How does this position fit in with the career path you have set for yourself?
I think a lot of people shoot themselves in the foot with this career path question simply because they have no clue what the interviewer is looking for. Other questions have fairly obvious answers that require you to be positive rather than negative, talk about pro-active solutions to any problems you have encountered on the job, etc. But, this question really asks you to do some soul searching and figure out why you want this position.
To be fair, it’s a difficult question to answer, like the “Where do you see yourself in five years?” question or “What are your long-term goals?” Unless you have your life planned out, it’s difficult to predict what you’ll want to do several years down the road—especially if you’re just starting out and learning about your employment preferences.
But, employers like to see people who don’t just float along with the tide. They want to know what will motivate you to do a great job for them, besides the paycheck. They want to know if you have vision, if you can plan.
How you answer this question clues the interviewer in on whether you want just any job or if you want THIS job.
That’s a big part of what they’re asking with this question: “Why THIS job?”
Your general response to this question should concentrate on not just what you will bring to the position, but also what you will learn from this job: “I would say that my career serves me, and I serve my career. I’m looking to increase my knowledge and skills, so I can contribute more in my next position. I know that as I make improvements I will be rewarded professionally, personally, and financially. I see this position as a growth role that will benefit me professionally as I learn and develop more skills. It’s a stepping stone to the next position and an opportunity to hone my skill set.”
If you have a general end-destination in mind, great! Talk about how this job will help you meet that goal, but only in general terms: “I plan to add value to this position, develop my skills to help the company grow, and gradually move into positions of greater responsibility.” An answer along these lines tells the interviewer you’re ambitious without adding negative side effects…like being a threat to the interviewer’s job.
The bottom line is you don’t have to have a written-in-stone life-plan to answer this question. You just have to know what you want out of this job besides the paycheck.
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