In Other Words: What Are Your Long
Interviewers love to ask about your plans for the future. Other interview questions about your long-term aspirations might include:
- What are your short- and long-term career goals?
- How does this position fit with your ideal career path?
- What are your goals for the future?
Employers, just like employees, want to know that their investment will pay off in the end. Show that youre someone who wants to stick around and grow, and youll be positioned for a successful long-term career.
How To Use This Question To Learn More About Your Industry
Theres a very distinct possibility that, beyond not having much in the way of long-term goals, you might be so new to an industry that you dont even know what reasonable goals for your career even look like.
This can often be nerve-wracking since you typically come to an interview prepared to ANSWER questions, not ASK them.
This can be the perfect opportunity to learn a bit more about it while also impressing your potential employer by engaging them on something they know about themselves.
Here are some questions you might ask at this point in the interview that can help you learn more about your specific career:
Whats the typical career path for someone at this company in this position?
What are the companys long-term goals? Where is it headed in the next few years?
What are some of the biggest challenges people in the role face when it comes to moving forward with their career?
Relieve The Employers Fear
Most hiring managers are looking for employees that will stay at their company long term, says Priscilla Claman, president of Career Strategies Incorporated. A lot of employers are still mentally recovering from the recession, and theyre concerned about employee retention, Claman explains. Indeed, 55% of employers recently surveyed by Xerox HR Services said one of their biggest labor concerns is retaining top talent.
Retention is a valid concern, considering not only the financial consequences of high turnover but also the fact that Millennials change jobs, on average, six times from ages 18 to 25. Thus, hiring managers want to know if youre not just a match for the current year, but if youre a match for the company in the long run, says Cole.
Therefore, your response should show youre committed to working at the company for a while .
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Why Is It Important To Have A Career Goal
Firstly, the job interview aside, you should have a career goal simply because its beneficial to you.
Not to impress the interviewer, your relatives, or your future Tinder date, but to improve yourself.
Having a career goal will keep you focused and keep you from getting stuck on a cycle where every day looks the same and you forget what you are working for in the first place.
It gives you something to aim for, steps to follow, progress to make.
Now, back to the interviewer and why theyre asking the question. Your answer lets them know about two things:
- How long do you plan on working for them
- What motivates you to work
All interviewers are curious as to why you want to work for them, and they will ask you straight up about it. However, this question tells them something that the Why do you want to work for us? interview question doesnt.
Your career goal will give them an idea as to what type of employee you will be – long term or short term. Is this position something that you will be staying in for a while, or is this a temporary stop until a better opportunity comes along?
In 2020, hiring and training an employee costs between $4000-$7600. Money that employers have no interest in investing in someone who will be working for them for no longer than two months.
Having a career goal also means you are not applying for a position just because the job ad randomly stumbled in your way and, being unemployed, youd apply to just about anything so here you are.
Interview Question: What Are Your Career Goals
If you haven’t thought about the direction you’d like your career to go in, it’s a good idea to give it some thought before you go on a job interview. During an interview, the interviewer might ask, What are your long-term career goals?
Or you might get similar interview questions such as, Where do you see yourself in five years? and What are your goals for the next five to ten years?
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Why Do Interviewers Ask This Question
No single interview question is asked in vain. Companies are busy and the amount of competition against them simply cannot allow them to waste time.
Still, they are willing to spend time in the hiring process to ensure they get the right person for the job.
With many people in need of the job, companies have to find ways of unearthing what candidates dont readily show.
To do this, they will ask questions which have the ability to tell them more than the answer itself says.
The question of your long-term goals is one such question.
As you answer it, you will be unknowingly answering two other questions.
Match Your Goals With Your Experience
Try to focus your long-term goals on the next five to 10 years of your career, as you can develop a realistic action plan for goals in this time frame. If you are applying for an entry-level job, becoming a team leader or mastering key skills might be appropriate goals. If you are applying for a management position, aspiring to be an executive or a thought leader in five or 10 years could be more realistic.
