One question interviewers love to ask in a job interview is: “Where you do see yourself in five years?” This question is essentially about your career goals and whether you have a plan for the future.

Even if you are someone who tends to focus on the next year as opposed to the long term, you should thrash out actionable goals for your career if you are planning to sit for an interview.

These actionable goals can be getting a promotion or starting your own business. Some people may want to write a bestselling novel or even become famous artists. It’s only when you have a goal in mind can you take purposeful steps to achieve it.

Why Do Interviewers Ask About Your Career Goals?

A hiring manager will ask you about your career goals to assess whether you’re a good fit for their organization. They want to see if you’re someone who plans ahead and whether you’re open to challenges and new opportunities.

Some people find it easy to talk about their career goals. You might even have friends who knew right off the bat what they wanted to do in life. But many are unable to figure out their destination, and it’s completely okay.

This can be your chance to think about your short-term and long-term career goals. Short-term career goals are stepping stones to your long-term goals—like going to school to get a job.

Your career goals help you discover what you want to achieve in life and how you want to go about doing it. This can be both personal and professional. Maybe you want to become more empathetic and a better team player. If you enjoy spending time with people and helping them, you may even decide to become a counselor. Thinking about your traits and qualities will help you put things into perspective.

Let’s try to answer the career goals interview question so you can ace your job interview.

How To Answer The Question “What Are Your Career Goals?”


Trying to answer the career goals interview question is certainly daunting. You can’t really say you want to start your own business in a job interview. Thinking about it from the organization’s perspective might help. Here are a few tips with some examples of career goals:

  1. Outline your goals

The most important thing is to define your goals. You don’t want to go in without knowing what you want to do. Take some time and write down what you hope to achieve with this job—whether you want to become a manager, lead a team or simply learn from others. 

  1. Align your goals with the organization’s goals

Be sure of your answers and say something that’ll stick. For example, if you’re applying to a company that works on sustainability, you can say that you want to work toward sustainable development and help protect the environment. Mentioning past volunteer experiences will also support your answer. 

  1. Leave a lasting impression on the hiring manager

For this, you need to be direct, confident and sure of your goals. Practicing in advance and writing down everything you want to say is a good way to go about this. You will not only get clarity on what you’ll speak but also get a grasp on your goals. 

  1. Talk about learning opportunities

Hiring managers look for candidates who are driven and motivated to grow and learn. Someone who simply wants to work to earn money isn’t the one who’ll grab their attention but the person who talks about learning the ropes to know the ins and outs of the organization. Do your research and find out if the organization offers educational opportunities that you can utilize. 

  1. List your short-term achievements

Even though most of this will already be written on your resume, go ahead and talk about your short-term achievements. Say, you want to work for a public relations company. In the interview, you can talk about internships with smaller agencies or independent brands you’ve worked with. It’s important to supplement your answers with clear evidence so they know you’re being honest.

Once you’re aware of what you need to say—and how—you can easily crack any interview. The next time someone asks you, “What are your future goals?”, you’ll know exactly what to say. All you need to do is give it some thought and assess your strengths to identify your goals.

Harappa Education’s Speaking Effectively course will teach you how to answer the career goals interview question. The techniques and frameworks in the course will help you land your dream job.

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