How to Answer Interview Questions About Your Career Goals
All interviewers are interested in a candidate's vision for their future
Read these tips to answer interview questions about your career goals as well as you can
Most potential employers will ask candidates about their future vision for themselves or their career goals. They don't necessarily do this because they want to know whether you have any precise clarity about your future, because that is getting increasingly hard to do. Rather, they want to know if you have a longer term reflections. They are simply checking if you have put in any thought to this question. They might also be trying to establish if the role being interviewed for is just a short-term stepping-stone for another opportunity.
Research from 3Plus in the MBA sector carried out in 2014 indicated that women create career strategies less frequently than their male colleagues. This leaves them at a distinct disadvantage. To quote Lewis Carroll:
“If you don’t know where you’re going any road will get you there”
5 tips to answer interview questions about your career goals
Your answers don't have to be long winded, in fact brevity is even an advantage.
#1 Describe your long term vision
Share your aspirations, the overall problems you would like to solve, or contribution you would like to make. Whatever your long term vision is, now is the time to articulate those thoughts. For example it might be if you would like to lead an international team having acquired a certain type of experience. Or maybe you might look for a cause or mission to commit to. Your vision can be professional or personal or a combination of both.
#2 Outline your plan
A goal without a plan is just a wish. Give concrete actions you would take to reach those goals, including a time line. A list of goals will not be enough. If you have aspirations to a leadership role, identify the personal development steps you may need to take to achieve that position and maybe the interim steps that would be required. Describing a career plan showcases analytical and strategic planning skills.
Are you thinking of a career change? 3Plus can help you with our Returner Roll-Up Session on How To Identify your Transferable Skills.
#3 Focus on short-term goals
To be as convincing as possible weave in any information you might have about the company. This could include their objectives and how they relate to your short term goals. You don’t want to imply that you will jump ship as soon as a better opportunity arises and most employers will be looking for assurance on this level. So ideally feature some elements of the business you are interviewing in and how it could offer you opportunities long term.
#4 Focus on the job in hand
As you are at an interview for a specific job, mention that one of your goals is to work for a company like the one you are interviewing for in the role being discussed in the inetrview. All relevant information will be in the job profile. Focus on how you will add value to the company through the achievement of your own goals. Convince the employer that working for his or her company will help you achieve your goals
#5 Avoid the salary question
Compensation is important to everyone, but keep the focus on general responsibilities and learning opportunities in the early stages.
Suggested top answers
Here are examples of how to answer interview questions about your career goals that you can adjust to meet your own situation.
• "My long term goal would be to run a team in an organisation which is a market leader in providing innovative solutions in their field. I want to experience a business with a best in class reputation for customer experience. This role as Regional Sales Executive offers me the opportunity to build on my 5 years in sales, while getting experience supervising an inside sales team."
• "I am passionate about healthcare education and want to raise awareness of the high level risk of non-communicable diseases to governments, individuals, and healthcare bodies. This role as Policy Officer allows me to develop my communication skills and connect with others who share the same mission. It will allow me to get the message out as widely as possible."
• "People are at the core of any organisation. My goal is to run an HR team where the CHRO is a key part of the business and not a service function. I am fascinated by technology and how it impacts HR. I see the position as HR Business Partner as a step on this path to become familiar with AI, automation and virtual learning."
Create and be prepared to a answer interview questions about your career goals. Practice those responses until they are pitch perfect. The chances are that you will be asked at some point.
Make sure that your recruitment process is attracting the best female talent. 3Plus can help you with workshops on Executive Search and Diversity Recruitment.
Found that interesting?
Learn more about our services
Make your dreams a reality with a professional evaluation of your career to date.
The evidence is in. More women in your company can deliver 35% greater financial returns. (Catalyst)
Download and listen free podcasts
How to Create an Effective USP What is a USP? Our Unique Selling Point or UVP (Unique Value Proposition) is our key core message about where...read more
How to Rethink the Modern Workplace for Gender Equality New research shows that diversity and inclusion is a top priority for leaders. So why...read more
Menopause in the workplace In this podcast with Nicki Williams award winning author, keynote speaker and Founder of Happy Hormones for Life,...read more
How to Cultivate Empathy in the Workplace Nancy Milton, international business communications expert, keynote speaker and author, share some vital...read more
Taking Care of your COW Tanvi Guatam, international Personal Branding expert says there is a misconception out there that a personal brand is...read more
The importance of Hard Talk Dawn Metcalfe, author of Managing the Matrix and Hard Talk, shares with us tips to achieve the lasting communication...read more
When Does Female Rivalry Turn into Sabotage There’s a lot of stuff written on social media about female rivalry and competition between women. Some...read more
Goal setting tips to boost your career The happiest people are those that really love their jobs. Those that don’t, dread Sunday nights and...read more
How to Get Noticed by Head Hunters & Recruiters In this power coaching podcast, we're going to tackle one of the questions asked multiple...read more
Swearing in the workplace used to be a big taboo, but has that changed? Can you now swear whenever and wherever you want?read more
Marketing uses micro-targeting to appeal to female consumers, so why does HR not use micro-targeting to bring women into companies?read more
Is it always the personality trait you need to reach your goals, or can you reach a point when persistence becomes a fatal flaw?read more