Related:How To Write an Action Plan To Help You Achieve Your Goals
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Incorporate The Company’s Mission Statement
Before you attend any interview, visit the company’s website and look for its mission statement, vision statement, or similar set of goals. You can use that information to inform your answer to this question. Maybe the company hopes to become an industry leader through innovation and creativity. Short-term goals examples for your interview could include:
- I’d like to become instrumental in helping my employer supersede the competition.
- I’m interested in applying my creative talents to achieving innovative results.
- My goal is to join a team that doesn’t accept second-best status.
This way, you show that you’ve done your research and that your goals align with the company through which you want to gain employment.
Back Your Goals With An Action Plan
Laying out a list of goals doesnt make for a very convincing answer. Instead, focus on one or two main goals and briefly explain how you plan on achieving them or how they will benefit your career in the long-term. This shows that you have thought these goals through and are clear about what you want in the future.
For example, if your short-term goal is to learn a new programming language, explain how you will achieve that and how that improves your work performance .
Elaborating on that last sentence: Focus on the employer.
Yes, theyre asking about your career goals, but at the end of the day, they care about their companys best interest more. So, when talking about your goals make sure to express how achieving them will also be beneficial to your potential employer. Convince them itll be a win-win situation.
- Im trying to find the appropriate time this year to enroll in a course for learning SAP FICO. It would help me as a financial analyst deliver more accurate reports, as well as help the company plan and monitor costs better.
- Im aiming to improve the quality of my reports and analyses. I need to do some more research on how exactly I can do that, but for now, thats my goal.
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Outline The Steps Youll Be Taking
After properly describing the previous steps you took to achieve your long-term goals, you will need to outline your future strategy and how you plan to successfully reach your targets. Consider discussing your ideal next role or some of the career steps you plan to take soon. This step provides context and shows you have a well-thought-of long-term plan that you are fully committed to following until you reach the desired outcome.
Related: Effective Goal Setting: 7-Step Process for Success
Align Your Answers With Your Experience
Avoid answering the long-term goal question with aspirations like “become the CEO of a Fortune 500 company” or “win the Nobel prize.” Keep your answers in tune with your skills, work history, and abilities. You don’t want to appear egotistical or unreasonable.
Think about the logical next steps for your career. If you were an entry-level candidate two years ago, maybe you’re interested in becoming a team leader or a middle manager. Alternatively, perhaps your short-term and long-term goals relate to skill-building or portfolio-developing.
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Why Do Interviewers Ask What Are Your Long
Interviewers often ask this question because they’re seeking information about your ambitions and work ethic. It can also provide insights into how you set goals and achieve them. This information can help employers assess your qualifications for a job position and whether your perspective can align with a company’s values. If your long-term career goals can benefit the company and help you succeed in a position, then you may increase your chances of receiving a job offer from a hiring manager.
How To Answer What Are Your Career Goals
You always want to seem goal oriented, so its not a good idea to say, Im not sure or I havent thought about that.
Thats NOT going to impress hiring managers.
But you also need to make sure the career goals you mention fit into the job youve applied for.
Heres how this can hurt you if not:
Imagine youre interviewing for a customer service position. And the hiring manager asks about your long-term career goals. If you say, My goal is to move out of customer service and find a role that doesnt involve working with customers as much. I prefer to work behind the scenes, then the hiring manager is NOT going to hire you for their job.
Employers want to hire someone who really wants this specific job, because then youre more likely to be motivated, have a great attitude, etc.
So prepare a few goals and aspirations you can talk about, but make sure your goals fit with the job youre interviewing for. Otherwise, adjust the goals you plan on talking about for the interview.
Be strategic and think about whats going to get you hired for the job you want, and dont say anything that suggests youll be bored, frustrated, or want to leave this job quickly.
One more note: Just like with the question where do you see yourself in 5 years? youre not expected to be able to predict the future accurately.
Nobodys going to check on you in two years and see if youre following what you said in a few years.
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Companies Do Not Like To Hire Someone For One Year
Unless you apply for an interim or temporary position, companies will always want to hire you for a long time. Recruitment is expensive, and they do not want to repeat the entire process again and again, just because new hires leave them after three months of employment while trying to pursue some other objectives. Try to avoid the following answers:
I want to start my own business one day .I plan to go abroad soon, trying to do something with my life.I want to work for XY company, but it is not possible right now, so I seek employment somewhere else.
