Talk about Career Goals in an Interview Like a Pro w/ Samples

career goals interview question tips
Created by CakeResume

Whether you are just starting your professional career or trying to tackle a new challenge, you will most likely have to go through a couple of job interviews. 

Recruiters do not have a standardized script for an interview. Nonetheless, most of the time, you will hear this question, “What are your career goals?”. 

Talking about your goals in the interview shines a light on how you expect to advance in the career path. The goals you set provide a clear view of the milestones you want to achieve in the short and long run.  

They also ask about your short and long-term goals during an interview in different ways:

  • What do you expect to achieve with this position?
  • Where do you see yourself in five to ten years?
  • What do you intend to achieve in the coming years? 
  • What would your objectives be for the following five years if you get this position?
  • What is your career goal?

No matter how the interviewer phrases the question, you should be ready to answer what are your goals in an interview.

Why Do Interviewers Ask “What Are Your Career Goals?”

Recruiters need to find the closest-to-perfect match for any position they list; hence, asking about your short-term and long-term goals in the interview allows them to gain valuable insight into your motivation, goals, and expected job tenure. 

💭 To know your motivations

When it comes to choosing who to recruit, employers are likely to ask career aspirations interview questions; they need to know if your motives fit the position for a couple of reasons. 

By focusing on your future goals in the interview, they can assess whether you might get bored of the job or not. In the end, highly motivated individuals tend to be more loyal to their companies. Moreover, they are more productive.

💭 To know if your goals align with the company’s

Another purpose of interview questions about professional goals is to check if your objectives overlap with the company’s goals. 

While you might feel your future goals are too personal to talk about in an interview, they can score you some extra points if they align with what the company expects to achieve. Therefore, consider what the company is looking for when telling them your short-term and long-term goals in the interview.

💭 To know if you are likely to work in the company for a long time

Additionally, career goals interview questions investigate how committed you will be to a company. If you mention that you only see the position as a stepping stone, it will raise some red flags.

Turnover is quite costly, so companies try to avoid it as much as possible. That’s why they ask questions about your long-term goals in the interview. Keep this in mind when you prepare the answer about career objectives for an interview.

How to Answer “What Are Your Career Goals?”

Do consider that aside from preparing answers for your short-term goals for an interview, you should also work on your long-term goals interview answers. Read the following to learn how to talk about your goals in an interview.

💡 Set up career goals. 

If you want to prepare some killer answers for short and long-term goals for an interview, you need to make them SMART.

  • Specific: The more specific your goals are, the clearer how to achieve them is.
  • Measurable: You need to track your work to remain focused and motivated.
  • Achievable: Set realistic goals. Work towards something challenging but doable.
  • Relevant: Come up with objectives valuable to you and your company.
  • Time-bound: State your deadline to achieve your goals.

If you come up with SMART goals in an interview, you will increase your chances of leaving a positive impression. Additionally, you need to ensure that the short-term goals for your job interview match your answer when they ask about long-term career goals as an interview question. After all, they are the small stepping stones you will use to get closer to your future ambitions. 

Take a look at the following “what are your career goals” example answers to help you prepare your short-term goals for an interview, as well as coming up with great long-term goal interview answers.

Here are ten short-term goals you can incorporate into your answer when you prepare for interviews: 

  • Change to a new career path and become very knowledgeable
  • Learn from the bests to improve your skills
  • Grow your professional network
  • Put your academic background to practice and grow professionally
  • Find a fulfilling and well-balanced position
  • Take on new challenges, such as a more demanding position
  • Keep polishing your technical abilities
  • Use your free time to learn new skills that will push you ahead
  • Produce satisfactory results for both customers and the company
  • Have a well-organized workstation that can help your productivity and bring better results

Similarly, these are ten examples of long-term goals for you to say in the interview.

  • Become an expert in the position and get a promotion
  • Reach the highest level on a certain skill
  • Develop a powerful professional network and help others become their best selves
  • Be a leader in your field and obtain a higher position
  • Gain the ability to manage large groups of people
  • Qualify for a managerial/senior job
  • Gain enough experience to lead an international team
  • Have the seniority and recognition so you can publish professional articles
  • Give back to the community and use your experience to help others as a coach
  • Transfer to a foreign branch of the company to challenge yourself in a new environment

We hope you get inspired by these examples so you can come up with your future goals in the interview

💡 Research the company and the desired job.

Recruiters like to ask what your goals are for the future as an interview question. Therefore, to be prepared to answer what your aspirations are as an interview question, do your homework. Take the time to understand what the company needs and the requirements for the position. 

After you’ve done your research, you can better answer the question about your career goals in an interview to match what the company desires. 

💡 Prepare an answer based on your research.

If you make your goals SMART and make sure they go in the same direction as the company’s goals in the interview, you will have no problems. Remember to mention your short-term goals in the job interview to show them you know what you want now and how you can benefit them. 

Moreover, prepare some long-term goals for the interview that show your ambition and loyalty to the company. 

A tailored answer to the interview question about goals covers the skills you can learn from a position and other relevant benefits that help you reach the future goals you mention in the interview.

