Interview questions regarding career goals

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The following are some examples of interview questions regarding career goals. Find out why it is important to ask candidates about their career goals during interviews, examples of career goals interview questions, and much more.

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If you are conducting an interview, ask candidates career goals interview questions to determine if they are on the right track professional aspirations match your open role and business objectives.

Why should you ask candidates about their career goals during interviews?

 Interview questions about candidates’ career goals allow you to: 

  • Make better hiring decisions. Your organization would benefit from selecting candidates whose long-term goals are in alignment with its objectives. 
  • The acceptance rate of job offers should be increased. A candidate is interested in working for a company that invests in the development of its employees and cares about their long-term goals. 
  • Establish a comprehensive profile of each candidate. Identify candidates’ aspirations, motivations, and training requirements in order to better understand them. Make a plan for acquiring talent. You may want to consider candidates for other roles within your company, either now or in the future.

The majority of candidates will not discuss career goals that are unrelated to the position for which they are applying. When conducting an interview, ask tailored questions to gain a better understanding of what their goals are and how they intend to achieve them. Job-related goals could be about:

  • Making up for gaps in knowledge or experience

“As I am beginning my career in web design, I would like to gain more knowledge and experience.” experience, work on X software and eventually take on challenging projects.”

  • Learning about new disciplines

Example: “Being in sales, I think that learning more about marketing techniques and

psychology will help me better understand consumer behavior.”

  • Acquiring skills

Example: “I want to master my public-speaking skills as I see myself becoming a

company representative during events.”

  • Building a career path

Example: “In the next five years, I want to expand my knowledge of Swift and build

mobile apps as part of a team.”

Here’s how to ask about candidates’ professional goals:

Examples of career goals interview questions 

  • Are there any topics in your area of expertise that you would like to learn more about?
  • Are you planning on pursuing further education? Could you please tell me what field you would choose if so?
  • What are your future career goals and what do you plan to do to achieve them? (e.g. in the next five years)
  • How would you improve your current position by acquiring the following skills or knowledge?
  • In what circumstances did you decide to seek a new position?
  • In your next position, what do you hope to accomplish?
  • Are your professional goals aligned with this position? Could you please describe how?
  • If you were asked to choose between becoming an expert in your field and expanding your knowledge of other topics, what would you choose? disciplines? Why?
  • If you were given the choice, which project would you choose: one that matches your current skill set or one that
  • You should have extensive knowledge and be able to lead a team, or be able to work on something that is not as complicated
  • You are familiar with the software, but will be able to collaborate with your colleagues?
  • If you were to describe what you do in order to achieve your professional goals, what would it be?
  • In your opinion, what would it mean for you to obtain this position? On a professional and personal level 

Interviewing candidates about their career goals: how to assess their answers


  • Prepare for interviews by discussing career goals and building your resume from them. Programs for the development of employees. Consider the following factors when selecting a candidate:
  • A person’s career path is determined by what motivates them. It is important not to confuse career goals with climbing the corporate ladder.
  •  There are some employees who seek to learn new skills or acquire knowledge that will enhance their current employment. Make sure that these goals are relevant to the position you are seeking.
  •  It should not be considered disqualifying if a candidate intends to pursue further studies in the future. Ask good candidates follow up questions to learn why they are interested in this area of study and explain how your company can assist, if applicable (e.g. sponsor part of the studies or provide tickets to relevant conferences). 
  • Be aware that careers do not necessarily follow a linear path. Do not raise an alarm if a candidate’s professional aspirations appear at first glance to be irrelevant to their studies or experience. Try to gain a deeper understanding of their motivations instead. Employees with a combination of academic and professional backgrounds are often standout performers because they are curious, nimble, and risk-takers.

There are red flags

  • Business goals aren’t aligned with their answers. Candidate’s choice of course

You might have difficulty hiring someone whose career path does not align with the position you are hiring for

Long-term retention is a challenge. 

  • Aspiration is lacking among them. In spite of their level of experience, good employees strive to develop themselves

Experience and knowledge. Candidates who have difficulty setting short-term and long-term goals It is likely that they will become disengaged from their positions over the long term.

  • It is common for them to offer canned, clichéd responses. It is possible that candidates will be asked “Where do you see yourself in the future?”

Try to impress you with prepared responses to the “where you see yourself in five years” question. Ensure that you achieve instead of just saying what you want to hear, ask more specific questions and identify those who are willing to openly discuss their goals. 

  • Career goals provided by them are vague or unrealistic. Even though it is natural for recent graduates to have an unclear vision of what they wish to achieve in their careers, it may be a warning sign for more experienced professionals. Additionally, if their plans are unrealistic (e.g. “I want to increase sales revenue by 50% in my first month”), that may indicate a lack of commitment on their part. The ability to understand the industry or the capabilities of the company.

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