* Special Tip: this is not the only difficult question you will face in your interview. Read also how to answer What are your weaknesses?
Are You Likely To Be Loyal To The Employer
The real question is, Are you willing to commit to us?
If you were asked this question as it is, you would obviously say Yes.
But thats exactly what all the candidates would do. All of them want the job.
But the company is not out to just provide a job. It is out to fill a vacancy with a person who will prove valuable to the company. Someone who will help the company achieve its goals.
When you are asked about your long-term goals, the interviewer is looking to see what can potentially reduce your commitment to the company.
If your goals are different from the company, then your commitment would quickly wane at the sight of another opportunity.
In such a situation, they would need to hire someone else after maybe 3 months.
This is because though you may be working, you will also be looking for another job.
Or, you may not be looking for another job, but your productivity will be low since you have no real self-motivation.
Consider the below statistics about employee turnover.
High employee turnover is not just an expense in terms of time but also money. There is money used in advertising the job vacancies.
There are costs incurred in calling and preparing for interviews. There might be training required for the hired candidate. The cost is high.
This is further aggravated when productivity has to suffer because of the vacancy.
All this happening when the competitors business is running smoothly.
Do you see why employers want to avoid this?
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Goals Focused On Personal Development
These goals put emphasis on self-improvement and skills like networking or teamwork. Achieving them has a positive impact on your professional life, but they also show that you are more than just work work work.
Short-term example: Becoming more proactive within your company.
Long-term example: Improving your networking skills.
Personal Goals Can Also Resonate With The Interviewers
Not every employment offers career growth options. If you apply for a job of a secretary, a receptionist, or lets say for a job of a firefighter, it is pointless to talk about promotion, or about a better position in the company that you want to have in five years time , or any similar ambition. It is pointless because theres no such position waiting for you, and the goal is completely unrealistic.
Personal goals will resonate better in this case, and goals that show your determination and will are your best choice. Goals that show that you care about society and family, or about your health, are also a good pick
My goal is to quit smoking. Ive been smoking for ten years, and now I am in the process of quitting. It isnt easy, but with a good support from my friends and family I can reach this goal. New job will help me as well.
My biggest goal is to lose twenty pounds in twelve months time. Ive been overweight for some time, and I understand it limits me in work. I really want to get fitter and healthier. This is currently my greatest ambition in life.
I try to run marathon under three hours. I am training hard and I hope to achieve my goal next year.
I want to become a better mother and wife. I am aware of the mistakes I make, and I try to improve in the most important role of my life.
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What Are Long Term Goals
A long term goal is great that you want to do in the future. It is way important for a candidate for a successive growth in their career. Long term goals help you to think about your education you want to pursue and move ahead with the particular career option. It is not incredible you can do this week, or even in this year, long term goals define at least several years away.
Some Examples of Long term goals:
- Acquire a new job
- Improve leadership skills etc.
Why do employers ask about your long term goals?
Employers always look for a candidate who is well skilled and should be definite with his or her upcoming goals. Through this question, they try to evaluate a potential employees objective setting abilities such as their skill in identifying attainable objects, anticipating obstacles and surroundings smaller goals significant to the large plan.
Example Answers To What Are Your Goals
Career goal examples could include:
Assuming a leadership position
Becoming an expert in your field
Enhance your networking skills
Lets pull everything together with some sample answers. Dont just copy what we say adjust your answers to reflect your situation and keep the above tips in mind.
Short term and long term goals:
Short term, my goal is to learn more programming languages so that Im able to speak more fluently with the developers about projects. I find that theres a lot of time lost in translation, and being more knowledgable about how my team talks helps cut this wasted time down.
Longer term, Im interested in developing my leadership abilities, which is what attracted me to this position. My time as a product manager has taught me what works and what doesnt, and I hope to never stop learning how to enhance my managerial capabilities.
Assuming a leadership position:
My career goal involves eventually stepping into a position where I can manage campaigns from the top. Working as a data analyst here will help me work towards this goal, as I can learn how the process works from the bottom up.
I also actively seek out leadership conferences as a way of developing my people skills, so that Im ready to take on a supervisory role down the road.
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