What Are Your Career Goals – How to Answer?

Interviewers ask many questions to evaluate your skills and qualities before hiring you.

The questions related to career goals may be tricky and sometimes straightforward to check if you are suitable for the hiring company

Why do interviewers ask, “What are your career goals?”

Asking about career goals helps analyze a candidate’s passion and ambition to move in the career path.

Communicating career goals depicts one’s ambitions and allows the interviewer to predict their performance in the company. Therefore, unrealistic goals might not help you crack the interview.

With this question, the interviewer can also measure how long you will stay in the company before making any offers.

How to answer “What are your career goals”?

You should always be ready to answer any question regarding your career goals to make a good first impression on the recruiter. 

Here are five things you need to focus on to answer the question:

  • Establish long-term and short-term goals

You need to categorize the short-term and long-term goals and arrange them in order of priority. It helps you move further in the right direction.

Start by identifying those goals that can contribute to your success in the position you have applied for.

  • Choose SMART career goals to discuss

SMART stands for specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and timeline: 

  • Specific: Your goal should be precise. For example, you can mention the designation where you see yourself in the next few years. 
  • Measurable: Goals should include benchmarks or milestones. They should be quantifiable to measure the outcomes produced out of performances. 
  • Actionable: You should also add ways to achieve the goals set by you to make them realistic and achievable. 
  • Relevant: The goal should be designed based on the position offered by the employer. It improves your chance of getting selected in the company. 
  • Time-bound: Setting a deadline or time limit enables you to improve your focus and motivation towards achieving the goal.

Infusing these elements in the goal-setting process helps you develop realistic goals that will improve your chance of impressing the interviewer.

  • Quantify your career goals

Use numbers in setting targets or goals that can be easily measured. It should cover the initial and endpoints. These numbers are related to the outcomes produced, salary, goals for specific years, benchmarks, etc. 

For instance, your career goal could be to bag a salary of INR 50,000 per month in the next six months. 

  • Align your answer with the position and the company

Interviewers that ask you about your career goals are trying to understand whether your objectives align with the position they are offering. So it’s vital to talk about goals that best fit the role to impress recruiters.

  • Establish a timeline in your answer

Setting deadlines for achievements represents your eagerness and utmost dedication to goal attainment. Include a relevant and valid timeframe within which you will accomplish your goals.

“What are your career goals?”: Sample responses

The following sample answers can help you craft excellent responses to the question “What are your career goals?”:

Sample answers for a fresher

I completed my MBA in Human resources this year. Presently, my short-term goal is to look for the best opportunity that will hone my skills and ability to become an expert in the chosen area.

My long-term goal is to become an excellent people manager and CHRO in the coming six years. I aim to get at least 25 LPA for giving my services. I am interested in this position as it will help me transfer knowledge to the HR community and improve the people management scale within the company.

Sample answers for executive employees

I have spent three years working in the HR department in my previous company. My short-term goal is to upscale my skills and capabilities in the HR field. I also want to become an expert in transformed digitized practices in HR.

My long-term goal is to be highly designated at your company and make my professional journey a learning and enthusiastic experience.

Sample answer for managers

I dreamt of becoming a manager in my college days. Fortunately, I also accomplished the goal two years ago. I found myself apt for the job opportunity provided by you as I have gone through many challenges that made me strong and skilled in my profession.

Life is a learning journey. I am also pursuing my long-term goal of becoming an HR head of a successful company like you. I want to explore my ability and apply my skills to manage overseas businesses.

8 tips to remember when answering “What are your career goals”

Here are some tips that need to be taken care in mind while communicating goals:

  1.   Avoid crafting unrealistic and irrelevant goals.
  2.   Frame your answers specifically.
  3.   Avoid being overconfident.
  4.   Develop career goals that are achievable and measurable.
  5. Do not forget to state the justification of how the offered opportunity helps in accomplishing set goals.
  6. Use examples to support your response.
  7. Be ready to answer cross-questions on your response.
  8.   Practice how to answer the question at home.

Wrapping up

Interviewers often ask candidates about their career goals, and their decision to select an applicant depends on the subsequent response.

The aim of formulating strategies to communicate career goals is to be selected by your desired company and get suitable job opportunities to grow at future fronts.

The recommended tips and sample answers can surely help you crack tricky career goal questions raised by the interviewer. 

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