Career Goals Interview Question: What Employers Truly Want to Hear?


“How do you plan to achieve your career goals?” or “How do you view yourself in the next 5 years?” is mostly asked interview question across industries. 

By asking this question, employers will be able to understand how your vision and determination to achieve career goals fit the role you apply. This is due to considering how vision, mission and value of the candidate match with those of the business is the key factor for any hiring managers to make a successful hire.

With this type of interview question, employers will also learn about your personality, planning skill and personal interest. In this article, we cover all important information employers truly want to collect by asking interview questions regarding career goals.


How your past performance aligned with your career goals

As your past performance can be proved indicator for your future success, employers tend to ask about your career goals to further determine your capabilities to excel in doing the job. More specifically, they will look for particular skill set and experience the candidate has gained during the process of achieving career goals. 

The candidate will be most likely to leave interviewer with good impression when their skill set meets the business’s need. For example, a marketing professional would land the job sweetly If they are able to show their proof of the following skills:

Interpersonal communication

Being a good story teller

Deep insight about strategy, tactics and goals.

Adaptability to the algorithms of social platforms

Strong research, content writing, data analyzing and visualizing skill

Good knowledge about design principles, etc.

Key takeaway: What impresses hiring managers about you career goals is the strategy you used, the actions you took and finally what you gained. This will show why your values are unique comparing to others and more likely to convince the employer to hire you.


Will your career goals create values fitting those of the business?

From employer’s perspective, shared values and goals between business and employee would greatly contribute to business success in hiring and retaining talent. In terms of this, the interview question “How do you plan to achieve your career goals?” would mean “How do you relate your goals to the business’ ones?”.

The question will help employer understand your ambition, how you visual yourself in the role and what strategy you will implement.

Key takeaway: Best answers to this question will include 2 important information:

Main indicators and reasons why your goals and values align with business’s ones.

Experience and skills you have gained during the process of working to achieve your goals that make yourself qualified.


The personality traits most employers look for

By asking this type of question, here are the personality traits that most employers look for from potential candidates.

Patience - Being willing to learn new knowledge and enjoying the process of achieving the goals, not the outcome

Rational - Focusing only on what is important to achieve the goals by accepting failures and learning from them 

Self-confidence - Never comparing yourself to others and being self-centric to achieve career goals in your ways. 

Responsibility - Taking full responsibility for the failures arising, never blaming but continuously thinking about the solutions.