3 Answers To “What Are Your Career Aspirations?” In An Interview

career aspirations interview question

When the interviewer asks you, "What are your career aspirations?" you might be thinking to yourself, make more money! While that seems like the obvious answer, it's important that we take this question seriously. The interviewer wants to get to know you more.

We're going to go through what's required to answer this interview question effectively and how you might be able to design your own impactful answer.

Let's go ahead and get started.

Aspirations You Can Choose From

Having aspirations as part of your career plan is really important. But what about if you don’t know what types of aspirations are applicable to say? Of course, you can’t say that you’d like to be owning the company in the future. So what do you choose from?

Here are some helpful aspirations that you can use to integrate as part of your answer to this interview question:

You can make your aspirations bigger than this if you’d like. For example, one day being able to start your own company is not a bad aspiration. But be sure that you indicate the timeline of that. For example, you don’t want to tell a future employer that you want to start a company next year.

Set longer timeframes on bigger aspirations so that your employer doesn’t feel as though you aren’t committed to the work you’ll be doing.

What Are Some Examples Of Career Goals

Having career goals is really important. And aspirations, are slightly different but important too. An aspiration may be something that you hope to achieve. While a career goal should be something a little bit more tactical in nature. Meaning, achievable in the near-term.

An example of a career goal:

What Type Of Interview Question Is This

Whenever an interviewer asks you a hypothetical question like this, they are investigating your ability to have a plan for yourself. When interviewers know that you have a plan for yourself, they can feel more confident that you’ve spent the time in weighing the decision to work with them.

If you can, try to integrate the employer as part of your aspirations. For example, aspiring to work with a highly collaborative company is great. Indicate to the interviewer that’s why you are presently interviewing with them.

Is This Question The Same As Career Goals

There’s another interview question that’s often asked, “What are your career goals”. It’s important to recognize that this is a different interview question.

A career goal is more so asking about the path you expect to take as part of your career trajectory. While aspirations might be hopes and dreams that align with a future vision.

Another way to put this is that career goals are 5 years of an outlook. And then aspirations are 10 or 20 years of an outlook.

Related: Answering "What Are Your Career Goals?" (Interview Question)

3 Best Example Answers To "What Are Your Career Aspirations?"

Here are some example answers to help you put together a format for how you might pick your career aspirations and put together a proper response for the interviewer:

Example one

“When I think of my career aspirations, I think of a timeframe maybe 10 years from now. I have more tactical career goals that are 5 years from now, but aspirations I think of longer-term. Ideally, I aspire to be exposed to a broad set of skills that help me learn how to run enterprise businesses. I hope to have been exposed to operations, marketing, and sales more fluently. And aim to have been part of highly collaborative environments which developed me as a professional and person.”

Example two

“When I think of my career aspirations, I think about what could happen in the next 10 years. I absolutely aspire to have the ability to run my own business by year 9. Having been exposed to my current skills in a deeper way. And then being exposed to new skills in a meaningful way. I could also see this being the ability to manage a small team within a larger company, instead of starting my own business as well.”

Example three

“With all of the skills that I currently have in marketing and public relations, I aspire to learn more about product development and be exposed to customer interactions in a deeper way. I think this will create a highly sought after type of employee that is in high demand. One with a wide variety of skills that can strategically help companies move forward. That’s the type of professional I aspire to be.”

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.


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