Interview Question: 'What Are Your Short-Term Goals?'

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 19 March 2023

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

During an interview, an interviewer asks questions to assess your suitability for the role. Asking about your short-term goals can help them identify whether you have a clear vision for your future and a realistic plan to achieve it. Learning how to answer these types of questions successfully can help you excel during the interview and increase your chances of getting hired. In this article, we discuss why an employer may ask 'What are your short-term goals?', explore how you can answer this question and share some example answers to help you prepare for your next interview.

Why Do Interviewers Ask, "What Are Your Short-Term Goals?"

An interviewer may ask you "What are your short-term goals?" to assess your career goals and how you plan to achieve them in the short and long term. They may also want to see if their company can help you achieve those goals and that you have a realistic outlook on the future. This helps them identify whether your expectations align with what the company can offer you and if you can help the company achieve its own goals. If you provide a good answer to this question, you are more likely to secure the role you want.

Related: Tips For A Successful Skype Interview

How To Answer "What Are Your Short-Term Goals?"

When an interviewer asks about your short-term goals, give a clear and focused answer that highlights how your goals align with the role you are applying for. It is important to make your desire for growth clear so that they know that success motivates you. The following are some steps you can follow to formulate an effective answer to this question:

1. Gain clarity on your short-term goals

Before you answer this question, it is important for you to be clear about your career goals and what you aim to achieve in the future. Think about what milestones you want to accomplish within the next year. The following are some features of short-term goals to consider when listing your own:


To add more credibility to your answer and help the interviewer understand your goals, give them tangible details. For example, if you want to hold a role that has more responsibilities, specify what kind of responsibilities you would like to take on. If you want to achieve more success in your field, define your idea of success, as it is subjective. For example, one individual may aspire to become a senior manager, while another may want to upgrade their skills within their existing position.


You can quantify your short-term goals in terms of time and level of achievement. Try to give yourself a realistic timeframe to achieve the goal you have set for yourself. For example, if you want to develop your business development skills, decide whether you can do this within the next year.

Also, determine how you can validate your newly acquired skills. For example, you may want to see a 20% increase in the number of leads you get per month. This allows the interviewer to know that you have sincerely thought out a clear vision of the future. Quantifying your goals also increases your chances of achieving them.

Related: What Is Business Development? Definition and Skills


Choose goals that are realistic to achieve, especially in the short term. You are more likely to achieve your goals if they align with your current skills and qualifications. For example, if you wish to be a national-level tennis player but have not played a sport since middle school, you might want to reassess your goal.

Also, it is important to align your goals with what the employer can offer. For example, if you want to improve your programming skills and the role you want requires a customer service profile, you may want to look for another job. Being more realistic can make you seem more credible and capable of achieving your goals.


Be honest about your goals rather than altering them to suit what you think the employer wants to hear. Being honest allows you to get the best out of your new job. An employer can also understand what you require to remain motivated and perform efficiently. This helps both you and the employer determine whether you are suitable for each other.

The following are some examples of short-term goals that you can describe in your answer:

  • Acquiring a new skill

  • Receiving a promotion to a management position

  • Earning a new technical qualification

  • Achieving higher sales targets

  • Helping your team achieve their goals

  • Gaining more experience in business development

2. Structure your answer to match the company and the role

It is important that your personal goals match what the company can offer and what it wants to achieve through your services. Make your answer more relevant to the company and the role you applied to. This may require conducting some research on the company, its history, mission, vision and values.

You can easily find such information on the About Us page of the company's website. This can help you understand which of your personal goals align with those of the company. When you craft an answer using this information, it shows the employer that you have attempted to research them and genuinely want to work for them. If a company's mission is to develop the most innovative technology in its field, you may give the following answers:

  • I would like to develop more enhanced and effective programming techniques to help users save time.

  • I aim to identify gaps and come up with highly innovative ideas for process improvement to help the team achieve more in less time and with fewer resources.

3. Align your answer with your experience

To make your goals appear more realistic and easier to achieve, make sure they align with your current skill set and experience. Think about your industry, the company, your current position and your experience. Consider the most natural course for progression. For example, if you have been in the industry for a few years in a junior executive position, it may feel natural to progress into a senior executive position and learn some leadership skills.

Example answers

Giving an effective answer to 'What are your short-term goals?" can help you secure the job. The following are examples of how you can answer this question depending on where you are in your career:

Example 1: Entry-level

I have been clear about my goals since my university days. Whether these were academic achievements or the career I wanted, I made sure that I worked with clearly specified and achievable short-term goals. In the short term, I aim to develop my digital marketing skills and learn about new social media and web platforms that can reap positive rewards. I want to learn unexplored marketing tactics to help my employer gain more visibility in the market and help myself become an expert in this domain.

Related: Top Social Media Marketing Interview Questions And Answers

Example 2: Mid-level

In the short term, I am keen to take on new challenges that can help me hone the skills that I have acquired in previous roles. I also hope to gain more leadership skills so that I can eventually grow into a supervisory position. I am considering pursuing a project management course, which I believe can help me achieve these goals.

Example 3: Senior/Management level

In my 15 years in this field, I have constantly set new milestones for myself along the way. This has encouraged me to always strive to reach higher achievements. Being in positions of responsibility has helped me develop my training and leadership skills. I am currently looking for an opportunity to utilise these leadership and management skills to motivate and inspire my team members to develop their skills and achieve their goals.


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