Job Interview Question & Answer: What Are Your Plans for the Future?
Why Managers Ask this Question?
Interviewers ask questions like “What are your goals for the future?” to understand where you see yourself professionally in the coming years. A clear, focused goal with a specific outcome shows employers your long-term for a given industry. A potential hire with goals matching the company would make a good fit for the job.
How to Answer Effectively
When answering a question such as “Where do you see yourself in the next few years?”, focus your response on the company. In addition to demonstrating your aspirations, managers also get a sense of how you see yourself in their business. Research a company’s values and mission ahead of time to ensure your plans match up with it.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Avoid discussing personal goals, money and family concerns with the hiring manager. While these responses may be true, they likely aren’t relevant to your potential spot in a company. For the best result, stay focused on statements that directly relate to the employer’s business needs.
Topics for Answering “What are Your Plans for the Future?”
Standing out among other applicants can be difficult, so it’s important to offer a strong response when answering this question. A few effective goal-based topics to discuss during a job interview include:
- Becoming a leader or manager during your employment
- Mastering strategies that benefit you and your team
- Meeting or exceeding certain expectations, such as annual sales numbers
The following examples can help those who feel lost when asked “What are your future goals?” in a job interview. Remember, a response must focus on your own experiences and not be rehearsed or memorized.
Sample Answer 1 – Fashion Retail Worker
“My ultimate goal in retail is to take on a management role. I know I will make an effective manager if given the opportunity. I have a passion for working with others to obtain a common goal and would love the chance to build a successful sales team.”
Sample Answer 2 – Restaurant Cook
“Over the next few years, I hope to perfect my skills as a cook and start training new employees. I think my knowledge and experience could be beneficial to new hires and possibly help me become head chef.”
Sample Answer 3 – Entry-Level Position
“Since I’m new to this industry, I hope to gain valuable insight and experience that will help me in the future. I plan to build on the skills I learn in this job and develop a clear picture of where I see myself professionally over several years working with the company.”
A question like “What are your goals for the future?” allows managers to get an idea of where you see yourself in the long-term. Keep your answers focused on topics like:
- How your professional goals relate to the values of the company
- Discussing your future role in the industry
- Basing your growth on job-related plans instead of personal goals
A strong response emphasizes a clear outline of what you hope to achieve throughout your career.