Should You Be Asking Candidates About Their Long-Term Career Goals?



Whether you ask candidates where they see themselves in 10 years, or directly inquire about their long-term career goals, a form of this interview question has been around for ages.  While it may feel like a platitude, understanding where a candidate would like to be can provide valuable insights.  Even if an interviewee fails to articulate their career goals well, there is still a lot to be learned for this interview standard.

Do they know where they are trying to go?

First, this will let you know if they even have a goal in mind.  Candidates who can clearly speak to their goals have thought about where they are and where they want to end up.  It demonstrates that they have a plan in place, even if it is only in the most basic sense, and provides insight into their motivations.

Those who have a challenge describing where they are trying to go may not actually know what path is right for them.  They may be testing a particular field to see if it is a good fit, or may have limited interest in the field, but have not had many other opportunities.  While not all positions require an employee to be deeply passionate about the subject matter, those who appear disinterested may not be in it for the long-term.

Is This Job a Step Along the Path?

When a candidate has a clear goal, you can determine if the position for which they are interviewing is a logical step down that path.  For example, if a recent graduate has aspirations regarding gaining experience in the field and advancing in their area of expertise, you can see how this position may work with their goals.

Alternatively, if they have a long-term goal that doesn’t seem to align well with the position, you would be reasonable to have concerns.  For example, if a person is applying for a software analyst position, but states a long-term goal of opening a restaurant, it is possible the candidate’s true interests lie elsewhere.

While those being interviewed for an entry-level position likely have goals beyond the position in front of them, it is important to see if the position you are offering aligns with those goals in some way.  If not, the candidate may not be likely to stay with the company long-term should an opportunity that works with their long-term goals become available.

Can you offer ways to help them get to where they want to be?

If the candidate’s goals work with the position, are there additional ways in which you can help them get to where they want to be?  If so, this can help entice a desirable candidate to choose to work with your company.  By not only expressing your interest in them for the position in question, but explaining how your company can help them work towards their goals, you can put your company in a position to be more desirable to the candidate.

In cases where you cannot currently help a candidate progress along their path, consider your company’s capabilities to offer opportunities in the near future.  Not only can this provide insight into how to retain employees now and in the future, it may also give you information on what today’s candidates really want.

Looking for more ways to gain insight into what motivates candidates?

If so, the professionals as Advance Staffing Solutions have the knowledge and expertise to help you understand what motivates talented candidates to select the positions they do, and what you can do to attract strong candidates, as well.  Contact Advance Staffing Solutions today!







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