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What Are Your Goals?

When answering this job interview question it’s important to refer to the position and the company. For example if the company sells clothing and the job is on the line making clothes, it’s best not to mention a goal of becoming a top salesman. That is, unless it’s an entry level position to learn the business. “I’m going to start on the line, learn the business, then I want to move into sales so I can help the company from that end. What I learn on the line will really come in handy.”

Avoid mentioning goals that refer to non-career related issues. Talking about family is fine, as long as you relate career and job success to family success such as “I want to raise a family, which means a successful career to support that family. I intend to work hard so I grow with the company in order to provide stability for my family.”

One of the worst answers to this question is “My goal is to be in your job in a few years.” Worded that way it sounds like you’ll undermine the interviewer to steal their position. This same sentiment can be worded in a positive manner “I want to work hard to help your group become successful, so after you get a promotion I can sit in that chair asking the questions to the person who might fill my old position.”

Preparation helps for this question, as well as for others. Know your goals before the interview, write them as a list, then compare that list to the job description and to information about the company you’ve learned through research. An answer that includes methods for reaching the goals is even stronger. Preparation leads to a number of excellent answers.

Learn and grow with the company:
“This is an excellent place to learn more about the profession and grow as I work with the team to make the company a success.”

Become management:
“When I’ve gained enough experience I’d like to move into a management position.”

“I envision myself as a top performing employee in a company like this. To achieve this I will work hard, listen to the experience of others, and keep involved in professional organizations such as X (related to the business of the company.)

The following answer, given to one interviewer, probably won’t help land the job. “I’m writing a novel that will make me rich. Since this job is at night, I’ll have plenty of unsupervised time to write.”

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