Questions about your career goals and what you want to achieve in the next years are very common in job interviews. If you don’t prepare for such interview questions, it might catch you off guard during the interview. In that case, it might sound like a trick question. However, questions about your career goals and what you want to achieve are actually a great opportunity to demonstrate your suitability for the job.
The right preparation for this question can help you understand why the interviewer asks you about what you want to achieve. Furthermore, it will help you confidently answer these questions to impress the interviewer.
Related questions about your career goals and what you want to achieve in the next years are, for instance:
- How do you plan to achieve your career goals?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- Do you have the skills needed to succeed in this position?
- To what position in this company would you like to move next?
- What are your career goals?
This blog discusses how you can explain your career goals and what you want to achieve. We also discuss how you can use these questions to your advantage during your interview. Furthermore, read more about frequently asked job interview questions here and check our job interview preparation checklist. Find out everything you need to know!
Why Interviewers Ask About Your Career Goals and How to Respond Effectively
Interviewers ask about career goals to understand if you are committed to the position and interested in growing with the company. They may also want to know if you are seeking specific challenges or opportunities in your career and if the company can provide those for you. Aligning your goals with the company’s can show the employer that you are a good fit for the organization.
It’s important to note that the interviewer knows you may not have a clear and specific plan for the next few years. The goal of questions about your career goals is to understand how you see the position you are applying for and how it fits into your overall career plans. When an interviewer asks you, “what do you want to achieve in the next few years?” they are really asking, “what are your career goals within this position?”
When it comes to hiring new employees, employers look for individuals who are highly motivated, proactive, and ambitious. These qualities are important because they demonstrate that you are committed to the position you’re applying for. Furthermore, this could indicate that it’s more likely that you will stay with the company for a longer period of time. Employers also understand that when a candidate sees succeeding in a particular position as an important part of their career goals, they are more likely to put in the extra effort and perform well.
Related: Career Goals interview questions and answers
5 Tips for Answering the ‘What Do You Want to Achieve in the Next Years?’
When an interviewer asks about your career goals and what you want to achieve in the next few years, they try to understand your motivations and how you see the position you are applying for fitting into your overall career plans. It’s important to be specific and realistic in your answer and to relate your goals to the company and the position you are applying for.
- Research the company and the position beforehand. By understanding the company’s values and goals and the responsibilities and challenges of the position, you can tailor your answer to show how your career goals align with those of the organization.
- Be specific and realistic in your goals. It’s okay to have ambitious goals, but it’s important to be realistic about what you can achieve within a certain time frame.
- Show enthusiasm and motivation. Employers often look for highly motivated and proactive candidates who are ambitious and willing to take on new challenges.
- Consider both your long-term and short-term goals. It’s important to discuss your long-term and short-term career goals and how the position you are applying for fits into those plans.
- Practice your answer beforehand. While it’s important to be genuine in your response, practicing your answer beforehand can help you feel more confident and prepared for the interview.
What to focus on
As stated, vague answers are considered red flags. It’s important that you have a solid answer ready. Otherwise, you could give the interviewer the impression that you’re not really interested in the position or that you do not have a clear idea about your career.
The best way to figure out an answer that fits the job and company you’re applying for is to do the right research. Focus on acquiring information about a logical and reasonable career path that could follow from the position for which you’re interviewing. Make sure you find out how long someone spends on average in that position and what steps logically flow from that position within five to ten years.
Some employers state on their company website what career paths they have within their company. However, this is not always the case. Ensure you do market research to understand what career paths others have taken. For instance, talk to friends or other people within your network that is active in the same field.
Red Flags for Interviewers When Discussing Career Goals
There are several things to look out for when discussing your career goals during a job interview. Avoid giving a vague answer about your career goals or what you want to achieve in the next years. Solid preparation can help you do just that. If you have a strong answer prepared, you can use this to your advantage to ace this question and give the interviewer the answer that he or she is looking for.
Relate your answer to the company and job that you’re applying for. Make sure that if you make a certain statement about a career goal, you can explain how it will contribute to your career and why you want to achieve it.
Failing to provide a concise and effective answer is also considered a warning sign for interviewers. To ace job interview questions, you need to be concise and effective. This means that when the interviewer asks you about career goals, you provide a direct but short answer that includes only the necessary details to answer the question.
