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Tell me about a career related goal that you set and did not reach.

10 Answer Examples

By: Rachelle Enns

How to Answer

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.

Professional Answer Examples
General
Answer example

"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."

Admin
Answer 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
Answer 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."

Marketing
Answer 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."

Retail
Answer 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
Answer 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
Answer 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 Communications Manager
Answer example

"Last year I set a goal to receive a promotion to marketing manager in my current organization. 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. With that said, the failure pushed me to gain some additional certificates in marketing, and prompted me to apply for your position, feeling highly qualified and confident."

Environmental Scientist
Answer example

"Last January, I set a goal to learn the C++ 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."

Civil Engineering Technician
Answer example

"My most important goal is one where I had to (X ...) on a very tight deadline (... detailed information pertaining to this goal, such as the company name, your position title, and so on). I successfully met the requirements and my superior was highly satisfied. My strong time management skills contributed to my success and will undoubtedly enable me to thrive in this role at your company."

Written by:

Ryan Brown
Ryan Brown, is the creator of MockQuestions. He has over ten years experience creating interview questions. His website has helped over 10 million job seekers in their interview preparation.
Rachelle Enns
Rachelle Enns is an executive head-hunter and job search expert. Utilized by top executives from Fortune 100 & 500 companies like Fitbit, Microsoft, General Electric, Nestle, and more, she helps professionals position themselves in a competitive marketplace. Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume, a company that focuses on helping job seekers get their edge back. Renovate My Resume creates stand-out resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles and professional summaries for new grads, all the way to corporate executives. Rachelle spends much of her time training career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers. She also holds interview workshops for students and interns, globally. For great tips and tricks, follow Rachelle on Instagram @_rachelle_e or @renovatemyresume.
First written on: 03/03/2018
Last modified on: 02/15/2019
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