that for you.
  • Focus on your goals: Remember you’re going through this interview because you want something from this position. Keep your goals in mind when answering and responding to the question.

What To Avoid When Answering This Question

While it’s great to know how you want to answer, it’s also important to understand how not to answer a question.

You essentially want to try and avoid overselling yourself for your next role, but generally, try to avoid these two things:

  • Don’t make it about money: Try not to bring money into your response. Avoid answering the question with a focus on monetary gain. You and the interviewer know you want a position that will pay you well, but think about what else you want from the role, freedom, new skills, a leadership position?
  • Don’t be too specific: When I say don’t be too specific, I mean don’t tailor your response to the exact position you’re going towards. Remember, the question is what you’re looking for in your next role. Make sure your response is something you can find in other places too.

Examples: How to Answer “What Are You Looking For In Your Next Role?”

Now that you know why interviewers ask “what you’re looking for in your next role,” it’s time to get into how you can answer it.

Here are some examples that will give you a general idea of how you want to answer.

“In my next role? I’m looking to improve every aspect of my current skill set. Communication, organization, and planning. That’s why I want to be a part of your company. If I were a member of your team, I’d hope we both benefit from learning from each other and keep improving.”

Why This Answer Works

This response works for a few important reasons. First, repeating the question or confirming the question helps translate that you’re listening.

It’s subtle, but it helps you stand out. The second reason is that you can go into more detail with this response.

You’re stating what you want to improve and going into detail about the areas you want to improve.

It’s important to remember that going into too much detail can get dangerous, but in this situation, it’s general enough to apply to most positions.

The speaker expresses why they want to be part of the team and explains that the relationship will benefit both parties, not just the speaker.

“There’s always room for improvement in a sales-based environment, right? I want to sell like the best, and I’m looking to go above any current results I have in my next role. I think the sales position you’re offering is just what I’m looking for.”

Why This Answer Works

This response works for those who still have something to prove and want to show they’re willing to do the work.

Getting that first job with little experience isn’t easy, but just enough experience and enthusiasm can get you through the door.

Asking the interviewer a rhetorical question comes with some risk, but generally, it’s safe. The response shows long-term commitment and lets the interviewer know you’ve thought about the position and what it can provide for you.

You’re trying to engage in some way and continue to provide support about how regardless of your peak, you still want to improve.

“I don’t just want to keep following people. I want to innovate. I’m looking for an opportunity to bring something new and groundbreaking to the organization I’m working for in my next role. I want to contribute beyond just being a cog in the machine. I want to make things happen.”

Why This Answer Works

This response works very well if you’re looking to show leadership qualities and commitment. The speaker states that they don’t want to follow orders.

They want to contribute something more to their next position. Too much feeling may appear fake to the interviewer, so ensure your tone and speech aren’t too stiff.

Frequently, interviewers will single out candidates who have the drive to innovate and show commitment. While this response may sound a bit forceful, the tone of conviction shows how serious you are about the position.

Most people won’t need to respond with such certainty and confidence, but if you’re going for a higher-level position, this is a great response for you.

Additional Tips for Impressing an Interviewer “What Are You Looking For In Your Next Role?”

The odds are you’re not the only one gunning for this current position. While it’s not good to linger on your potential competition, finding ways to separate yourself from the masses and stand out is still important.

Consider these tips if you’re trying to gain an edge on other applications.

  • Ask the interviewer a question: Interact with the interviewer and ask them a question after your response. Get to know them and make a connection. Their response might help you navigate the rest of the interview better.
  • Answer with conviction: Don’t be timid or ponder too long about your response. You already know what you’re looking for, so show the interviewer that this position is it. If you take the time to think about it, the interviewer may get the wrong idea.
  • Tailor your response to the organization: Don’t over-tailor your response but relate your answer to the position you’re trying to get. Show the interviewer that they can offer you something that actually interests you, like job security or a challenging work environment.
  • Give an example: Ideally, if you can provide an example of what you’re looking for in your next position, that would be perfect. Paint an image for the interviewer; hopefully, it’ll improve your point.

Additional Questions to Be Aware Of

Here are some additional questions that may arise during your interview.

Wrapping Up

Don’t be nervous in your next interview. Remember that you did your research and are ready for any question the interviewer will ask you. When they ask what you’re looking for in your next role, remember it’s not a trick question.

Consider why you’re going through the interview and answer with what you want and why that position may be what you’re looking for next.

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