How to answer the interview question, ‘What are your career goals?’

Suzy Welch: Here's the one thing you must say in a job interview

When you have your short-term sights set on a job you are interviewing for, it can be disorienting to be asked about your vision for the future. Since it can be difficult, it's best to have an answer prepared in case a hiring manager asks, "What are your career goals?"

Glassdoor spoke with career experts as a part of the site's 50 Most Common Interview Questions series to figure out the best way to answer this tricky interview question.

Mary Grace Gardner of The Young Professionista tells Glassdoor that hiring managers ask this question in part because they want to hire people who will work for the company for many years. She says, "employers want to get a sense of how long you intend to be in a company or role."

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In order to reassure interviewers that you see a future working with them, applicants should demonstrate the ways in which they plan to grow with the company. "Show that your career goals and expectations are aligned with how careers unfold in the company," says Roy Cohen, career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional's Survival Guide to Glassdoor.

For instance, you could say, "One reason I am excited about this role is because the opportunities for growth align with my career goals. I hope to one day lead a team like this one."

Career coach Angela Copeland says that interviewees should balance being excited about the future without seeming unsatisfied about the role they are currently applying for. In order to strike this balance, "Don't give an answer that shows that you have no idea what you want in the future," she warns. "And, don't give an answer that shows you are not satisfied with the job you're interviewing for."

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