What are your long-term career goals? Have you ever been asked this question in an interview? This may seem like an easy question, but in reality, the right answer might be tougher than you think. Don’t walk into an interview unprepared. In this article, we will break down the do’s and don'ts when answering what your long-term career goals are.
When you think about your life goals, you may recall your 2nd-grade teacher telling you to “Reach for the stars!” Everything was possible whether you were to become a professional athlete, movie star, musician, or the next man on the moon.
In what seems to be a blink of an eye, life progresses, and our goals begin to narrow. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just life.
Dialing in your aspirations is something that everyone should do, but for most, little effort is put forth. The reason you are being asked, “What are your career goals” in an interview is partly because this is an indicator of your sense of reality. If you say something like “Well, I plan to use this entry-level position to display my talents and become CEO in a couple years.”
Although ambitious, it’s highly unlikely that you will get the job. The other reason you are being asked this question is so the interviewer can make sure the job is a good fit for you. If your long-term career goal is to become a mechanical engineer and you are applying for a sales position, it probably isn’t the best fit.
Let me put you in the mind of a sales manager (employer) who hears you say you want to become an engineer in the future:
“Is this dude serious? Does he even know this is a sales interview?”
“Hmm, if he wants to become an engineer, I wonder how long he will actually work here before he quits?”
“I really need a new employee, but I kind of feel bad hiring someone who really doesn’t even enjoy sales.
Yes, this article has some pretty extreme examples, but I do not want to make light of how serious this is. Even if you are joining an inside sales team, but you want to work in outside sales, or if you are joining a design team, when you want to become a developer, these are huge differences that can be roadblocks to landing the job. For more interview help check out the 50 Top Job Interview Questions And Answers.
The best strategy is to align your goals and dreams with the position in which you are applying. That is if you actually want the job. Now, I am not saying that you should lie, but you probably shouldn’t tell the truth if you really do not see yourself being at the company long-term.
Unfortunately, about 10 million recruiters and hiring managers are trying to figure out who wrote this article so that they can send me hate-mail. But it’s the truth. Do you want a job or not? There’s no point in going to the interview if you plan to say the wrong things.
Here is an example of how you should answer.
- Sales Manager (Employer): “What are your long-term career goals?”
- Interviewee: “My entire life I have aspired to become an enterprise level account executive at ABC Company. I understand that in order to become an account executive I would need to spend years as a sales rep. learning about and mastering the product you offer. The reason I am so passionate about becoming an account executive is because of the lifestyle that it offers. I intend to absolutely crush my sales quotas every month and bring in the big bucks for our company. I also love traveling and have always enjoyed a long sales cycle that involves tons of nurturing and dedication. Wining and dining potential clients on the company dime sounds pretty sweet to me! Of course, I know that I have to prove myself before I can have the job of my dreams.”
BOOM-Shakalaka! Mic dropped. Job Offered.
If you are truly interested in the position you are interviewing for, this question should be very simple to answer! If it is not something you are interested in, you may stumble or pause through your response.
This is why it is so important to prepare before the actual interview. You must be strategic!
If you need some extra help preparing for your job interview and are tired of hearing the politically correct answers that don’t work, Find My Profession offers expert interview training that is guaranteed to help you land your dream job.