What not to say when an interviewer asks, ‘What’s your dream job?’

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Even if the job you’re interviewing for isn’t your dream job, hiring managers are still interested in knowing how the position aligns with your career goals.



In a recent episode of CNBC’s “The Job Interview,” in which candidates interview for real jobs while being filmed, two co-owners asked applicants about their dream job in an effort to see just how well they will fit into their company.
Justin Herrick and Adam Lowenstein, co-owners of Watershed Hospitality, are looking for a catering and events sales manager. Their company manages a range of restaurants and bars in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where they serve thousands of students at the University of Michigan. In their search for a candidate with great communication skills, restaurant experience and sales experience, Herrick and Lowenstein are also interested in hearing about each candidate’s long-term goals.

When posing the question about an applicant’s dream job, the co-owners were surprised by a response that had nothing to do with the position on the table.”From the age of probably 5 years old, I watched ‘Jerry Maguire’ and I wanted to be a sports agent,” said one job seeker.

When Lowenstein made it clear that the role he’s interviewing for is unrelated to sports, the applicant responded with a smile, “Show me the money.”



He continued to elaborate on his dream of being a sports agent and entrepreneur by adding, “There is nothing more that I would say that I love out there than actually working for myself and being able to do what I want to do. At 24, I’m just trying to find some stability.”

While an honest answer helps an interviewer narrow down their search for the right candidate, it can negatively impact you as the applicant who is eager to land the job.

Best-selling management author and CNBC contributor Suzy Welch says that even if you’re interviewing for a position that is less than ideal, you never want to let a hiring manager know.

“A lot of times the job you’re interviewing for isn’t your dream job, but you need to say it is,” she says.

Welch adds that employers are interested in hiring people who really want to work for them so it’s important that you expand on parts of the job you love in order to avoid being eliminated from the running.

In the end, the applicant who wanted to be a sports agent was eliminated from the interview process as Lowenstein and Herrick were looking for a candidate who was more excited about the position.

The applicant who did land the job impressed the employers by discussing his passion to work for small businesses because of the potential for growth and greater impact.

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