How to Answer: ‘What Challenges Are You Looking For?’

During a job interview, it’s common for an interviewer to ask you, ‘What challenges are you looking for in a new position?’. There are several reasons why interviewers are interested in your motivation to work for their company. The main goal is to determine what motivates you and whether or not you would be a good fit for the job.

For you, it’s important that your answer demonstrates what makes you qualified for the position and how your goals align with what the company can offer you. Furthermore, you can use your answers to show that you are motivated by challenges and that you are able to deal with the difficult tasks you will encounter on the job.

Other ways interviewers can ask you the same question:

  • What are you looking for in your next position?
  • Tell me about the things you find most important in your next job?
  • What about this job opportunity excites you the most?
  • Can you describe what challenges you are looking for in your next position?

In this blog, we discuss why hiring managers ask you about what challenges you look for in a job. Also, read more about frequently asked job interview questions here and check our job interview preparation checklist.

Learn more about common job interview questions and how to answer them.

Why Interviewers Ask What Challenges You Are Looking For

In general, this question is often asked during job interviews. It could be asked during the initial stages of the job application process, such as a phone interview. However, it can also be asked in the later stages.

There are a couple of reasons why hiring managers want to know what challenges you’re looking for. Of course, they are interested in you as a person, what motivates you, and what your goals are. Also, they want to assess if you did your homework and if you understand what the position entails.

Another reason to ask about challenges is that they want to know how the position fits into your career goals and what you plan to achieve within the position. Interviewers are always interested in candidates who have set their own goals and are motivated to accomplish them.

Also, employers prefer candidates who are able to explain their specific reasons for wanting the position. From an employer’s perspective, these candidates are more likely to be more motivated and interested in job responsibilities and challenges. Furthermore, these people are more likely to stay long-term.

When you get the question ‘What challenges are you looking for?’ in an interview, you should see this as an opportunity for you to demonstrate that you’re motivated and eager to grow as a professional.

How To Answer ‘What Challenges Are You Looking For?’

Before we discuss actual answers to the question ‘What challenges are you looking for?‘ we first explain a couple of important aspects that you should take into account. Even though questions about challenges can be used as an opportunity to demonstrate your skills, you should still do this concise and to the point.

Your answer should match the company goal and culture

Make sure your answer corresponds with the job requirements. Focus on explaining what challenges motivate you and how this relates to solving the challenges that the company is facing.

To find out what these challenges are, you should perform proper company research. Start with the job description and gather all the relevant information required. Also, check the company website to get a better idea of its mission statement, vision, company culture, and products/services. Furthermore, check media reports and recent news about the company. A company’s social media platforms are usually also smart to research.

If you have somebody in your network who worked for or works at the company, this is even better. He or she might give you some more insightful information on what the company looks for in employees.

Getting all the necessary information will help you to highlight the problem-solving skills you have that will be most relevant to that position and the company.

Give an answer that is in line with the job you’re applying for

Your answer should include challenges that you are most likely to encounter in the position that you’re applying for. Prepare an answer to this question that focuses on a balance between realistic problem-solving and achievable goals.

Discuss a skill you are working on improving

Bring up skills that you want to improve or that you already start working on improving. Explain to the interviewer what your goal is and what your plan is on how to get there. For example:

‘I’m currently working on improving my public speaking skills to become a confident and compelling speaker. As I progress in my career, I’ve realized that if I want to become a top manager, I have to sharpen my communication skills as well.

Whether I’m talking in a team meeting or presenting in front of an audience, I have to speak publically more often as I develop myself as a professional. This opportunity is perfect for me to do just that. By developing these skills to an expert level, it will give me more confidence as a manager and will make me and eventually my team more productive as well. My current goal is to go from being a good speaker to a great speaker.’

What to avoid when answering questions about challenges

  • Don’t bring up challenges that would either prevent you from doing your job properly or challenges that are impossible to resolve.
  • Also, don’t suggest challenges that are ‘relatively’ easy, as this won’t allow you to show that you are eager to learn and show your growth potential as well.
  • Don’t dodge the question. It could be tempting to be vague or to avoid admitting anything that might reveal a weakness. It’s important to realize that the interviewer asks this question is looking for you to demonstrate honesty and self-awareness. Employers are looking for candidates who know their strengths and their development points. Also, showing that challenges motivate you is a good thing.

Learn more about work ethic questions and how to answer them.

Example answer 1: What challenges are you looking for?

‘My short-term goals are fairly simple. I want to further develop and use my communication and project management skills in this job. I’m focused on gaining as much experience as I can over the next years to eventually grow into a position that will allow me to continue to use these skills while also managing my own team. I want to achieve these goals by working on different projects and different teams.

To be able to manage a team effectively, communication is key, and I look forward to taking on small leadership roles, eventually working my way up. This opportunity is the right one for me since it’s the next step in my career that allows me to continue to grow as a professional. Furthermore, one of my key motivators is the ability to work with different coworkers from different departments, so this is especially exciting about this opportunity for me.’

Learn more about tough interview questions and how to answer them!

Example answer 2: What challenges are you looking for?

‘I’ve been working as a senior marketer and team manager for four years now, but I’ve come to a point where I’m ready to take on more leadership responsibility. When I came across this position and read the job description, I noticed the emphasis on leadership and marketing project management skills. As soon as I read the description, I felt like this is a great fit for me.

I’m eager to combine my marketing experience with my developed team management skills, and this position perfectly aligns with my career goals. The opportunity would allow me to train my own team, which is a challenge I’m very excited about. Could you please tell me more about what you’re looking for in your ideal candidate for this position?’

Learn more about career goal interview questions and how to answer them!

Job Interview Topics – Common Job Interview Questions & Answers

Below you can find a list of common job interview topics. Each link will direct you to an article regarding the specific topics that discuss commonly asked interview questions. Furthermore, each article discusses why the interviewer asks these questions and how you answer them!

  1. Accomplishments
  2. Adaptability
  3. Admission
  4. Behavioral
  5. Career Change
  6. Career Goals
  7. Communication
  8. Competency
  9. Conflict Resolution
  10. Creative Thinking
  11. Cultural Fit
  12. Customer Service
  13. Direct
  14. Experience
  15. Government
  16. Graduate
  17. Growth Potential
  18. Honesty & Integrity
  19. Illegal
  20. Inappropriate
  21. Job Satisfaction
  22. Leadership
  23. Management
  24. Entry-Level & No experience
  25. Performance-Based
  26. Personal
  27. Prioritization & Time Management
  28. Problem-solving
  29. Salary
  30. Situational & Scenario-based
  31. Stress Management
  32. Teamwork
  33. Telephone Interview
  34. Tough
  35. Uncomfortable
  36. Work Ethic