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How to Answer What are Your Short Term and Long Term Goals


‘What are your short term and long term goals? Or, where do you see yourself in five years?’

This is one of the fair questions that any interviewer may ask you!

But the answer to this question may vary, depending on whether you are interviewing for an entry level job, higher level position, or for the middle level position.

Short Term and Long Term Goals

Short Term and Long Term Goals:

Recruiters mainly ask such question as to have a basic idea of how much organized and planned you are about your career.

The answer to this question also helps them to investigate that whether you are serious about the job position they are offering, are you seeking long term employment with their company and are you the best fit for their vacant position.

So, what might be the best answer to this question?

Surely, the answer to this question may depend on your future career dreams and plans, your education and past accomplishments.

But be clear that short term goals are those that you wish to accomplish in less than a year or so, while long terms goals may get fulfilled within a time frame of 5 years

So, if you want to deliver the best answer to such questions, during your interview, then read on to some truly great tips listed below as it may help you frame an answer that is every time winning and acceptable!

1. Be honest:

Interviewers ask such questions because they want a better understanding of you and your goals.

Also, you cannot use someone else’s answer to this question as it may make you meet more troubles. Surely, no one is going to cross check you after five years, but still, it is best to stay genuine and honest while answering.

Talk about your goals and ambitions and past structured ways that you have adopted to accomplish them.

2. Prepare in advance:

Since, you are already aware that this is one such question that most interviewers may ask, so it is best to prepare for it in advance.

Take a piece of paper and list down things that you want to achieve in your life.

Separate personal goals from professional ambitions and then mark out which among them are short term and which are long term achievements. This evaluation will help you frame a better answer to this question.

3. Stay Focused:

Once you have listed and segregated your professional goals, then it is necessary that you stay focused on them, even while answering.

Discuss your goals and do not deviate from them as this may make the interviewer feel that you are confused and not well planned about your career.

4. Prioritize:

Always know what you should speak first and what last. In case you need to pursue further education along with the job to achieve your long term goals, then you can discuss that as well.

Also, discuss your short term goals first and then about your long term goals.

5. Ensure your short term and long term goals are interrelated:


long short term goalsWhile speaking about your goals, your short terms goals must be interrelated with long term goals.

Your short term ambitions must act as stepping ladders towards the achievements of your long term goals. Also, your goals must be related to the job that you are interviewing.

6. Show your commitment to the company:

The interviewer may have asked this question to investigate your commitment or interest in his company.

You will not work in the company forever, but it is vital that the employer sees your interest and drive towards working for the company.

7. Let your answer be fairly general:

Don’t be too specific while answering the question, specifically if you are not fully aware of the career path of this company.

Be truthful, but don’t speak narrow goals. Be broad enough, while listing your goals, so that the interviewer does not raise doubts regarding your appointment to his job opening.

8. Levy more attention on long term ambitions:

The interviewer wants to know whether you are planning to work longer with the company or not. As the company doesn’t want to fall in the trauma of conducting an interview again after 2 to 3 months, in case you leave the job.

So, it is wise to discuss the achievability of your long term goals through this position. This might impress the interviewer and increase your chances of getting a job.

9. Be ambitious:

goals ambitions job interviewMake sure that the interviewer believes that you are ambitious and you will not leave the job, no matter what the circumstances are.

Make him believe that you are serious not only about getting hired to the job but also about achieving your goals. This is because interviewers always want to hire job seekers who are serious about the company as well as their career.

10. Stay Enthusiast:

Exhibit your enthusiasm towards getting hired for this job. Make it clear that you are very much motivated and excited to get this job right now.

11. Don’t take too much time to think:

Don’t act like you are facing a pretty hard question. It’s good to take the question seriously, but remember that you are not judged based on the accuracy of your answer.

Frame your answer in a way, so that the interviewer notices that you are investing time and hard work in your career path.

12. Be consistent:

If you will have a million ideas running in your mind or zero ideas, then delivering a perfect answer will surely be very difficult.

You might be exploring multiple career job options, especially if you are at the entry level. But, this is not your career counseling session.

So, don’t fall into the mistake of discussing what all is running in your mind. Give the impression that you are focused and you have an ideal plan to achieve what you desire.

13. Don’t give too long answers, like a story:

Don’t give narrative answers like a story. Try your best to make the best out of the given time. It’s better to give a brief outline of short term and long term goals.

You can also discuss some really important ones. Also, don’t give a too short answer of the one liner. It’s better if you speak out two to three short term goals and similarly few long term goals.

14. Be Confident:

confidence at job interviewConfidence is the key to success in any type of interview question. Even if you fall in any confusion or you have very little to speak, it will be better if you answer all with great confidence.

Don’t be overconfident or fall into an argument with the interviewer to prove your point correct. Think before speaking, and try to maintain your confidence throughout answering this question.

15. Make sure your goals are achievable and realistic:

List down goals that are achievable and feasible. There is no need to boast about yourself or list down goals, which even the interviewer might feel unrealistic.

The best way is to talk about your achievable short term goals, and how they can help you accomplish your long term ambitions.

16. Explain briefly how this position will help you achieve your goals:

If you want to impress the interviewer with a modest answer to this question, then it would be wise if you relate your goals to the job position.

Discuss why this job is very much important to you and how you can achieve everything you desire by getting hired for this position.

State it to the interviewer that this is not the end, but might be a great step towards accomplishing both your long term and short term ambitions.

17. Present your answer in a well organized manner:

May be your answer might not seem perfect to the interviewer, but try to deliver a well organized answer.

Don’t mix your goals or don’t add a single goal to any list of short term and long term. Give an answer that seems well planned to the interviewer.

18. Stay calm:

stay calm at interviewIn case you are feeling conscious, or you seriously don’t know what to say, then still stay calm and relaxed. You can ask for a glass of water, and simultaneously think about what you can speak. But try your best, that you don’t leave the question unanswered.

19. Don’t list a specific future job title:

Maybe you want to become the CEO of the company after 5 years, and presently you are interviewing for an entry level job. So, such a goal might seem simply unreasonable to the interviewer. It is better that you avoid stating a specific future job position in your answer.

It is better to stay general while answering such a question. Alternately, you can state that you want to become a high level professional in the upcoming five years.

20. Practice with it before the interview:

Not only preparing for an answer in advance is sufficient. It is also essential that you practice it a couple of times, before the final day.

Since, this is one such question that most interviewers may ask, so you should prepare and practice for an impressive answer to this. This will not only make you feel more confident during the interview but also get you to the job.


There is no perfect, precise way to answer this question, as your goals depend on what is important for you.

But, by considering these tips or points, you can surely frame your goals in a sincere and presentable way, that can help you get hired for the job position you desire to.