How to Answer The "What Are You Looking For In a New Position" Interview Question

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Nov 16, 2022 4 min read

When you are looking for a new job, you will most likely be asked a question like “What are you looking for in a new position?”.

It seems pretty straight-forward, but you still need to be careful how you answer.

You can go for a simple answer, like you are looking for a new challenge, or you can decide to go for a more complicated answer, that would describe your current situation.

Either way, you should not feel obligated to share all the details.

To get you prepared for this question, we are going to explore the following questions:

  • Why do recruiters ask “What are you looking for in a new position?”
  • What is the best approach to answer “What are you looking for in a new position?”

And we are going to leave you off with some great example answers to help you prepare your own.

So, if you are ready to learn how to get your answer just right, stick around.

Why do recruiters ask "what are you looking for in a new position?"

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Before we go on to building up your answer to be as good as possible, we need to figure out what the recruiter wants to find out with that question.

There are two big reasons for recruiters to ask “What are you looking for in a new position?”.

First, they want to see whether you are searching for specific jobs, and you are motivated to do them, rather than willing to get the first job you can get.

You need to show that you have specific reasons for wanting this job. This way you show them that you are motivated and actually interested in the work.

The other reason for recruiters to ask this question is to determine whether this job can fit what you are looking for, and that you would fit in the company team.

To make sure you get this right, make sure you do your research beforehand and prepare yourself for this interview question.

Best approach to answer "What are you looking for in a new position?"

Depending on your reasons for searching for a new job, your answer can vary. And it is quite likely you would be asked some follow-up questions after you answer “What are you looking for in a new position?”

However, there are a few steps you can take to help you with both your answer, and any follow-up questions that may occur.

Focus on your skills and accomplishments

When starting your answer, you need to remember to think of the question from the recruiter’s point of view.

You might want a high salary, and the opportunity to nap any time you want, but that would not impress anybody.

Instead, you need to focus on your skills and accomplishments, and use them to show that this job would give you more opportunities to use your whole skill set.

Explain your motivation and long-term goals

When you have already highlighted your relevant achievements and skills, you can strengthen your point by discussing your motivation and long-term goals.

You need to assure the recruiter that you are interested in the position, and you aim to stick around for a long time.

That can only work in your favor, as no recruiter would like their candidate to go searching for a new job within the next year.

Connect your answer to the company

When you have shown all your strengths and your motivation to stay in the company for a long time, you need to wrap things up.

If your answer is too long, consider summing it up, but if it is not, you don’t need to do so.

Either way, you need to connect all your points back to the company you are interviewing for.

That’s the part you need to focus one last time that you are excited both about the company, and the position you are interviewing for.

Be honest

Last but not least, don’t hesitate to be honest about what you did not like about your past position.

However, make sure you describe all your dislikes professionally – focus on what you would prefer, but don’t include any negative emotions or comments against your previous employers.

Example answers to "what are you looking for in a new position?"

And now, as promised, we are going to provide you with some example answers to help you out with your own.

Example 1

I would love to have some more hands-on work on projects in my next role. I have enjoyed talking to clients in my current position, but I did not have the chance to handle more responsibilities, like managing deliverables and delegating tasks. I feel that I am ready to take on that challenge, and I hope I have the chance to take it on in my next position.

Example 2

After a couple of years trying to make my last job work, I realized that I should try to find a job that is a better fit with my career goals. While being let go from a job is not easy, I believe I have gained lots of valuable experience and have grown in many ways. I would love to tell you how I have grown, and how the experience I have gained can contribute to achieving the company’s goals.


We are all done, now you know how to get the best out of your answer when asked “What are you looking for in a new position?”

Let’s do a quick recap of everything you need to do to get this right:

  • Focus on your skills and accomplishments – that’s what the recruiter is actually interested in, so make sure you highlight everything relevant
  • Explain your motivation and long-term goals – you can further strengthen your point by showing the recruiter you are there for the long run
  • Connect your answers to the company – make sure you connect everything back to the company and show that you are a great fit to the team
  • Be honest – don’t hesitate to share what you did not like about your previous job, but make sure you do it professionally

Check out our examples one last time, and make your interview answer the best it can be.

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Kal Dimitrov
Kaloyan Dimitrov is a resume expert and content manager at Enhancv. He frequently publishes blog posts around resume writing, cover letters & job applications, and authors more than 500 publications on the site. Kaloyan also runs a Career Accelerator Bootcamp for young graduates where he applies his practical knowledge of job applications and writing resumes and educates people on how to present their best selves in front of business representatives. His opinions on resume writing and career development have been featured in Chron., as well as cited by top universities such as Simon Fraser University and UCL.
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