If you are looking for a job, preparing a Job Interview to meritoriously answer interview questions would be one of your priorities. You might be aware of many interview questions and you would have come across:
- What knowledge and skills do you bring to this job?
- Why do you think this is a great place for you to work?
Preparing for a Job Interview
But one of the lesser-known questions, the one that can really catch you off-guard is:
What are your career aspirations?
The common answer to this question is mostly “Umm”s and “Uhh”s, followed by an awkward silence by the interviewee. The truth of the matter is the correct answer to it is quite complicated. It has known to trouble experienced workers, so one can only imagine its effects on a new aspirant.
Sometimes, what is your career aspirations is asked differently. It may be asked as
- Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years? Or
- What are your long-term career goals?
Irrespective of the phrase, the nature of the question remains the same. So, let’s get into how you should answer the question.
Difference between career aspiration and career goals
Before you answer, “what are your career aspirations?” you need to understand what it means. Generally, it means your long-term goal, dream, or your plan that is far into the future. It can be confused with career goals. Here are some of the differences.
|An aspiration can be considered a hope or an ambition.||A goal is more specific and is considered a “desired result”.|
|It is usually further in the future than career goals.||Career goals are usually achieved before career aspirations.|
|It can be typically 10 or 20 years into the future.||It can be something you might want to achieve in the next 5-10 years.|
|Example: To leave a lasting impression in your field.||Example: To become manager of your branch within 3 or 4 years.|
Why do interviewers ask about your career aspirations?
Most of the interview questions are asked to learn if your views align with the company’s vision. Whether or not you can fit into the company’s culture. This question focuses more on another aspect. Will you be following the current leadership in the company or will you try to establish your own? And finally, your response to this question answers another matter.
How long will you be potentially staying in the company? Because employers prefer an individual who would rather stay for a little while with the company. Instead of the one who would jump-ship on the first chance, they get on the prospect of a better opportunity elsewhere.
How you can respond to your career aspirations question in an interview.
- Here are a few tips for you to follow in an interview, when asked this question. Answer in a way that your aspirations line up with the company’s ideology. For example, you are applying for the job of a data scientist. You can go along the lines that you want to better learn algorithms for measuring data. And possibly optimize or improve the methods to take measurements.
- You should consider the company’s culture when answering the question. Let’s say you are applying for a fashion designer post in a company that produces creative and innovative designs. Now you can say that you want to be someone whose artistic ideas are capable of defining new trends. This is exactly the ideology a creative firm looks for in its employees.
Finally, you should choose your words very carefully in these interviews. The first impression is the last impression very truly in these interviews. Your intentions might be good, nobody has bad intentions, but your words would define your make or break here. So, just be truthful, choose the best words, and try placing yourself in a positive light in the interview. Best of luck!