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.


Answer Interview Questions About Your Career Goals

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.

3Plus, 3Plus online e-Gazine for professional women, Candidate, Candidate indentification, Executive Search and Recruitment, Female Talent Pipeline
Staff Writer: Career
Web | Email |
3Plus welcomes any writers to join 3Plus as a Staff Writer. If you are an expert in Job Search, Career and Mentoring or just want to share your experiences, contact us! We would love to give you a voice!

Leave a Reply

Found that interesting? Learn more about our services
Individual services
Make your dreams a reality with a professional evaluation of your career to date.
more info
Corporate services
The evidence is in. More women in your company can deliver 35% greater financial returns. (Catalyst)
more info
Upcoming events
Currently we don't have upcoming events
Download and listen free podcasts
How to get Noticed by Head Hunters and Recruiters
Free Download

In this power coaching podcast, we’re going to tackle one of the questions asked multiple times a week by active job seekers and passive candidates.

How can I get noticed by head hunters and recruiters and connect with them?

In this short power coaching podcast Dorothy Dalton shares some tips and tricks to make sure that you are always on the radar of the recruitment and search specialists who can be most helpful to you. With extensive experience in executive search and corporate HR Dorothy has placed, coached and trained thousands of men and women to career success. As a career coach she has a deep understanding of the job search market and what job seekers need to do to position themselves to they are easily found.

As CEO of 3Plus she also has deep experience of the challenges women face in the workplace. Sadly because women tend not to create career strategies they can be vulnerable when it comes to dealing with change. Regular transitions become career crises. In this short session you will learn some simple tips and tricks to make sure you are on the radar of key recruitment specialists in your sector, geography or function.  It’s not rocket science.





One of the most puzzling things about working in executive search is that people and I say this reluctantly particularly women fail to plan ahead. You’ve heard me say before that only 5% of women have a career strategy. This means that they are not prepared for any emergencies until they become a crisis.


Goal setting tips to boost your career
Free Download

The happiest people are those that really love their jobs. Those that don’t, dread Sunday nights and the upcoming work week. So how do you get to a place where you look forward to a new week of doing what satisfies you? You’ll have to either learn to love your current role, or make a commitment to pursue your dream job. Use these goal setting tips to help you get to where you want to be.

Some women choose the latter, and to do so you’ll have to set career goals to get where you want to be. So make sure you have a detailed plan on how to land a job that you will tick all the boxes.

The majority of women choose to stay in their own organizations and even then you still need to have goals, not just KPis set by your manager. But even if you do see your career developing within your current business it’s still important to set goals.

Many women struggle with career planning and creating a career strategy which can lead to problems. This makes them vulnerable to and sort of challenge which can moprh into a full blown career crisis. Some simple steps to plan and prepare can help avoid this.

Take a look at these goal setting tips to help boost your career and set you on the right path.

Lewis Carroll  said

If you don’t know where you are going any road will get you there.”

Research shows that only about 5% of women create career goals and a career strategy. This can have a negative impact on your career progression. It means you are reactive not proactive and career glitches can morph into full blown crises. It puts women at a clear disadvantage to men.

Learn these simple goal setting tips to boost your career and protect and prepare you for all eventualities. If these goal setting tips make you think that you could use some further help,  contact us immediately.


When Does Female Rivalry Turn into Sabotage
Free Download

There’s a lot of stuff written on social media about  female rivalry and competition between women. Some of it makes sense and some of it is confusing. Organizations are pyramids with fewer roles at the top than at the bottom. It is inevitable that at some level, as more and more women are in the talent pipeline, at some point they will be in competition with other women.

Many would say that women aren’t competitive. I would suggest re-framing that. I think it’s more accurate to say they are not as competitive in the workplace as men. We have also been made to feel guilty about being competitive. We need to get over that.  Here are the reasons:

  1. The male nature of corporate culture makes it a disincentive to compete
  2. Women don’t want to compete because  prescribed male goals are not attractive enough for them. “Work 14 hour days, not see my partner or family … get sick.. thanks.. I’ll pass”
  3. Women don’t know how to compete in the workplace. They are new arrivals on the corporate competition scene and lack practise.
  4. Women experience gender blow back when they do compete, from both men and women
  5. Women have been raised to think that competing with other women is not empowering them. As more women enter the talent pipeline that is just nonsense.

Learn some insights from Annabel Kaye, Employment Law Expert about how it’s OK to be competitive and the danger zone when it can turn into sabotage. Understand the benefits of mutual support and how all women can profit from having strong strategic allies, role models and mentors.






The importance of Hard Talk
Free Download

Dawn Metcalfe, author of Managing the Matrix and Hard Talk, shares with us  tips to achieve the lasting communication skills needed to tackle the difficult conversations we encounter in the workplace. Hard Talk answers the big questions like:

  • How do I manage a boss who insists on micro-managing me?
  • How do I let a high performer know that they are not getting the promotion he wants?
  • What can I do about a direct report who doesn’t show me respect?
  • How do I tell my boss that despite all efforts our deadline on an important deliverable will be missed?

In this podcast, Dawn Metcalfe will give us an overview to handle challenging scenarios to empower you with the skills needed to ensure you have these conversations in the best way and generate the best outcome. Make your workplace and your professional experience more fruitful and less fraught by learning the importance of Hard Talk.