Answering 'What Is Your Goal In Life?' Interview Question

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 24 September 2022

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 a job interview, hiring managers may ask you about your goals in life to understand how you plan to proceed with personal and career development. They may ask you the 'What is your goal in life?' interview question to assess whether your long-term career goals relate to the job and company vision. Learning how to answer this question aptly can help show your commitment and passion for the job, which can subsequently increase your chances of impressing the interviewers and getting selected for the job.

In this article, we explain why employers ask this question, discuss how to answer it and also provide sample responses to help you prepare yours better.

Why Do Employers Ask The 'What Is Your Goal In Life' Interview Question?

Employers ask the 'What is your goal in life?' interview question to see if you have an independent career goal. They may prefer candidates who they think can stay in the company for a significant duration and bring stability to the position after getting hired. This can help minimise expenses to train new hires and can also increase the cohesion in the team, along with retention rates, which can enhance the company's reputation. Asking questions about your life goals also helps the interviewers understand whether your interests and ambitions can benefit the company in the long term.

Related: 'What Makes You Uncomfortable?' (Interview Question)

How To Answer The 'What Is Your Goal In Life?' Interview Question?

Here are a few helpful steps you can follow to prepare your response to the 'What is your goal in life?' interview question:

1. List your professional goals in life

Employers aim to know your short-term and long-term career goals and what you wish to achieve in the role. You can list all your professional goals, such as improving your communication or software skills, developing leadership skills and contributing to the company's growth through your corporate knowledge or any other career goal you may have.

Your professional goals in life define your career path, and you can try to ensure your goals are compatible with the company's values to form an effective answer. For example, if you are an entry-level engineering graduate, your life goal might be to secure a management position. You can convey your ambitions to the interviewers while reasoning how those goals can help the company.

2. Focus on the job position

Interviewers may want to know how your life goals can help you achieve your potential for the job. Ensure you explain how the job position fits your career goals clearly. Emphasise your ability and position to solve relevant problems effectively in the company and how your skills can help you accomplish the role and responsibilities in your job role successfully.

For example, if you are interviewing for a marketing position, you can share what excites you about marketing and any future goals that may help you grow as a marketer. Hiring managers may ask how your life goals inspire you to take necessary risks and gain skill sets as you garner experience in your profession.

Related: Interview Question: 'Tell Me About Yourself'

3. Maintain a realistic approach

Employers often appreciate realistic and achievable goals. Candidates can be honest and share such life goals in their careers that are realistic. To illustrate, a goal where you move to a higher position and enhance your abilities in the company can look realistic, whereas goals like you want to become a member of the board of directors and grow the organisation may not always be ideal. This makes it important that you convey the goals which convey the benefits the company or the team may get in the near- to long-term by onboarding you.

Related: Interview Question: What Are Your Greatest Weaknesses?

4. Stay relevant and specific

Staying relevant to the job, the company you are applying for and your practical goals can help you be specific and to bring clarity to your response. Speaking to the point supports interviewers in gathering better insights into your goals, increasing your chances of being prioritised as a decisive candidate.

For instance, if you are applying for an associate software development engineer, telling them how you want to gain programming skills and gain management exposure in the long-term to advance as a professional can be ideal and convey to interviewers your aim to be in management after gaining specific skill sets and growing as a programmer.

Related: Interview Question: 'How Do You Define Success?'

5. Make an impact

In your answer, when you talk about life goals, explain how you plan to contribute to your field, the organisation you work for and your team. Prepare a rough roadmap that you may follow to realise your goals. Employers often want to know the impact of the life ambitions of your long-term career goals and the steps you want to take to pursue them.

For example, if your goal is to become a senior designer in a design agency, talk about how you want to manage your responsibilities and learn from your managers. You can briefly explain how you plan to empower your juniors to carry out successful projects to positively impact the company and facilitate its growth with your own development.

Related: Interview Question: 'Do You Have Any Questions?'

Sample Answers For The Life Goal Interview Question

Here are sample answers you can refer to for preparing for this interview question:

Example 1

Here is an example answer if you are a recent graduate applying for a job without any work experience:

I chose to study computer engineering because of my interest in computer systems from an early age. Using logic to fulfil different application requirements is a challenge I always liked. I have been looking for a career opportunity where I can use my skills to contribute to real-time projects and gain professional experience as a software engineer. My short-term goals in life include upskilling myself in artificial intelligence algorithms and contributing to the growth of the organisation via leveraging the power of data analytics.

In the future, I aspire to earn a management role and involve myself in management affairs where I can train other professionals and use my leadership skills to deliver effective results for clients and the company. As this organisation offers training to new graduates and has a reputation for nurturing skilled professionals, I believe it is consistent with my life goals and can help me achieve my potential.'

Related: Interview Question: 'Why Should We Hire You?'

Example 2

Here is a sample answer for a mid-level professional with a few years of experience:

My goal in life is to utilise my capabilities to assist the growth of organisations and also nurture younger professionals with my extensive expertise in sales and marketing to help them become better professionals. Through my experience, I realised it is important for developing leaders to get the correct guidance for them to deliver their best efforts, which I intend to provide if I get hired.

After working as an analyst for a year and as an associate consultant for two years, I believe I am ready to challenge myself in a senior consultant role. This can also help me explore more within my field and enhance my skill sets to become more versatile in my position.'

Example 3

Here is a sample answer if you are aiming for a leadership or management role:

I want to work my way through an organisation and become a leader with clear goals and someone who can contribute to the organisation's success. I wish to ensure customer and client-centric development where the core mission is to establish my company as a valuable leader in the industry.

After working in mid-management roles for almost three years, I have learned various essential lessons necessary for a leader, and now I am eager to explore upper management roles and use my skills to contribute to building a reputable organisation. I feel this management position allows me to stimulate my professional development and can assist me in fulfilling my and the company's objectives as well. I believe it is important that there is cohesion and transparency within the team, which I intend to promote and encourage if I get hired.'

Related: 'What Makes You Angry?' Interview Question (With Examples)

Example 4

Here is a sample answer if you are going through a transition in your career:

I started my career as a human resources professional. After working for two years, I learned how to connect with employees, understand their perspectives and share any feedback with the upper management whenever required. I got short-term exposure to marketing during a company workshop for a week. I realised that this is something that I may thrive in for a long-time and this realisation helped me decide to be in HR management. Right now, my goal is to help businesses strategise better hiring policies, remunerations, retention plans and employee satisfaction to ensure they continue with the company longer and, subsequently, increase the retention rates of the company and enhance the company's reputation in the industry.

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