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Top 10 Career Goals Interview Questions

Question 1 of 12
What career path interests you the most in this company?
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Question 2 of 12
How does this position fit into your career goals?
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"My primary goal in my career as an HR professional is to eventually work my way from an Administrator level to HR Partner. I feel that what your organization offers is a strong path towards those goals and I am excited about what this position has to offer."
The interviewer would like to know that you see this position as a good fit. Is this role a lateral move that you are just complacent with taking until something better comes along? Assure the interviewer that this position will be challenging for you, is a step up in responsibilities, and that it fits with your overall career goals. A well-thought-out answer will show the interviewer you have considered the pros and cons of this position, in regards to the impact it will have on your career.

Specific Career Examples
Admin Example
"My primary career goal is to find a position where I can stay long term. Because your company has such a strong reputation for workplace culture, it fits perfectly with my desires for a long-term fit."
Marketing Example
"This position aligns nicely with my career goal of becoming a team leader in within an agency environment. The role is in my comfort zone, but a new enough approach that will intrigue me, and your company size is adequate to support growth."
Sales Example
"My greatest goal is to become the top sales executive in a global sales environment. My current organization does business solely in the USA, so I am very excited about the global possibilities that your organization offers."
Retail Example
"I have been seeking a retail environment outside of typical big box stores. Your brand and brand story resonates with me, and I like the fact that you encourage continued education opportunities for your management team as well."
Teacher Example
"I am, and will always be, a teacher first. This role fits with my career goals because you also offer opportunities for me to participate in extra-curricular activities like being a soccer coach. I love physical activity and have a strong belief in encouraging kids to be active."
Manager Example
"This role works into my plan to be a regional manager in the next few years. I look forward to climbing the ranks in your industry. I plan to take additional coursework on leadership to prepare myself for regular promotions."
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Question 3 of 12
Describe for me a time when you made the wrong career decision. How did you correct your misstep?
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"Last year, I had a management position that would have offered me the leadership experience for which I was seeking. Unfortunately, I turned down the offer in fear that I was not yet ready for the responsibility of being a leader to so many people. My lack of confidence in myself got in the way. I recognized that lack of confidence in myself and changed turned it around by attending three leadership workshops over the next year. Now I am bursting with confidence and am ready to take on this leadership role with your company."
Everyone has had a misstep in their career at one point or another. Perhaps you took a job with a company who was not as reputable as you initially believed. Maybe you accepted a role that was 'oversold' to you. Or, perhaps you declined an opportunity that you now regret passing on. The key to a great answer is to discuss what you did to correct the misstep.

Specific Career Examples
Admin Example
"As a nurse administrator, I have always worked in hospitals. I took the opportunity to work in home health and found that the driving and lifestyle was not for me. I stayed on and trained my replacement; however, the entire experience set me back about one year in my career."
Sales Example
"This is such a common occurrence in a sales role-- they want you to sell, so they oversell you. While I can usually see it coming, I have been fooled before. In a previous role, the recruiter reached out to me with all of the right buzzwords. Even after meeting the key players, I didn't sense anything was off. Unfortunately, it was only after a few months that the house of cards came crashing down. The company had the funding and the right names behind it, but it was all a smoke show. I remained there until it was clear that the company was going to run out of money, so I chose to move to the next role. Overall, it was a great learning experience, and I met some great friends and clients throughout the process."
Manager Example
"I would say the biggest misstep I've taken professionally was not being a stronger advocate for myself and my goals earlier in my career. I think I was too concerned with being liked to be a true advocate for what I wanted in my career. Because of this, I believe I was twice passed up for promotions for which I was well suited. I'm embarrassed to say that it took me getting burned twice to make a real change. That said, I have certainly learned from it and have, I believe, perfected the art of self-advocacy!"
Teacher Example
"The only time I can point to would be that I didn't go back to work sooner after I had my kids. I don't feel it was a wrong decision, per se, but at times I wonder if I should have gone back a few years sooner. I have always known I wanted to be a teacher and it is the only position I've held, aside from being a server while attending school, so I'm pleased to report that I feel I've made overall great career decisions from start to finish."
Retail Example
"Preceding my better judgment, I chose to join a business who did not have a great reputation. My interviews went well, and I liked the leaders, but it turns out it was a bit of a facade. There were no real policies in place, many unhappy customers, and a lot of defective product. I left after just two months and recalibrated my search, along with the way I vetted future employers."
Retail Example
"Before beginning a career in marketing, I worked as a recruiter for a temp agency. The work was fast-paced and taught me a great deal about the importance of organization and recall; however, the environment was negative. People were not showing up for work, others not getting paid properly. The role quashed my creative mind, so I chose to leave. This misstep is what catapulted me back to college where I completed my marketing degree."
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Question 4 of 12
Tell me about a career related goal that you set and did not reach.
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"Last January, I set a goal to learn the Python programming language by June; however, a few unexpected work-based projects came up which slowed my progress. Instead, I have been practicing and studying the language every Sunday evening. I hope to be comfortable with the programming language by August."
Tell the interviewer about a goal you set for yourself, but failed to meet. Show the interviewer that you are ambitious and, rather than giving up, you are going to try to achieve that goal again. Everyone has goals they have failed to reach so do not be embarrassed about that aspect. The interviewer is more interested in knowing that you are persistent and tenacious.

