Q: Where do you hope to be in your career in the next few years?
A: My goal is to eventually be responsible for a bottom-line budget and production line. I have always wanted to be product manufacturer and so eventually having the opportunity to run the a product line would be exhilarating.
Try not to suggest job titles or specific positions within the company, however do discuss things that you would like to accomplish within the field and company. Be positive and focused on the future, but don’t use specific time frames or give ultimatums, like “I would probably start looking for another job if I not a manager by the time I’m thirty.”
Q: What are your overall career goals?
A: I really want to write a best selling book about managing finances and gaining ultimate financial wealth. Eventually building up to a series of books, I want to start a business helping people gain financial independence. Writing your finance training manual and supplemental corporate literature is a great start for me.
Since the job market is ever changing, you will want to focus on career goals for the future rather than titles or positions. As business shifts and change so too will your aspirations as your experience in the position grows and you learn new things, so sure to mention that you would like to grow with the job.
Q: As this will be your first job out of college, are you sure this is the right career path for you?
A: I know that my resume mentions my internship with Allied Finance partners, where I interned last year. While I was there, I worked closely with their sales and marketing team and really enjoyed my experience working with that department. After the internship was over, I made a decision that I wanted to pursue sales and marketing in the financial industry.
This question may be a hard one to answer because it points to a valid concern if you are just starting out in an industry. Mention internships, mentors and life goals that are in line with the position for which you are interviewing and remain focused on the qualities of the industry that fit with your personality and passions.
Q: How does this job fit into your career goals at this time in your life?
A: With my military background and IT systems integration training I think I am ready to tackle a larger set of responsibilities. Being an IT training supervisor feels like a good next step for me. I am able to manage large groups of people and have a intrinsic understanding of systems, so I look forward to the chance to add a training component to my experience.
Focus on the experience you want to build upon to enrich your career goals and interests. Be as specific as you can be given your understanding of the job and it’s function in the company. Focus on how you would like to grow with the position and discuss your motivation to pursue the job at this time in your life.
Q: What are some of your goals outside of this job?
A: What are my career aspirations beyond being a development assistant? I’m excited that this job involves coverage, I have always wanted to read and evaluate scripts, so doing coverage will be a great learning tool for me. Eventually I would like to move to the Story Library and then to running a show. I know that this will take a lot of motivation and work, but I really respect the creative executive this position reports to and I hope to learn as much as I can from her. I also plan to take some writing courses to get a better grasp of character development and story structure.
Talk about the natural progression the job would take and how it fits with your interests for the future. Do not talk about job titles or jobs unrelated to the one you are interviewing for. However, you will not want to focus too heavily on what lies beyond the job as the recruiter may think that you are looking to jump a step quickly and leave as soon as you get a better opportunity.
Q: What kinds of new challenges do you find enjoyable?
A: I have worked in the hotel industry since I was in college, first as a food and beverage server, then as a F and B manager. I am really looking forward to switching gears and moving to the operations side of the hotel industry. I have always enjoyed working with the front desk staff and management and I am excited about joining them and learning a completely new side of the industry.
Talk about the next natural step in your career path and how you are ready to face the challenges that will come with a new opportunity. Use examples of skills you obtained in your last position that will help you in your next.
Q: If you could do it all again, which direction would you take your career?
A: I only wish that I had taken some finance courses before entering the real estate industry. If I had a better grasp of mortgages and financial climates, I may have moved a little more quickly through the learning process in the beginning of my career and not made a few costly errors.
The Interviewer wants to see that you have chosen the right career path and thus are interviewing for an appropriate job. Discuss things you would counsel others to do differently if they were to take the same career path and you were to mentor them in the field.
Q: What achievements have you not yet accomplished?
