Answering interview questions about ambition
Everyone has goals and ambitions in life, but talking about them in a job interview differs greatly from speaking about them with friends or family. We all have a plan in life or direction we want to go. In an interview, it's important to take the time to deliver clear and thoughtful responses that reflect those plans. In this article, we outline the ways you can answer different ambition-related questions and provide an overview of possible answers.
Whether you're looking for a new role, getting promoted, or simply preparing your future, you'll find the following questions and answers to be useful during the interview process.
What are your ambition examples?
When answering a question about your ambitions and providing examples, consider the context of the question. Ideally, your response will align with the company’s aims or ambitions. Confirm whether you share similar goals as the company by researching its vision or mission and what causes or activities its employees and leadership are involved with. You can usually find much of this information on the company’s website or through online searches.
What about your ambitions led you to this job?
Interviewers might ask this type of question to see if you are going to fit with the company as well as the team. Define your goals and how you might make your potential colleagues’ jobs easier by being part of the team.
Example answer: My goals are to grow and learn with a company where I can continue accepting new challenges and opportunities, contribute to the operation’s overall growth, and help build a strong team. I appreciate that my goals and values align with your company’s mission and see many long-term opportunities I can pursue while working here.
What are your ambitions for the future?
Companies ask about your long-term ambitions and career path to see if you are a good fit for their culture, team, and values. This type of question, however, might overlap with other parts of life outside your career or professional life. For example, some companies want to know if you have plans to remain in the area and settle down or if you are chasing grander dreams in the long run.
Additionally, the company might wonder what benefits you bring to the team and what your interests are. Consider your personal goals and how they might coincide with the company’s. Convey to the hiring manager your interest in succeeding within their ranks and their community.
Example answer: In the past, I have used my talents and strengths to further the goals of the organization and empower other team members. I hope to remain with your company for many years, begin committees, and support the long-term goals of the organization. Over the next five years, I will hire new talent, broaden the scope of our work in the advertising world, and initiate a number of major solutions.
What are your long-term finance industry goals?
When employers ask about ambition in a specific industry, they are asking about more than your goals or dreams. They also want to learn about your work ethic and initiative. They want to know not only what you want to do but how do you plan to get there. An interviewer wants to determine whether you’re a good fit for the team, job, and company. The interviewer also wonders if you’ll stick around for many years or if this job is just a stepping stone.
Example answer: I hope to use my skills as a numbers expert and finance guru to grow your company and increase your revenue. I plan to minimize inefficient communications and build cohesive teams. With my leadership and coding abilities, I’ll lead the company into success in the coming years.
What are your future goals?
This question is important because employers generally want to know what your five-year plan is. This is a critical interview preparation question to review the day before you meet with the hiring manager. Write down your short- and long-term goals ahead of time so you know how you want to respond.
Possible ways to prepare for these types of questions include sitting down with a career coach, friend, or family member who can ask you different goal-related questions. Consider your strengths and weaknesses, the types of jobs you have enjoyed or disliked, and what an ideal workday might look like when defining your goals.
Example answer: I plan to design a program to improve overall output without increasing the budget and minimizing the cost-effectiveness of operations. I hope to build a strong leadership team with open lines of communication to support the CEO in the company’s mission. In the next five years, I hope to move into a leadership position with your company by growing my knowledge about the industry.
What's an example of ambition in your career?
Some examples of ambition that you might provide during an interview include productivity, efficiency, collaboration, or goal-setting. Perhaps you helped your previous employer increase their marketing reach, overall revenue, or other important qualitative or quantitative metrics.
Example answer: In my current role, I initiated a new project to help increase our social media followers by using a calculated algorithm and optimizing our search engine results. Previously, I developed new processes and systems to streamline our staff’s workflow. My networking abilities have created strong partnerships with other professionals in the field and resulted in collaborations with other companies to broaden our scope of work and success in the field.
Can you describe your personal ambitions?
Companies often want to know about your personality, hobbies, and other characteristics that might relate to company culture. You can discuss or share personal ambitions about your family, home, or hobbies. Discuss career ambitions such as promotions, education and training, and professional development. Also share your long-term goals for the company and the team, including leadership development and supervision skills.
Example answer: I hope to find a career path and company that allows me to travel with my family, ride my mountain bike to work, and grow in my job role and supervisory opportunities.
What are your immediate professional goals?
When you have the opportunity to answer questions about your short-term goals at work, remember it is your chance to shine, showcase your personality and talents, and ideally, convince the hiring manager you’re the right match for the job.
Example answer: I am looking forward to improving my writing and marketing skills while growing my public relations talents. I’d like to become an expert in the field of marketing as it relates to this industry, and the prospect of working in this role would allow me to hone my skills while improving the company’s mission and overall outcomes.
What about your goals and ambitions makes you a good fit for this job?
Companies might ask this question to make sure you’ve reflected on your overall trajectory and to determine if it aligns with their mission and values. Interviews are not only about qualifications and experience but also about what you bring to the table for the collective company vision.
Example answer: I hope to help the company grow physically and financially within the industry, so its products become commonplace in the United States. As a person with many different industry experiences, I know how to help a company expand its reach and bring creative ideas that coincide with my goals for myself and for the company.
Follow these additional tips when preparing for an interview so you’re well-equipped to handle any ambition-related question the hiring manager throws at you:
- Always remember to bring at least five copies of your resume to the interview. You never know how many people might be on a panel or search committee.
- Preparation is key for potential employers, and the committee and interviewers will appreciate your initiative for the position by being ready for any possible situation.
- Interviewing might not always feel fun in the preparation process, but once you’re chatting with your future supervisor and colleagues, you have the chance to show off your strengths and let them know why working with you would be their best choice.
- Consider making a list of your top qualities, goals, ambitions, and talents and memorizing them for the interview.
- If you’re participating in a virtual interview, make a list of qualities and place it next to your computer to refer to prior to beginning the interview process.
In sum, practice asking and answering questions, know how your goals align with the company’s goals, and take the time to prepare with a friend or family member who can ask you sample questions. If you need help finding a job that aligns with your ambitions, review prospective employers and career paths to see what’s most fulfilling.