More than your resume and cover, what really impresses the hiring manager of the company where you are seeking the job is your presence of mind and cognitive approach towards the success of the company. In other words, your growth potential and career goals.
It’s up to you to demonstrate that the position that you’re currently in or the position that you’re applying for, is not your final career goal. Show that you understand that there’s room for improvement and that you recognize opportunities ahead in your career. Also, make sure that you can discuss your career goals.
The main objective of this question is to assess your self-awareness. The question focuses on your growth potential, career goals, and how well you know the company where you’re applying for a job. Furthermore, it regards your ability to think ahead and understand what would be the most logical step in your career.
Other ways you can get asked a similar type of question:
- What are your short term career goals?
- What are your long term career goals?
- Where do you see yourself in five to ten years?
- What are your future plans if you get this position?
In this blog, we discuss why the interviewer is asking you about your career goals and how you should answer these questions. Also, read more about frequently asked job interview questions here and check our job interview preparation checklist.
Why do interviewers ask about your career goals?
Interviewers are interested in your awareness of your skills and how you can improve them in the future. This, of course, is about the company’s growth and goals. It’s up to you to figure out what the opportunities are within the company and what options they have with regard to training and development.
Employers look for candidates that are positive about their career outlook. Enthusiasm, eagerness to learn, and ambition are key traits to demonstrate. The ideal answer to ‘to what position in this company do you want to move next?‘ includes all these factors. It’s up to you to show what you actually want.
If your answer shows that you’re ambitious but that you indicate that it’s the choice of the company, whether or not you get promoted, this might come across as ‘weak.’ It’s important that you show confidence and a clear plan on what you want from your career and how you plan on reaching it. However, pace yourself, don’t immediately aim for the CEO position, but explain the different steps between your current position and future goals.
Tips for answering job interview questions regarding a future position
When the interviewer asks you about your next career move, this is a great opportunity to demonstrate your suitability for the position. Furthermore, you can use this moment to demonstrate that your goals are in line with the position that you’re applying for. This opportunity allows you to share your plan and show that you’re able to add value to your potential future employer.
Your career goals are discussed during job interviews because interviewers want to find out a few things about you. Firstly, the interviewer wants to know if you plan on staying with the organization or if you’re likely to leave if you get another opportunity. Furthermore, your answer shows if you have thought out a career plan and how you plan on developing yourself. The answers you give the interviewer give them an understanding of your professional goals and career expectations. It also gives them insight into if your goals match what they can offer you.
Interview questions about your career goals help the interviewer make better hiring decisions too. You can imagine that it’s best for the company to hire candidates whose long-term goals match the objectives of the company.
How to answer interview questions about career moves
Your answer to these types of questions should include enough relevant context to give the interviewer an insight into who you are and what plans you have for your career. This means discussing how you got your current position, why you’re applying for the current position, and how this position fits into your career plan.
When you’re discussing the position, you want to move next to the company; it’s wise to include skills that will help you succeed in that role. You could use real-life work situations from past experiences in which you used these skills to give your answer more weight. The best way to do this is by using the STAR interview technique. STAR is an acronym that stands for a situation (S), your task (T) in that situation, the actions (A) you took, and what results (R) you got based on your actions. These are the basic steps you take in your walkthrough.
STAR Interview Technique
Below the STAR method is discussed step by step. You can use this technique to structure your answer when you want to explain to the interviewer what skills you have, when and how you used them in certain situations, and how these have prepared you for the next step in your career.
- Situation: First, describe the situation you were in. Detail the background to the interviewer so that he or she has a clear understanding of what you were facing.
- Task: Next, walk the interviewer through the challenge and the task you needed to accomplish. What needed to be done? Why?
- Action: Elaborate on the specific actions you took and which skills you used. What did you exactly do, and how did you do it?
- Result: Explain the results and what you have accomplished through your actions. Also, explain what you learned from the situation.
Example answers to job interview questions about career goals
Below you will find some example answers to the interview question, ‘to what position in this company do you want to move next?‘
- Example Answer 1:
‘The position that I am applying for presently will put my analytical skills to the test. For me, it’s a great opportunity to further develop my skillset and accordingly contribute towards the advancement of the team and company in general.
The next step in my career would be to apply for a position where I could use my experience to supervise and help others develop themselves as well. Managing my team has always been a dream for me, so this would be the logical next step.’
- Example Answer 2:
‘From the very start of my career, I have always searched for an opportunity that would not only allow me to innovate the different ways of data presentation but also find a platform that will let me present my findings directly to my clients. This way, I keep my excitement and interest in my work, which will, in turn, improve my professional development.
A managerial position will help me get to the next level in my career and assist me in achieving my career goals in the future. Therefore, to answer your question, I would love to grow into a position from where I can both utilize my skills and see the results and development of others as well.’
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