We know that interviews can be daunting. Being prepared helps you to feel in control. As one of the leading recruitment agencies in London, we know that when it comes to interviews, you also have lots of questions about how to be successful. One of the most likely questions you will be asked at interview is “what are your career goals?” Here, we take you through why employers ask this question and what they are looking for, and help you do your homework so that you can answer effectively.
Why do employers ask about your career goals?
Employers have a number of objectives when they ask about your career goals. In the immediate sense, they want to know that this job matches with your personal ambitions so that you have the skills and the interest to be successful. They also want to try and establish your suitability within the business in the longer term. They want reassurance that you aren’t simply interested in them as you haven’t been offered anything else or as a short stepping stone on your route to somewhere else.
How to answer questions about your career goals
Start by doing some fact finding about the organisation. Look at what the organisation does, across all departments, and look at their defined goals and objectives. Then consider what your personal career goals are. Try to break down your career goals into short, medium and long term goals. Short term goals should be more specific and long term goals should be broader and less defined.
Look at the two lists together and consider how your goals align with the company’s goals. This makes for a winning solution for both you and the employer. Look at various different factors. For example, consider what your ideal working week looks like. Do you favour hybrid working since the pandemic, if so is this offered by the company? Consider the size of the company and look at LinkedIn to see what other job roles exist within the company and shape your longer term goals around realistic career opportunities within the business.
Before the interview, use some time to jot down the main points you will use to answer the question. Remember, you may need to shape your answer slightly if there’s too much of a mismatch between your long term goals and those of the organisation. You need to demonstrate commitment. Be flexible in how you portray your answer, so that the hiring manager can envisage you within the role. Be clear about how you will work towards your goals within the organisation, and not to simply expect them to be delivered to you. Goals that you state out loud to the interviewer should never be salary related!
Make good impressions at interview
With all interview questions, take care to answer succinctly and clearly. Aim to give enough information that answers the question and makes you appealing, without getting lost in too much detail. The interviewer can always ask follow-up questions.
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