1. Why do recruiters ask “How do you plan to achieve your career goals?”
  2. How to answer “How do you plan to achieve your career goals?”
    1. Get clarity on your path
    2. Make sure it is in line with the job offered
    3. Divide goals into short-term and long-term
    4. Explain your plan of action to achieve it
    5. Make sure you are a cultural fit
  3. Sample answers to “How do you plan to achieve your career goals?”
  4. How not to answer “How do you plan to achieve your career goals?”
    1. Do not mention salary
    2. Do not be vague
    3. Do not be obsessed with job titles
    4. Do not talk of goals that cannot be achieved at the organization

Recruiters have their way of testing a candidate during job interviews, “How do you plan to achieve your career goals?” is one such recruiter’s favorite.

The same job interview question might also be framed as “What is your 5-year plan?”, “What is your short-term and long-term plan?” etc.

Job interview questions like these tend to put a candidate in a fix if not well prepared.

Here are a few factors to consider while preparing to answer “How do you plan to achieve your career goals?”

Why do recruiters ask “How do you plan to achieve your career goals?”

One of the reasons why recruiters ask this job interview is because they always want to hire candidates who are willing to stay for the long run.

So, when a candidate has a set career goal that is aligned to the company’s recruiters feel assured to hire him/her.

However, having a career goal is not sufficient to impress a recruiter, your plan of action to live up to your goals is also important for a recruiter so that they are convinced that a candidate is not just saying it for the sake of it.

Therefore, it is important to have a concrete plan of action and clarity on your career goals before answering “How do you plan to achieve your career goals?”

How to answer “How do you plan to achieve your career goals?”

Now, just having a plan of action for your career goals is not enough. After all, it is a job interview and there should be a particular way to revert to this job interview question.

Here are a few factors to consider while answering “How do you plan to achieve your career goals?”

Get clarity on your path

First things first, before answering this job interview question you need to have clarity about your career goals.

It is important to have proper preparation and also set your goals in a smart manner. Identify the milestones in your career goals.

However, remember to keep these goals realistic. You do not want to project yourself as overconfident.

So, you can divide your goals into a 3 year and 5-year plan. This will not only help you to formulate your answer better but also give you perspective.

Make sure it is in line with the job offered

Aligning your career goals to the company’s goals is another important aspect to consider while answering the job interview question “How do you plan to achieve your career goals?”

It is alright to have high ambitions for yourself but it is also important that you cannot be completely self-centered while answering this job interview question.

Recruiters always look forward to hiring candidates who have goals in line with the company as it reflects the candidate’s sincerity in working with them in the long run.

Divide goals into short-term and long-term

Answering the job interview question like “How do you plan to achieve your career goals?” can be a little complicated.

So, the best way to frame your answer is to begin with your short-term goals and then move on to long-term ones. This will ensure your recruiter that you have your goals well chalked out and in motion.

You can also mention your accomplishments which you think are milestones in your way to achieve your career goals.

Explain your plan of action to achieve it

As mentioned before, citing goals is not enough to impress your recruiter. You need to have a proper plan in place to make sure you have put thought into achieving your career goals.

Also, explain your plan of actions briefly how you can help to add value to the organization.

Your analytical thinking towards achieving your career goals and passion can make sure you get brownie points while answering this job interview question.

Make sure you are a cultural fit

Recruiters want team players in their organization and to be so, you need to be culturally fit.

Research the company well so that you know of the qualities the organization appreciates. Highlight your answer in a manner that projects how well you fit the organization culturally and work.

Sample answers to “How do you plan to achieve your career goals?”

Possible answer #1:

“I have always wanted to become a journalist and my college degree in Journalism helped in taking the first step towards it. However, what attracts me is business journalism.

Not everything can be taught in a classroom, so to understand this genre of journalism I sit down with my seniors from within the team and also marketing teams to get in-depth knowledge.

Communicating with cross-team members helps in building stronger teams.

Also, I intend to pick up online courses on digital marketing to help the organization make the best use of the digital space.

The digital space is very fast-evolving, leveraging it will help the organization make a better brand presence and get more RoI.”

Possible Answer #2:

“There have been two things I have been fascinated with since childhood, History and journalism.

I realized my passion to incorporate both while writing my thesis.

I graduated with History as my Major but it alone cannot help me succeed in the field or bring recognition.

The years of writing papers in college had given me exposure to the nitty gritties, but to completely understand it I applied for internships to the media houses to get an understanding of what goes on behind the scenes.

I took up online courses and started reading up on the intricacies of multimedia journalism to make sure I reach my goal of being renowned in the field.”

Possible Answer #3:

“To reach my long-term goals, I have divided it into short-term ones.

My upcoming goal is to complete my certification in digital marketing which will help me get a deeper understanding of the digital space and work my way up to my final goal of being a renowned digital marketer.”

How not to answer “How do you plan to achieve your career goals?”

With the to-do part sorted, here are the mistakes you need to avoid if you don’t want to blow your chance at bagging the job.

Do not mention salary

Talking of salary is the biggest pet peeve while answering “How do you plan to achieve your career goals?”

You do not want to give an impression of yourself as someone just in for the money. This will immediately cast you into negative light and lose your chance at landing the job.

Do not be vague

Providing vague answers to “How do you plan to achieve your career goals?” will give the impression that you are not serious about your career.

Such an impression is the complete opposite of what you want the recruiter to believe. So, always be specific while mentioning career goals when asked in a job interview.

Do not be obsessed with job titles

It is often seen that career goals are marked by job titles. Although it might seem justified to yourself on a personal level, it is not wise to discuss job titles with your recruiter even before you have been offered a job.

Do not talk of goals that cannot be achieved at the organization

Surely, everyone has their personal goals which remain unmoved irrespective of the organization.

Avoid talking about ambitions that cannot be fulfilled in the organization you are interviewing. Your motive is to bag the job, and to be honest upsetting the recruiter is not a wise call.

So, steer clear of talking of any career goals in which the organization has no role.

Hopefully, with these tips and advice you will be able to ace your response when the recruiter asks “How do you plan to achieve your career goals?”

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All the best!

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