Read the tips to know how to better answer what your goals are in a job interview.

Tips for Answering “What Are Your Career Goals”

The following tips are to help prepare for questions about your career objectives for the interview.

✏️ Keep your answer relevant to the role.

It is vital that when you mention your goals in the interview you keep the job position in mind. Remember to do your homework. Analyze what the company requires so the recruiter can see how you and the company can benefit from each other when you tell them your short and long-term goals in the interview. 

✏️ Include both short-term and long-term goals.

As we mentioned, when disclosing your goals in an interview you need to include both short and long-term goals. When you talk about your long-term goals in the interview, you show your ambition for professional development. 

By telling the recruiter what your short-term goal is during the interview questions you show them how you plan to achieve your ambitions. Your short-term goals need to be coherent with your plan to achieve your goal for the further future. 

✏️ Keep your answers short and focused.

One of the principles of SMART goal setting is to make it specific. Therefore, when you answer the interview question concerning career goals, try your best to avoid coming up with a long list of goals. Instead, choose a couple of your main goals and focus on how you intend to make them come true. 

When you clearly state what your career goals are during the interview question, you show the recruiter you have your head in the game. 

✏️ Avoid talking about money.

Avoid focusing on money when you talk about your short-term and long-term goals in an interview. Tell them goals related to the work you want to achieve, not about the salary you expect to obtain. 

Certainly, money can be your drive to look for a job, but that is not what recruiters want to hear when they ask career aspirations questions in the interview.

Instead of saying that you want to earn $80,000 a year by the time you are 30, focus on the position you want. Try saying you want to be in a managerial position instead when they ask for your long-term goals in the interview.

“What Are Your Career Goals?” Best Sample Answers

Whether you are looking for short-term goals examples for an interview or you are stuck searching for example answers of long-term goals for an interview, we got you covered. 

Sample answers for when recruiters ask what your career goals are in an interview. 

“What Are Your Career Goals?” Sample Answer for Freshers

This question can be a bit complicated for freshers. Look at this sample on how to answer what your goals are for the future in a  job interview: 

I desire to take advantage of this possibility of becoming an intern to learn as much as possible about project management. I hope to train under your expert project managers and expect my hard work to grant me a more permanent position, such as a project management assistant, in your company within the first year. I anticipate achieving a project manager position within the next five years. 

“What Are Your Career Goals?” Sample Answer for Digital Marketing Freelancers

Freelancers’ goals tend to focus on setting an income objective or a specific number of clients. However,  when recruiters ask what your goals are as an interview question, you should refrain from focusing on those details. Instead, you can try the following. 

I have been working as a freelancer for a couple of years and am now hoping to switch to an in-house position to learn how to manage a team. I hope to use my experience in digital marketing to bring you good results while developing my managerial skills. 

“What Are Your Career Goals?” Sample Answer for Human Resources Managers

In an interview for an HR role, your short-term and long-term goals can heavily influence the interview result. Here is an example of how to answer what your future plan is as an interview question if you are trying to advance your career in HR. 

I have worked as a human resources specialist for the past four years. However, now I wish to tackle new challenges and obtain the HR generalist position you offer. I expect to become an expert on recruiting and selection. Moreover, I hope to take on more administrative responsibilities. I aim to become an HR and an HR Manager in the future. 

“What Are Your Career Goals?” Sample Answer for a Sales Entry Position

Check this sample on how to answer what your goals are for the future when looking for an entry-level sales-related position. 

My immediate goal is to become your sales representative. During the first year, I expect to become an exemplary employee. I want to learn about negotiation, liaising with customers, and cooperating with departments. I intend to get the best certifications like CPSP. I wish to snatch a sales executive position within the first four years. Moreover, I expect to become an account manager for your company in the distant future. 

“What Are Your Career Goals?” Sample Answer for a Full-Stack Engineer

Those interested in mentioning their short-term and long-term goals in an interview for a full/stack engineer position, consider the following sample. 

I became familiar with HTML, Java, and Python in high school. I had some part-time jobs that allowed me to build a portfolio in college. Now, I am looking for a full-time position like the one you offer. I intend to refine my skills and put my experience at your service. I wish to move from the junior position to a senior one in four to five years. 

🔑 Key Takeaways:

Before we finish, let us do a quick recap. It is important to plan your answers for short-term goals for an interview to show you have a clear idea of how the position matches your immediate needs. 

Moreover, make sure your short-term goals match your answer when they ask you what your long-term goal is like in an interview question. Your vision needs a mission. 

Don’t forget to make your goals SMART, relevant to the position (don’t get greedy, avoid making them about money).

Finally, remember that those career aspirations interview questions are designed to assess how well you fit the company. Make sure to keep their needs in mind!

We wish you the best in your interview and hope you found our information on career goals interview questions useful!

CakeResume provides the best resume making tools & templates to help you create the perfect resume for your job hunt. Take your career journey to new heights - create a resume online (free download) now!

--- Originally written by Roger Rene Ortega Figueroa ---

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