A: I have run the production side of the magazine for eight years and I really enjoy it, however I think I am ready to tackle editing. I have written numerous freelance articles for one of our supplemental publications and have run a column since 2008. I know that the jump from production to editing is a bit of a stretch, but since I have worked with arranging copy and design layout, it felt like a logical progression to go from printing to content creation. I earned a master’s degree in journalism while working for the magazine and feel that with my experience in production and design and my education I am ready to embark on this new journey as a magazine editor.
Talk about a responsibility you have yet to earn, but are hoping to pursue in the future. Discuss the reasons you have not had the opportunity to assume the responsibility and remain positive about your prospects for the future without seeming disinterested or passive about the opportunity.
Q: How long to you foresee yourself growing in this position?
A: I think that as long as I am learning in a position, I am growing. There is no quantitative time frame, as I think growth is dependent on one’s desire to continue to learn. If I felt I had exhausted all opportunities to gain knowledge from my job, supervisors, co-workers and clients, I would then consider making a change that would add another level of challenge.
This is another question that looks at your career goals and path. Be specific about the way you measure your satisfaction and growth in a position and allude to your desire to grow within the company without giving specific job titles or time frames.
Q: What career path would you follow within the company?
A: I would eventually like to work in compliance. I like working with the documentation I am reading as a legal assistant to our lawyer that processes the governmental contracts and think it is a fascinating field. I hope to continue to learn about government regulations and policy so that I can stay on top of the changes in compliance industry.
Discuss your understanding of the career opportunities within the company and allude to one that you would find interesting. You don’t need to give a specific time frame or career goals, just show enthusiasm and interest in pursuing other areas within the company.
Q: What other kinds of jobs are you pursuing?
A: All of them are in the finance industry and require the same skills, analytical thinking, expertise in finance, ability to make decisions on the spot and deliver quality customer service. The other positions are also in management, however, they are more focused on the operations side which is where I came from. Only your company and one other focuses on production, which is the direction I really want to go at this point in my career.
You will want to highlight the similarities between the other jobs you are considering as well as make sure that the recruiter understands that the other jobs are comparable to the job you are interviewing for. The reason for this is, you want to show consistency the fact that their competitors are looking at you makes you more attractive to them.
Q: Has your career progression been what you expected?
A: I started with the finance group just out of college, first as an accountant and then moved to become an analyst which is exactly what I wanted, what I didn’t expect was to enjoy sales projections as much as I did. I feel confident that with my financial background and experience I would make a positive addition to the sales finance team, however I want to make sure that I continue to learn on the job, as it would be my first time in this particular field.
Examine the positive learning experiences from your past positions and discuss how they influence your ability to move forward to the next opportunity. Talk about areas where you recognize that you still need improvement and are willing to work to improve those areas.
Q: What are your salary requirements?
A: The school district website lists this position as between $46,000 and $51,000. In my current teaching position I am making $49,000, however this position is in New York and I know that Illinois has a different salary structure, however, I am hoping to make at least as much as I did. I have been a teacher for over seven years, what do you think the salary range is for this particular teaching job?
You should know the salary range for the job and discuss your prior salary history, then when the opportunity presents itself turn the question around on the recruiter and find out what they think the salary range would be based on your experience and the job’s requirements.
Q: What do you want to make in the five years?
A: I expect to be compensated for my worth. I understand that salary structures change and are dependent on many different factors such as the health of the company and personal job performance, but my goal is to increase my responsibilities each year and hopefully my salary.
This is another time when you won’t want to mention exact time frames, but talk about the job and things you hope to accomplish in the future, let the recruiter discuss timelines or opportunities for advancement.
Q: Have you ever taken a job that wasn’t in your career plans?
A: When my kids where young I opened a home daycare to stay with them and make money. It was far from my career goals as a news journalist, but I learned how to manage a business and work closely with people who were passionate about the clients (their kids). I learned a lot about being an independent contractor and when my kids were school aged, I was able to go back to freelance writing and focused again on my publishing career.
The recruiter is looking to see how good you are at finding an appropriate career match for your interests. If you were sidetracked, explain how you were able to get back on track again and what you may have learned from the career diversion.