This interview question can catch many people off guard and in cases where an answer is not prepared, there is often a tendency to waffle.
This may leave your interviewer feeling that you are lacking in structure, ambition and vision. If you focus on non-career related goals such as as “my goal is to get fit and eventually run the Dublin City marathon”, that is all well and good but is it what the interviewer is after?
Most interviewers wish to find out it your career goals tie in with company goals and if your goals are attainable within their organisation. For example, if you state that “my objective is to become a company director within 12 months”, this may be interpreted as overambitious and unattainable due to the level of the role you are interviewing for and perhaps due to a tack of experience.
What is the best tack to approach this weighted question?
The best tack is to align your career goals with the position and the company you are interviewing for. This is where research comes in. Have a look at LinkedIn and analyse the career path of other executives like yourself in the company you are interviewing for. Ascertain if this is the same trajectory you would like to follow and Voilà, you have a structured answer which aligns with the company’s career progression path.