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What Challenges Are You Looking For in a Position?

A job interview is your chance to sell yourself to a potential employer, showcasing your aptitude and enthusiasm for the job. The interview question “What challenges are you looking for in a position?” is a great opportunity to demonstrate that you’re not only professionally ambitious but that you’re a good fit for this particular role.

Why do interviewers ask what challenges you’re looking for?

Companies want workers who are engaged with their jobs, not drones who merely punch in, do the bare minimum, and punch out. Feeling challenged in your work is an important ingredient to being engaged. So, an interviewer wants to see that you’ll feel adequately stimulated by the position. 

They also want to learn more about what drives you and what you’re interested in. The types of challenges that you find appealing will tell them about your personality and work style, which are two important factors in whether you’re a strong choice for the job. 

What interviewers are looking for when they ask about challenging yourself

When an interviewer asks what challenges you’re looking for, they want to see whether your ambitions match up with the duties of the position. If they can’t offer you what you’re looking for in terms of job responsibilities or advancement opportunities, you’re not going to be very happy and might not stay very long. So, they’re looking for alignment in this area. 

They also want to hear that you’re motivated. Your answer can indicate whether you’re open to trying new things, taking on more advanced responsibilities, or pushing yourself professionally, all of which may be important qualities in the right candidate. 

This question probably won’t come up if you’re interviewing for a repetitive job with few advancement opportunities. If an interviewer is asking about this topic, it’s probably because there are aspects of the job that are going to challenge you, and they want to make sure you’re up for it.

How to answer the interview question ‘What challenges are you looking for in a position?’

Assess your career goals

Begin by thinking carefully about what you want in your professional life. Are you looking to lead a team? Become more specialized in your area of expertise? Shift into a new career path? These ambitions will help craft a compelling answer.

Think of the challenges that align with those goals

Next, figure out what challenges this job might offer that are related to your goals. If you want to become a manager, you might cite the challenge of motivating a team. If you want to become a subject-matter expert, you might explain that you hope to take on more complex projects. The key is to cite challenges that will be realistic and available in this position. 

Name relevant aspects of the position

Solidify your strong answer by naming a few specific aspects of the job that caught your eye while searching. What made you stop scrolling and look closer? A hiring manager likes to hear these things because it demonstrates that you’re genuinely interested in the position and not just looking for a paycheck. 

How not to answer

Cite challenges the job doesn’t offer

If you ultimately want to change careers but are applying for a job in your same field, it’s not a good idea to reveal this goal as it can cause concern that the position won’t hold your interest for long. The same goes for any challenges you wouldn’t likely experience in the job you’re applying for. 

Sample answers to “What challenges are you looking for in a position?”

Example #1

“I’m looking for a job that will push me to learn and use new technical skills. I recently obtained my Amazon Web Services certification, so I was excited to see that working with AWS was one of the primary duties of this job.”

Example #2

“I’d like a job that allows me to solve problems creatively. I currently work for a government agency, meaning things must be done a certain way. There’s not a lot of room for trying new things. I love that your company has a reputation for out-of-the-box ideas. I think I could make a big contribution in that area.”

Example #3

“I’m excited to take on the challenge of managing a team. When I’ve been the lead on projects in the past, one of my favorite aspects was interacting with different personalities to achieve a shared goal. I would get to do this regularly as an associate manager, which is one of the main reasons I applied for this job.”

Remember to keep your answer positive–these are good challenges we’re talking about, not bad ones–and focus on how your strengths will serve you in achieving your goals.