Job Interview Answer: What Are Your Long Term Goals?

Open ended questions about long term goals can put a job seeking candidate in a fix. Hiring managers often ask candidates what role they see themselves performing for the company in the next five years. These questions are asked to test the communication skills and self-awareness of the candidate.

A candidate seeking a project manager position may be asked to answer question about long term goals, as the staffing manger needs to look for a person with long term vision and planning skills for the project manager position.

Many would feel the right answer for a project manager position is that he/she would be a marketing manger within 5 years and lead a hand-picked team that reports to him/her. This answer appears to be too specific and may not be suitable for the company requirement. A hand-picked team also questions the candidate’s ability to work with other people. Therefore, do not provide specific goals as an answer when asked about long term goals.

Some jobseekers may say that they were busy achieving company goals, so they were not able to concentrate on their personal long term goals due to a high work load. Such an answer shows a strong work ethic, but it also denotes a lack of vision and planning. Some jobseekers also disclose their higher education plans along with their business plans. Such disclosures decrease your employment chances, as the employer is looking for a candidate who can stick with the company for a longer period of time.

Let’s take a look how you can answer such questions in a perfect manner and get the job:

Concentrate on your goals:

A person who leads an organized life may find such a question very easy to answer. However, people who ‘live in the present’ may not be able answer the question well enough. They will need to think deeply for a while before answering the question.

Ask yourself “What do you really desire in life?” Many successful people will state that the key to their success is their ability to set goals and work toward achieving them. Your short term goal can be getting hired for the position offered. However, you need to think about the direction in which it could take you.

To get hired, you need to be employer centric. Your employer is looking to hire someone who has the skills and ability to solve problems. Planning is a primary factor in such a job, so present some examples to the interviewer where your planning yielded good results and how it will you get your desired goals for the future.

Keep a script ready:

If your interviewer asks how you are going to plan for your goals, tell him/her that you would finalize long term goals and break them into several short term goals. Short term goals are easier to achieve, and within a few years, you can see yourself in a position where you can function as a part of the team and lead them toward achieving company goals. Your long term goal will change with the direction your company takes. Your personal long term goal would be progressing in your career to a position where you can lead the team.

There is no perfect answer for an open ended question pertaining to long term goals. You have to devise your answer by staying focused and being employer centric, which will take the interview in the right direction.