What’s in a goal?
Do you have a career goal? If you are not able to respond to this question, then are you prepared for an interview? This question may be more important to a recruiter than you think.
We all know that when attending an interview there are a number of age old questions that recruiters seem to enjoy asking. Whether we like it or not, one of these questions will always relate to career goals, what do you want to be doing in 3 years or even in 5 years? The purpose behind this question is to understand an individual’s career goals and aspirations. Although this may not be relevant to the type of role you are applying for, this question can be the undoing for what may otherwise be an ideal candidate.
When questions such as this first came to the interview process, people assumed that the recruiter wanted to hear that they were motivated and driven. For this reason many people responded to this question with their aspirations to become CEO; or take over the company within the next 5 years. Although this may be the case for some individuals, when applying for an entry level position within an organisation, candidates were breaking rapport with recruiters and prospective employers by providing such an un-thought out response. Potential employers don’t want to hear that you just want to race to the pinnacle of your career without a plan or acceptance that it takes hard work and determination to get there!
This question is asked to allow the candidate to articulate their career aspirations in some detail. When this is done well, the recruiter is then able to align these aspirations to the ongoing strategy for the organisation and for the team environment. If you are a highly motivated individual, however the work environment does not support this type of character, then this is a determining factor on your suitability to the work environment. Remember, a recruiter is required to wear many hats.
They need to ensure that the one individual that they recommend for an available position will not create conflict in an already established team culture. When responding to this question, it is important to reference a staged approach to your career development. If you do aspire for management, discuss the types of training or mentoring that you have determined would support you in achieving this goal. In this instance, it is always positive to highlight your own interest in pursuing such development. It can be detrimental outlining that you would expect your organisation to take responsibility for such development unless it is offered as part of a work environment.
Some key points to remember when responding to this question:
- Align your career goal to the type of position you are applying for
- Don’t break rapport by being arrogant or rude in your reply
- Appear thorough by ensuring your reply highlights some form of a plan, even if in high level
- Never ignore this question or respond that you do not have any career goals
- Link your career goal to the specific position and organisation through examples of how you may use this position or organisation to support your career goal