Interview Question: If You Could Work For Any Company, Where Would You Work?
Honestly, interview questions can be tough and tricky. Imagine this: You’ve just spent hours applying, taking assessment tests, and finally getting an interview invite. You’ve given your all and you prepare tirelessly for the interview. You want to work with that company and you don’t want anything to go wrong. But minutes into the session, the hiring manager looks at you and asks, “If you could work for any company, where would you work?” The question comes to you as a surprise because you chose to apply to the company when you could have gone elsewhere. So you’re short of words.
We do not want you to be the candidate in that scenario. That’s why we are giving you a heads up. Yes, the question is more common than most people think. Even better, with the right preparation, answering it can be as easy as ABC. Why do hiring managers ask it and what’s the best way to answer? Well, this article is for the right place to find your answers. We have prepared a handful of tips to help you create your answer, dos and don’ts, and even a sample answer. Dig in!
Why Do Interviewers Ask the Question?
Employers want to know if choosing to work with their company is a spur-of-the-moment decision for you or a step in your career that you have thought through. Your answer helps them discern if your plans for your career and your choice of places of employment tallies with the company’s beliefs and the role you are currently being interviewed for.
For instance, if you are asked the question at an interview for an entry-level sales and marketing position, the employer wants to know what you want to achieve in the role and what you expect from your career in general, not only in his company specifically. The hiring manager wants to find out if you have enough interest and are willing to work in a place that provides an opportunity for you to showcase your skills through hard work and grow in the future, probably as a sales executive. Employers ask the question so they can discover candidates’ dreams and aspirations and what conditions they consider important to meet their goals and be productive.
How Should You Answer?
Your aim should be to convince your interviewer that you have viable career goals and that applying for the job is in tandem with what you want to do in his company and the future. You further have to assure him that your ideal workplace is somewhere that fosters your dream.
To understand the question better, you can change it to, “What’s your ideal workplace?” Another great tip that makes answering the question easy is to assume that you are being asked what your dream job is. Focus on the what, not the where. This means that you do not have to read out a list of all the big shot companies where you wish you could work, rather you have to skillfully redirect the question and talk about what kind of place you think is suitable for your skills and knowledge. You should also mention the position or roles you would like to play in your ideal job. If you use the right words, your answer can become an opportunity to sell your brand to the interviewer by dropping reasons why you are an in-demand brand. Here are some tips to get you started.
- Research: Familiarize yourself with the career you are walking into and the specific position you are applying for. Know the tasks and responsibilities associated with the role and also the opportunities available in the career, especially bigger positions you may want to occupy in the future, and the type of goals you expect to meet in an ideal workplace. Find
- Stay in the Moment: While talking about your dream job and future career goals in general, do not forget to bid for the current role, the main reason why you are in the interview room. Use the opportunity to secure a spot for yourself. To successfully do that, go over the company’s values, work style, and ethics, vision, and mission. Incorporate those that resonate with your brand into your answer. Also, mention the skills and duties of the position you are interviewing for. For example, if the company greatly values creativity, talk about your innovative skills and how you would love to work in a place that greatly encourages employees to use their imagination. That is a great way of capturing an interviewer’s attention and reaffirming your interest in the position because every hiring manager wants to hire a candidate that embodies the values of the company. Like we mentioned earlier, use the opportunity to promote your brand and increase your chances of getting the job.
- Assess Yourself: No one knows you better than yourself, not even the interviewer. Carry out thorough self-evaluation to find out your worth as a prospective employee. Ask yourself what you really want from your career, what notable skills and work ethics you have, what factors encourage you to work better, and what you are willing to achieve provided you are in an ideal workplace. Remember that the interviewer wants to gauge what you have to offer from your answer. In fact, your value as an employee is his main concern. So refrain from solely mentioning conditions you require from a workplace and add what you want to give. Instead of saying, “I want to work in a place that makes it easy for me to get promoted”, you could say, “I would love to work in a place where my hard work is seen and appreciated and opportunities presented for me to grow in my career”. It sounds better and presents you in a better light.
- Practice: You can never over practice. When you have decided on what to say, practice before your interview. Aim at sounding natural. While you want to impress the interviewer with how well you have prepared, do not just recite your answer.
- Make your answer brief and straight to the point. You might want to give a little backstory about what inspired you to choose your ideal workplace but make sure it relates to your answer.
- Be honest. You should truly embody the values and work ethics you claim to have. Your ideal workplace should really be the kind of place you wish to work at.
- NEVER mention any company as your preference. Talk in general terms. What if you happened to mention the competition? That would be so awkward and could even cost you your chance of getting the job.
- Don’t give answers that will make the interviewer think that you are not really interested in the job or only interested because of trivial reasons. An answer like, “My dream place to work is somewhere I’ll be paid a lot of money”, or, “…somewhere I can get paid vacations every year”.
Answer by a candidate interviewing for a sales and marketing role:
“If I could work anywhere, it would be at a company that gives me ample room to prove myself through hard work. I am a people person with great interpersonal skills which is a valuable talent in the sales and marketing field because I work with a diverse clientele and have to convince them to become customers. I will always choose to work in a sales company because a career in sales and marketing ensures that an employee’s efforts are visible to everybody from his sales reports. I would love to work in a company that greatly values and appreciates those efforts, celebrates them, and creates opportunities for me to grow and do better”.
This answer is all-encompassing because the candidate was able to explain what his dream job is, his expectations from an ideal place of employment, and his career goals. He was also able to present himself as the best candidate for the job by mentioning the skills he has which clearly, the sales and marketing role requires. We hope this article will help you formulate an answer that works too.