Answering the Big Question
Job Interview Answer: Goals for the Future
First, one of the best job interview tips you can use is to give this question some thought prior to interviewing. If you don't have long term goals, how can you answer the question? Make a list of your long term goals and write them on a piece of paper. It might include things like traveling, writing a novel, paying off your debt, or going back to school.
Next do some research on the organization that is interviewing you. Write down their stated or implied long term goals on another piece of paper. Compare the two lists, looking for areas that overlap. Do your long term goals directly match any of the company's long term goals? Are you able to fulfill a unique need within the organization while also moving toward your long term goals? Are the skills that you would learn on the job valuable to your life long career path? These are the areas that you want to focus on when answering your goals for the future.
When answering questions about your goals or your plans for the future, you want to focus on how your personal long term and short term goals match those of the organization. You want to assure them that the relationship would be beneficial for both parties. Try to tell them how the position would allow you to move toward your long term goals, while also meeting the present and future needs of the organization.
For instance, a young worker with aspirations of becoming a chef may be willing to take a job at a fast food restaurant to gain some experience in a kitchen. A computer science student might be willing to take an unpaid internship with a Web 2.0 company to gain some work experience in their field of study. Likewise, and older worker who is in the process of changing career might be willing to take a pay cut as long as the new position moves them toward their long term goals. These are all valid reasons for taking a job, and if you communicate your reasoning and goals clearly to your prospective employer, it is more likely that you will not get dinged by the "goals for the future" question.