When you go into a professional interview, you are likely to encounter a range of questions that will be both predictable and surprising. One of the most common questions is, “What are your long range career objectives” A hiring manager will ask this to determine if you are likely to stay with the company in the future. For example, if you want to advance to a position that is taken by a tenured individual, the interviewer now knows that your time with the enterprise is limited. This is not necessarily and most important question in the interview. After all, it may be five years before you qualify for a management position, which gives you plenty of time to provide the company with quality work.
Points to Emphasize
Show the interviewer that you have put some thought into your professional career. He or she will be impressed if you can concisely and clearly answer the question.
- Briefly touch on short-term goals if you haven’t had the chance to address them.
- Focus on your overall trajectory assuming you are a successful employee.
- Highlight your ambition to develop professionally.
- Remain reasonable in your aspirations.
Here, you need to strike a balance between ambition and realism. Focus on the attributes of your future position such as project oversight, working closely with important clients or creative problem solving.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
Remember to incorporate the position into your long-term goals. Even if it is just a stepping-stone, make an effort to show a genuine interest in the company and the job.
- Do not describe a career path that is rarely achieved.
- Do not answer too vaguely.
- Do not attribute your success or failure to the company allowing you to advance.
- Do not simply state a high-level job title.
Leave any mention of money or salary out of this conversation. Instead, mention you want stability or a long-term position.
Here is an example of a good response regarding your long-term career objectives:
In the short term, I’d like to become an expert in my position and learn more about this sector of the industry. In the long term, I want to focus on understanding the industry as a whole so that I can advance to a management level position. My ultimate goal is to work closely with the company’s clientele and over see major projects.
Feel free to be honest, but be sure to remain as positive as possible. Show that you are excited for this position as well as your future career in the industry.