Five career goal questions, and how to answer them

Understanding where you stand in your career and where you aspire to be is essential for any job seeker. To help you prepare for these crucial discussions, here are five of our top career goal questions and expert advice on how to tackle them:

1) Please describe the job you’ve applied for.

When asked to describe the position you’re seeking, resist the urge to delve into excessive detail. Instead, focus on providing a concise summary that highlights the essence of the role and its primary outcomes. Succinctly state the job title and its key responsibilities, allowing room for further elaboration if prompted by the interviewer.

Right approach: “As an Airline Pilot, my role revolves around safely transporting passengers, ensuring punctuality, comfort, and profitability for the airline.”

Avoid: “Why don’t you describe it for me? You’d probably be better at it.”

2) Why do you want to work at this company?

Demonstrate genuine interest in the company by conducting thorough research on recent developments, expansion plans, and industry trends. Articulate how your skills and expertise align with the organisation’s goals and contribute to its success. Shift the focus from what the company can offer you to how your contributions can enhance its achievements.

Right approach: “Your company’s industry-leading reputation and ambitious expansion plans resonate with my career aspirations. I’m eager to contribute my expertise to drive your continued success.”

Avoid: “Employee discount.”

3) What is your dream job?

While it’s tempting to indulge in aspirational fantasies, focus on articulating a realistic career aspiration that aligns with the position you’re pursuing. Describe a role that enables you to leverage your strengths and make a meaningful impact, emphasising how it relates to your personal and professional goals.

Right approach: “My dream job involves customer interaction, problem-solving, and fostering positive experiences. I aim to utilise my skills to ensure customer satisfaction and contribute to organisational success.”

Avoid: “Owning a boat and sailing the ocean.”

4) What motivates you?

Highlight your enthusiasm for tasks and responsibilities that align with your skills and interests, emphasising your genuine passion for the role. Link your motivations to the specific job requirements and demonstrate a clear understanding of how the position aligns with your career objectives.

Right approach: “My motivation stems from a love for problem-solving and translating technical solutions to meet user needs. I thrive on challenges and derive fulfillment from contributing to innovative projects.”

Avoid: “This job pays the most.”

5) Why do you want to leave your current job?

Approach this question with honesty and positivity, focusing on the opportunities for growth and advancement offered by the new role. Highlight the alignment between your career goals and the prospective employer’s objectives, emphasising your eagerness to contribute and evolve professionally.

Right approach: “While I value my current role, I’m drawn to the exciting biotechnology investments your company is making. I see this as an opportunity to leverage my skills and embark on a new challenge.”

Avoid: “My boss had it in for me.”

By adopting these strategies, you can confidently address career goal questions, showcasing your suitability, enthusiasm, and commitment to potential employers. Remember to tailor your responses to each opportunity and convey a genuine passion for the role and organisation.