How to Set and Communicate Realistic Career Goals
Setting and communicating realistic career goals in a job interview is important for several reasons. First and foremost, it shows the interviewer that you clearly understand your strengths, skills, and areas for development and that you are proactive in planning your career path. It also demonstrates your ambition and motivation and can help you stand out as a candidate. It also shows that you did your homework and have, at least somewhat, figured out what could be a great career path for you.
However, it’s important to be realistic in your career goals, as setting unrealistic expectations can lead to disappointment and frustration. To set and communicate realistic career goals in a job interview, follow these tips:
- Research the position and the industry. Understanding the requirements and challenges of the position and the industry will help you set realistic goals that are relevant and achievable.
- Assess your strengths and weaknesses. Take the time to reflect on your skills, experience, and areas for development, and consider how these may impact your career goals.
- Set specific and measurable goals. Instead of simply stating that you want to “advance in your career,” consider setting specific and measurable goals, such as “earn a promotion to management within the next three years.”
- Communicate your goals clearly and concisely. When discussing your career goals in a job interview, be clear and concise in your answer, and explain how the position you are applying for fits your overall plans.
- Be flexible and open to new opportunities. While it’s important to have a plan, be open to new opportunities and be willing to adjust your goals as you gain new skills and experience.
Sample Answers to Career Goal Questions
Some people might find questions about their career goals intimidating. However, it’s actually a great opportunity to demonstrate that you already know what you want and that you have thought about how you’re going to achieve your goals. These types of questions about career goals are commonly asked during job interviews, so prepare well and impress the interviewer!
Below we discuss two sample answers that you can use for inspiration. However, these are just examples. Make sure that you tailor your answers to the position and company that you’re applying for.
Example 1: What do you want to achieve in the next years?
“I’m really excited about the opportunity to develop my skills as a business analyst. I’ve also noticed that many analysts at XYZ company move from analyst to senior analyst, and eventually move to an associate position.
These development opportunities are part of my five-year plan, and this analyst position is a perfect start to reaching my career goals in the future.”
Example 2: What do you want to achieve in the next years?
“One of the main reasons why I applied for this position is the opportunity to develop myself as a marketing professional. As a marketing assistant within the XYZ company, I know I will get plenty of opportunities to develop my communication and presentation skills as well as a chance to put my creative skills to use.
Within the next five years, I would like to progress to a marketing coordinator role to eventually become a marketing manager. The company website shows a clear career path for starting marketers like myself. I feel like this is the perfect opportunity to learn more from one of the major marketing companies in the industry.”
Example 3: What do you want to achieve in the next years?
“In the next few years, I hope to work my way up to a management role. I’m motivated and ambitious, and excited to take on this challenge and the responsibilities that come with it. I feel like this position has the potential to help me grow and develop my skills, and I’m committed to making a positive impact on the team and the organization. To achieve this goal, I plan to keep learning and looking for new opportunities for growth and development within the company. I’m confident that with my strong work ethic and dedication, I’ll be able to earn a promotion eventually and keep contributing to the team’s success.”
Example 4: What do you want to achieve in the next years?
“One of my career goals is to grow into a leadership role within your company. I have always been drawn to positions of responsibility and have a strong track record of leading and motivating teams. This position offers me the opportunity to grow and develop my leadership skills in the coming years, and I am excited to contribute to the team’s success. To achieve this career goal that I set years ago, I plan to continue learning and seeking opportunities to lead and mentor my team members as well as others within the company. I am confident that my skills and experience make me a strong fit for a leadership role, and I am eager to take on new challenges and responsibilities.”
Job Interview Topics – Common Job Interview Questions & Answers
Below you can find a list of common job interview topics. Each link will direct you to an article regarding the specific topics that discuss commonly asked interview questions. Furthermore, each article discusses why the interviewer asks these questions and how you answer them!
- Career Change
- Career Goals
- Conflict Resolution
- Creative Thinking
- Cultural Fit
- Customer Service
- Growth Potential
- Honesty & Integrity
- Job Satisfaction
- Entry-Level & No experience
- Prioritization & Time Management
- Situational & Scenario-based
- Stress Management
- Telephone Interview
- Work Ethic