How to achieve your career goals?
When prepping for an interview, it’s recommended to review some common interview questions. A potential question one could expect is, “how do you plan to achieve your goals?” The interview will want to learn about your goals and determine if they align with the position in question.
In this article, we’ll discuss why interviewers ask this question, tips for answering and things to avoid.
Why do interviewers ask this?
There are a ton of reasons employers will ask you this question. It mainly comes down to the following:
- They want to know your motivations for the job
- They want to learn what you’re like as an employee
- They want to see if you will mesh with the company culture
Asking “how do you plan to achieve your career goals?” won’t get any further insight into your technical capabilities. Still, it will uncover your soft skills and the qualities that make you a desirable candidate. The quality of your answer will demonstrate your long-term thinking and time management. Ideal candidates are people with aspirations but are also motivated to achieve them.
How to answer
Clearly define your goals
Be specific when communicating your goals. Begin sharing the achievements you’ve already made, followed by the steps you’re taking to reach your goal further. If you are working towards a certification or license, bring this up.
Share short-term and long-term goals
Having multiple short-term goals or milestones can make it more manageable to reach your long-term goals. Milestones can include earning certifications or taking courses to grow a specialized skill. In your answer, refer to these milestones and their role in your success.
Align your goals with the job at stake
Employers highly value loyalty. An ideal candidate is someone who will stick around long term. Aligning your goals with the position and company values proves you’re invested in the position. Employees with personal investment typically perform better and are less likely to quit. If an employer sees their company can help you reach your goals, you’re more likely to be considered for the role.
Have an action plan
Identifying your goals is only half the battle to answering this question. Many people have goals and dreams, but an impressive candidate has a plan to back up their goals. Having a plan shows you’re a critical thinker with excellent decision-making skills.
Your action or career plan is probably much more detailed than you have time but give a brief overview of some of the steps you are taking to reach these goals.
Remember to include the employer in your plans. You want to persuade the employer that achieving your goals also benefits them, making it a win-win situation.
Make SMART goals
If you struggle to organize your thoughts, consider using SMART goals to state your answer clearly. SMART goals are:
Specific – Clearly defining your goal increases your chances of actually accomplishing it.
Measurable – Quantify your goal to track your progress.
Achievable – Can you reasonably accomplish this goal? Unattainable goals will only lead you to failure.
Relevant – What is the purpose of achieving this goal?
Time-bound – Give yourself a deadline to measure success and stay on track.
Using SMART goals or another goal framework will allow you to keep your answer clear and concise without sparing any essential details.
Work with a recruiter
If you want to take that next step to prepare for this question and other common interview questions, consider working with a technical recruiter. They can give you interview advice and find work opportunities that best fit your career goals.
What to avoid
Avoid talk of finances
While we all go to work to get paid, it’s not necessary, nor is it recommended to bring up finances in your answer. Put salary to the back of your mind and instead frame your answer around your personal and professional goals.
Don’t focus on job titles
Like finances, don’t base your answer on specific job titles or future promotions. Remember, you haven’t even landed the job yet.
Avoid being vague
A vague answer is a sign of an unsure candidate. As stated previously, your response should be brief; but brief does not equate to vague. If you’re unprepared, you can feel put on the spot and fumble with your answer. Whether true or not, a vague answer can give the impression that you don’t have any long-term ambitions. Be specific in your goals and your plans to achieve them. Drafting up a career plan can help you prepare and avoid being caught off guard.
Set unrealistic goals
Companies want ambitious employees. But there is a precise balance between ambition and having your head in the clouds. If you’re fresh out of school and think you’ll be a Vice President or CEO within five years, you’re in for a reality check.
It’s okay to dream big but unrealistic goals can make you appear arrogant, a trait not widely sought out by employers.
Live Assets is a boutique IT Staffing/Recruiting firm specializing exclusively in building IT teams of excellence for the Information Technology sector.
We are a small, but productive team that works closely together and has had a 96% success rate for the past number of years!
We have a diverse number of clients and industries and focus on both full-time and contract I.T. opportunities.