I am a software engineer and I usually get this question and the end of a long interview process. After hours of tough technical sessions, by the end of the day I'm ready to go home and decompress. Yes, if I've done well on the coding tests, I usually have a manager come in and say "relax, no more coding questions, I just want to have a chat." Whereupon follows a set of open-ended questions with no right answers. The king of these is "what do you want," or "what are you looking for in your next job" type.

Are these money questions, or questions about what motivates me, or something else? How do I answer them?


5 Answers 5


what are you looking for in your next job?

This is NOT about money, this is about what kind of challenge you are looking for.

The company will be looking to you to tick the boxes about how the job you've been interviewing for will give you the things you want so you'll be happy taking the role, will not see it a boring (as you can do it in your sleep), and not be looking for promotion/next job in the next few months.

So you need to provide a good answer to this, or you won't get the job (as it looks like you've found out). You need to show how the points they've raised in the interview (along with their company aims) align with you aims, so you look like a natural fit in the particular role they want filled. It should be a natural progression for you to move into this role, come across as it being too simple (or too much of a leap), and they'll look for someone else.

  • So then why they do not ask "what challanges do you want to not get bored" instead of what do you want? Mar 19, 2017 at 10:34

These are soft skills questions. The way I see it, they want you tell a story, where you came from, where you see yourself going to and what would be your involvement in the company in the process. They are no usually money related, but it is an opportunity for you to explain what contributions you bring to the table and how you see the company benefit from you working there.

It also tests your capacity to communicate.


These are questions to judge you as a potential worker for fitness in their team and your role.

Best way to answer is along the theme of how well suited the role you are applying for is. Don't go into future aspirations too much. Focus on the here and now and a few years on and all in the context of you getting the job. Gain experience, get ahead, work on interesting projects, anything like that that fits the role.


Basically, they want to know if you actually want/would like the job. It's expensive to hire and train people only to have them quit three months later, so they have an incentive to know if the job's actually a good fit for you.

Besides, engaged workers are consistently better workers and easier to get along with. If you hate your job, that'll be reflected in your performance, initiative, work quality, motivation, and morale. Even worse, bad morale can be "contagious."

A third reason they want to know is so they can know how likely you are to take a job if they make an offer.


what are you looking for in your next job?

I see this as a cultural fit question, and to answer it I would take the reasons you want to leave your current job and restate it as a positive. For example, a few jobs ago I was unhappy about our (lack of) development process and how every release went out late. What I was looking for in my next job was a company with more structure and discipline, where I could feel proud of what my team built instead of embarassed that we were delivering late again.

I believe they're asking what kind of company/development process/team you want to work in.

Personally I would be completely honest about what I want in a job because I think it's a waste of time to take a job where I would just be unhappy.

On the other hand, if you really just need a job right now you may want to focus less on your ideal job and more on convincing that company you want their job. You can do that by figuring out what kind of company they are (a little research before applying and asking questions of your own throughout the interview process helps here) and then saying you want to work at that kind of company.

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