Specific Career Examples
Admin Example
"Last year I set a goal for myself to test as an expert user in Excel. I studied online tutorials for weeks and took mock tests as often as I could. When the time came for me to test, I graded at only an Advanced level. I was disappointed that I did not test as an expert; however, I still did very well and continued to work at it."
Manager Example
"One goal I had in mind was to attend two workshops per year, focused on leadership. Volumes in my current organization increased exponentially, which was excellent. However, my goal fell by the wayside. I would like to get back on track with this goal once time allows."
Retail Example
"I set a goal to be a retail store manager by the time I was 25. This goal did not happen, as the company I worked for, for five years, was acquired by a competitor just months before my promotion was to take place. It was a disappointment, but this is what's driving me to apply to bigger and better roles, just like this opportunity!"
Sales Example
"This past year, I wanted to double my sales quota, earning a commission check of $80,000. I worked very hard by making additional cold calls, doubling up on my customer touch points, and being available for my clients 24/7. In the end, I did not reach my goal. However, I did beat my quota by 40% which was still an excellent achievement."
Teacher Example
"One goal I set was to take our girls' soccer team to Nationals this year. We practiced frequently, and very hard. We didn't make Nationals, and the girls were disappointed. I took it as an opportunity to take the momentum and re-focus their efforts on next season."
Marketing Example
"I set a goal to receive a promotion to marketing manager last year. I did not get the promotion; rather, they transferred an existing manager from an alternate location. It was a disappointment, but I understood their side. It's often easier to transfer than to retrain a new person."
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Question 5 of 12
Where do you see your career one year from now?
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"I am thrilled to be interviewing here for your robotics engineer opportunity. I believe with the talents and skill set I bring to your team, we will solve some very challenging problems. This role is an opportunity I have been seeking for some time now, so I plan to stay for the long term should I be lucky enough to be hired."
This question is a short variation of the typical interview question, 'Where do you see yourself in five years?' Instead, the interviewer may ask more directly, 'Where do you see yourself in the next year?'

Interviewing, hiring, and onboarding is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor for any company. The interviewer wants to know that, if engaged, you will see this as a longer-term fit. Discuss your career plans, goals, and how those fit with what this company is offering. Describe your passion for this opportunity, and what you like about the company for which you are applying.

Specific Career Examples
Admin Example
"A year from now I would like to be learning and growing in a friendly organization that cares about its customers and its staff. I have been progressing in the administration field for the last three years, and I know there is more to learn such as tricks in Excel, and technical writing."
Retail Example
"My twelve-month plan is to join your organization and earn my way into a floor manager position. I have a great deal of experience with team management, customer dispute, and inventory. I believe you will see me well-suited for a management role in a short amount of time."
Manager Example
"One year from now I would like to be well versed in your production operations, and be leading your production team. Perhaps having a few new hires, I would also like to see myself making an impact on your company's employee retention rate and safety records."
Sales Example
"One year from now I would like to see myself climbing the ranks as your top sales representative in this region. It's important to me that I am a winner - I'm competitive!"
Teacher Example
"One year from now I would like to be a solid part of your faculty and this community. It's important to me that I become involved in the community and the lives of my students which is why I would also seek a volunteer opportunity closely related to the school's goals."
Marketing Example
"I am currently completing my Copyblogger Certified Content Marketer course. One year from now, I would like to be applying this knowledge to my role with your organization."
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Question 6 of 12
By this time in your career, you should have advanced further. What has slowed down your career progression?
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Question 7 of 12
Have you ever taken a role in a company that hasn't fit into your long-term career plans?
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Question 8 of 12
Have you progressed in your career as you have expected?
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Question 9 of 12
If you could start your career over again, what direction would you take?
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Question 10 of 12
What are your career aspirations beyond this job?
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Question 11 of 12
Why is this job right for you at this time in your career?
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Question 12 of 12
What is your dream job?
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