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How to Answer Career Goal Questions during an Interview?

How to answer what are your career goals questions during an interview? Here, we’ve outlined all you need to know about setting up a career goal that speaks!

Answering the Career Goal Questions during Interview

Interviews can be tricky and make your chance of getting a job more tedious with simple questions like:

  • What are your career goals?
  • Where do you see yourself in the next 5years?

You can have all the Job qualifications in the world, have all the great attitudes alongside a great presentation, and fail to land your dream job due to a shaky career goal.

One of the most tricky interview questions is, what your career goals are and you need to brace up to answer these.

When you sit in front of an interviewer and you get asked: What are your career goals and how do you plan to achieve them?

Be rest assured that this question alone could determine if you are employable by the company or you are just any other job-seeker.

What are your career goals?

The best way to give a suitable answer to this question is to make sure, your answer tallies with the company’s future as you bring an extra flair to the organization.

When you answer career goal questions by tapping into the company’s ideas and ethics, you tend to put a smile on your would-be employers during interviews.

How to answer career goal questions?

  1. Be practical – One of the most satisfying approaches to answering this question is being practical.

You need to wow (not too much) your would-be employers with what you’ve been able to achieve in the past as related to your career.

Now, here is the tricky part; when mentioning your past achievements in relation to your career goals, make sure it is in line with the company you are applying for.

E.g: When applying for a pharmaceutical job, it would be unethical to brag about having gone through a course in electrical maintenance – They are just not related!

Your career goal must align with the company you apply to!

  1. Previous Experience – In a bit to better answer questions on your career goals, it is expedient to also delve briefly into the past and what you’ve been able to achieve as it relates to the organization.

Your employers would love to hear how well you’ve implemented your ‘Career Goals’ thus far and to checkmate if you are on the right path!

Give instances that you believe have been magical as a follower and how you would have done it in an evolving organization.

  1. Aim for the long term – Don’t be seen by employers as a ‘job hopper’, moving from one place of work to another!

No employer would want to invest in an employee who is not for the long term!

No boss wants to train an employee who would move to another company in the shortest possible time.

Take a football club, for instance, the reason why players sign 5years, 10years contract is to commit themselves to the Football club.

No Football club will sign a player who only plans to spend a year! It’s always a bad investment!

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Therefore, you need to avoid answers like:

  • I’m here to learn
  • I plan to set up my own business soon (who says that!)
  • I’m looking to add to my skills and knowledge (Go to a school instead!)
  1. Display Passion – In answering interview questions as much as it relates to your career goals, you must display a great level of enthusiasm.

You need to match your credentials and claims with passion when explaining your career goals.

Let them know they’ve got an individual who is willing to go the extra mile in furthering the vision of the organization.

  1. Never Assume – We tend to turn to the YES-MACHINE when we face an interview panel and most often, we assume we know!

If you are asked a question that your interviewer feels should be part of your career goal, never assume you know! Courtesy demands you use words like ‘that’s a great one’ instead of ‘Ok or Yes’.

And if you feel their observation violates what you stand for, courtesy also demands you be diplomatic by using phrases like ‘well, I’ve never seen this from that perspective before! But don’t you think it’s better if…’

Don’t assume by turning to the YES SIR, YES SIR employee.

Be diplomatic with your words and get off the grips without causing harm.

What are your career goals?

Please note: The above discussion on your career goals can be twisted by your interviewer just to get you off guard!

This question can be asked simply as “What are your career goals?” or what are your 5year goals? Some organizations might even ask you where do you see yourself in the next 10years?

Irrespective of the way the question gets coined, it all means the same thing! It is expected your answer fits a particular frame for positive comprehension.

Don’t fall for the trap of getting caught unguarded by this simple yet complex question. You want to convince your employer that you are coming to do a great job and fit perfectly into the organization via your proven skills.

You will need to prove that you could be considered for future positions in the company; not based on seniority, but what you’ve got to offer and your productivity.

It is always a wise step to turn the self-same question around by asking the interviewer what they saw as the long term opportunities for a new employee.

Here is how you should answer:

“Firstly, my short term goal is to come into the organization and be productive, given my past experiences, skills, and education; I expect to kick start productivity immediately.

Over time, I would hope to be considered for greater opportunities that might present themselves based on dedication and prove to show.

Let me ask you (speaking to your would-be employers or interviewers now) what do you see as a long term potential for someone who does a great job in this vacancy or position “

Now, it is important to be as focused as possible during your interview or when drafting your career goal, however, you must also display a great level of passion for what the establishment represents.

