Hiring managers will often ask applicants “where they see themselves in five years” to get a sense of what each candidate is trying to get out of the job opportunity they are seeking.

Hiring managers ask this interview question to make certain your career goals align with the goals of the business. They also may be attempting to figure out how long you plan to work for the organization. Most hiring personnel do not want to hire an applicant who will only stick around for a few years. A hiring manager wants to understand what goals you have, because a goal-oriented applicant is probably going to be more inspired to achieve for the company than a complacent applicant. With a bit of rehearsal, you should be capable of giving a compelling answer to this question.

A solid approach to answer an interview question on career goals is to write down goals that are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. The SMART approach helps you to talk about goals that are easy to understand and attainable. Here are a few other things to keep in mind:

Keep Goals Related to the Job and Company

Since hiring personnel are trying to find a candidate who might be with the business for many years, focus on goals that benefit the company. Try to discuss the kinds of things you can accomplish in the job you are seeking and how the business will let you grow as a professional. Always ensure the goals could actually be achieved at the business. This approach not only allows you to answer the question but also helps you determine which businesses and roles can support your career goals.

Keep the Focus on Professional Goals

When asked about goals, you may be tempted to talk about personal goals. However, always keep it professional when responding to this type of question. Also, steer clear of talking about continuing education or anything else that might hint you’re not totally committed to the opportunity at hand.

Don’t Be an Egomaniac

When talking about what you would like to achieve in your career, it’s perfectly acceptable to be ambitious and aspirational. However, you should not come off as egotistical while doing so. 

Confidence is a crucial in many careers, but overconfidence can be a turnoff in an interview setting. For example, avoid talking about being an executive at the company because there are many stepping stones you must take along the way as well as people you would have to pass over to get there. The hiring managers and others at the business with seniority have probably been working towards that same objective and may not want to hear such a bold answer.

Let Us Assist With Your Interview Prep

At Jarvi Group, we often assist our candidates with various stages of our clients’ application and interview processes. Please contact our recruiters today to find out how we can help you.

Jarvi Group

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Grand Rapids, MI 49504


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