We’ve now covered the best resume tips and interview tips for making a successful career change. Prepare for and practice these questions so you’re not caught off-guard when you hear them.
Most of these questions will also be a clickable link so you can read further about each question and see example answers if you want more help.
Why are you looking to change careers?
This is the most obvious/basic question you can expect to hear in the interview as a career changer.
As mentioned earlier in this article, you really need to be ready to show that you have solid reasons for wanting this new career, and that you understand what this new career/job involves.
Also, avoid badmouthing your previous jobs and bosses. Just focus on the positive things you hope to gain in this change!
Another variation of this question that you might hear is: “why do you want to leave your current job?”
Even if they phrase it like this, don’t get sucked into badmouthing or talking negatively about what you dislike right now.
Refocus the conversation back on the positive things you’re looking to gain by making this change.
Why did you choose this career?
When they ask this interview question, be ready to show you’ve put a lot of thought into this change.
You can’t seem like you’re desperate, unsure what you want, or just trying to “escape” your current job/career, or you will not get hired.
What other companies are you interviewing with?
I’d recommend not sharing specific employer names when they ask this. You can say you’d like to keep their names private, and you’d do the same for this employer if someone else were to ask you.
However, you do want to be ready to talk about the types of companies you’re interviewing at.
Ideally, show them you’re applying for many jobs in the same field of work. You want to show them that their job is exactly what you’re looking for right now.
Why do you think you’d do well in this job?
As a career changer answering this interview question, you’ll want to highlight the most relevant pieces of your past work.
Show any similarities you can between your past work and this new job you’ll be performing. It’s not always easy, but there are always some similarities you can point to if you think and prepare enough.
You want to show specific proof you can succeed, and avoid general statements like, “well, I’m a hard worker and a very fast learner.” Everyone says this and it’s not persuasive at all.
What do you know about our company?
Always research a company before going into the interview.
- Who is their CEO?
- How many locations do they have?
- Why and when were they founded?
- What do they sell or how do they make money?
- Who is their typical customer?
What motivates you?
This is a very open-ended question, and there isn’t one “right” answer, but make sure you do have something prepared.
When changing careers, the interviewer will want to make sure you’re going to be motivated in this new line of work.
This is important to any employer in the interview, and especially important if you’re changing roles or changing careers.
Make sure you’re ready to give a good answer about what motivates you to come to work each day, and why this new career motivates you.
How is your job search going?
Employers ask this to get a general sense of your confidence and how you’re feeling about your job hunt.
They also want to know if you have other job offers, other interviews going on, etc. You can click the link above to read more about this specific question.
In general, you want to sound like you’re confident and excited. It’s okay if you don’t have any job offers yet, you can just say, “well, I’m just beginning to search and it’s going well so far…”
Don’t lie, though. Lies lead to more lies and can cost you the job.
What’s your dream job?
This is a tough interview question to answer, especially as a career changer. Ideally, you’ll want to talk about how this new career you’re pursuing has a lot of traits that make it an attractive job for you.
The basic idea is: You don’t need to say this is your dream job. Instead, talk about what traits/qualities your dream job would have (for example leadership, flexibility, a chance to be creative, a chance to make an impact in the world or help people, etc.)… and then talk about how this job offers some of that.
How do you make decisions?
When changing careers, you’ll want to make sure to show employers that you think about decisions carefully, use facts and logic, etc.
You want to sound like you have a process or system for making good decisions. You never want to sound like you just make random, emotional decisions all the time without analyzing the situation, especially when trying to change careers.
Show that you always try to weigh your options and think about the different choices you have and the pros and cons of each.