Difficult Interview Question: Which Would You Prefer – Excellent Pay or Job Satisfaction?
If you were paid a million dollars to clean portable toilets, chances are you would do it, because hey – it’s a million freakin’ dollars. There is very little people won’t do for money if the price is right. That is why whether you would trade money for satisfaction is an unfair question – of course you would, if the money was high enough. Still, you have to do better than that.
How to Answer
For obvious reasons, the answer is never “money.” So you are left with two options. One is to discuss why job satisfaction is more important to you, which is the corny answer. Another is to delve more deeply, and make the interviewer think twice about ever asking it again, as we will illustrate below.
“How much money? I’m kidding, of course job satisfaction, since who doesn’t want to be happy all the time right?”
This answer gives me diabetes.
“Interesting. I would always want my pay to be proportionate to the work I produce, and that would play a role in my job satisfaction. In addition, any personal financial stress may affect job satisfaction as well. However, assuming those two are accounted for, then I would prefer to be happy with the work I do, so that I can come home and enjoy that feeling of contentment.”
There you go. This is a nice answer. It incorporates honesty (“You better be giving me good money, fool.”) but it also gives the satisfaction answer, which is what you probably need to give.
Also, don’t go rambling on about how much money it would take you to be willing to sacrifice satisfaction. Those answers never lead anywhere productive.
Take Away Interview Tips
- Your answer is satisfaction.
- You can give a corny answer, or give a more well-rounded answer.