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You can’t apply for a vacancy in a Tobacco firm and present a career goal of eradicating smoking even when you knew the dangers it encompasses! Do you get the logic? Just saying.

How to get your career goals across?

I get scared of interviews, how do I pass across my career goal? Now, I always tell every job seeker I meet, your career is to a great extent who you are!

You owe nobody any apology for disclosing how you intend to achieve your visions and career goals.

Been timid is a deception by your mind to limit your achievements. Now, no matter who you stand before, never be scared of sharing your goals when needed!

It’s should be a burning desire and a question to look forward to at every interview. Now, if these words don’t help, let me try highlighting a few points that have helped some youths I’ve been able to counsel.

  • Speak to yourself – This is a long time tradition for people who feel they are timid. When you wake up, as often as possible, repeat your career goals to yourself. If it helps, stand in front of a mirror.

While I might be familiar with the concept of a career goal, I still stand in front of my giant mirror to speak to myself and get my subconscious to acknowledge the fact that I am who I want to be!

  • Read them out loud daily – Be passionate about your CV, get to know the key points of your curriculum vitae even when you are at your worst moment.

Read them aloud to yourself or find friends who can help you when you desire the much-needed attention to get these words of affirmation into your mind.

  • Rehearse before your next interview – Why wait until your interview date before you dust your CV and file them?

Start taking your career as your life! Rehearse for an interview even before the interview.

Have a dummy panel organized by friends and let them push you to the limits with various likable questions you might face!

The truth is that you can turn yourself into a walking CV without living out any details as long as you put in the required effort to harness your potentials!

  • Don’t just memorize, Act – Don’t just memorize your career goals as a statement! I’ve seen many applicants fall short in this line.

Every employer knows when you exhume passion and when you are reading a line from a script for him. Even when you’ve memorized your career goals and what have you, your delivery matters!

Deliver it like a speech delivered by a commander-in-chief who is prepping his men to fight for their dear nation even when the odds are against them.

Display passion, display an aura of potentials! Remember the speech by Chris Brown in ‘Battle of the Year’; “Act like champions, be champions!”

How to handle difficult interviews?

Your career to a great extent defines your path in the long run, however, this could be cut short by some interviewers who might not be pleased with what they’re been presented with – your career goal!

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What makes the difference between who gets employed when over 500 applicants are called for an interview is the way in which the applicant presents themselves!

Here is how you can clear the air already polluted by previous applicants at any interview venue and land that dream job of yours!

These tips vary and based on the circumstances, you might need to improvise.

  • Ask Questions from previously interviewed persons – This trick is to familiarize yourself with what goes on in the interview room.

Now, you must be careful with this as some persons might give you false information so as to bring down your expectations while some might even supply you with fake details.

Ask questions (though brief) from those who have gone ahead and listen to what they have to say. It won’t harm you when properly understood.

  • Interaction is key – So, you made it into the room, now what?

Interact with your interviewer! This trick will boost your confidence and clear any bad energy already in the room.

Start with professional greetings like “Good day sirs and Ma, It’s a great honor standing before you” Check out their response. If they feel communicable, you can quickly cheap in words of amazements like “wow”

Now, no matter what you do, don’t be the first to crack a Joke! It’s a professional meeting and except your sense of humor, don’t go through that lane.

Stay Calm, Be bold. Don’t be arrogant, remain humble while getting your goals across to people on the other side of the table.

Ask questions when you are lost. Ask sensible questions and not questions like ‘when was this establishment founded!’ who does that?

You should have known a great deal about the establishment before coming for the interview!

  • Body Languages matters – Maintain mild eye contact. Don’t stare too much but maintain eye contacts that exhume boldness.

Don’t overdo it and don’t shy away from eye contact! No interviewer wants a timid employee and as such, shying away from a stair once in a while means you’re hiding something or telling a lie.

Don’t go about scratching your head or stammer when answering a question!

  • Be honest, not foolish – Now, we all need to be honest in all we do, especially when it comes to your dream job.

However, don’t be as vague as Rastogi in “3idiots” when he faced an interview panel. He was asked if he could control his blunt attitude and told the interviewer to keep their jobs!

It was quite dramatic! However, you must be diplomatic in furthering your career goals!

The truth is, most times, you need to be smart and honest during interviews as you further your career goals but, don’t be blunt and drop answers like you just don’t care about what those interviewing you feel!

You can never be too sure about the delivery of your career goals during an interview, however, preparation is key! This is Recruitment Day and you can share this post on Career Goals with friends and loved ones.


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