How to answer, “what are your future goals?”, in a HR, IT or marketing interview

It’s a question that lets a potential employer see exactly how you’ll fit into a role and the company: “What are your future goals?”

When it comes to interviews the question ‘what are your future goals’ goes neatly with ‘so, do you have any questions’ in terms of putting you on the spot – but only if you are not prepared.

It’s good to be prepared with answers to the most commonly asked questions so that you don’t end up saying the first thing that comes to mind; such as, ‘my goal is to increase my salary’.

Using salary to answer this question is a tricky one, for a lot of people the chance to increase their wages is often a reason for applying for a role, but it shouldn’t be the reason you’re applying. Our advice would be to only discuss salary if asked and it is definitely not a great idea to discuss money as a tie in to your goals.

Don’t forget the interviewer will be trying to find out who you are and how you’ll add value.

Breaking down the answer into two main areas, ‘short-term goals’ and ‘long-term goals’ is a great way to tackle the question. Short-term goals are a great starting point for talking about your skills and applying them to the role. Whereas, long-term goals can demonstrate an understanding of the company and explore ways that goals can be supported together.

It isn’t always easy or natural to talk highly of yourself, once you have identified these skills you will be able to push them further by thinking about your goals.

To help you tailor your answer to the question, ‘what are your future goals’, we’ve given our advice on points to consider if you are interviewing for a HR, IT or marketing role. Ultimately, how you respond to the question will depend on the skills expected from you in each of the respective professions:

How to answer: “What are your future goals?” in a HR interview

  • Short-term: define what you are good at. If that is people or processes, or both, explain why your goal is to immediately begin influencing positive differences within this role.

A successful HR employee is likely to be someone that is creative and adaptive, so use personal examples if you are new to this area of work. If you are new to the world of HR, take a look at our Career Map to learn more about the skills employers expect to see.

  • Long-term: goals do not have to be about career progression but can be about showing commitment. Saying that you would like a secure long-term role within the company, demonstrates just as much career focus as if you were the person that said, “in 5 years’ time I hope to be a Director within the company”.

How to answer: “What are your future goals?” in a marketing interview

  • Short-term: upskill one of your weaknesses. It is ok to recognise the things that you are not so great at, as employers’ value those that can self-reflect and be willing to turn it around. A short-term marketing goal could be improving your content writing skills, or something that will instantly benefit you and therefore benefit the business you’d like to work for.
  • Long-term: the classic ‘where do you see yourself in five years’ really does apply here. Marketing is a fast-paced environment and it makes sense that you’ll want to strive within it. Personal growth to achieve a professional marketing qualification will help you move up the ladder. It is also something that most marketing companies, or companies looking for a solid a marketing team, would want too. You might even find that there is a staff training budget for career progression.

Or alternatively, you might be a qualified professional already but fancy testing your skills on leading their brand strategy. Research the company, research their brand values, positioning and target audience and be SMART in your response. Think about not only where you want to be in five years time but how you want to help the company progress too.

How to answer: “What are your future goals?” in an IT interview

  • Short-term: upgrade your knowledge and resources to grow as a professional. Learn a new set of skills to either break into a new industry or move to a different role is essential in IT. An enthusiasm for technology is perfect for an IT career, but did you know that sound knowledge of finances is just as useful too?

Soft skills are extremely important and working on these could be a very useful short-term goal as well, especially with team work and even explaining technical terms to non-technical people.

  • Long-term: become an expert in a particular field. Having a general aspiration is definitely a future goal and there is no reason to not talk passionately about how you see yourself or the role evolving. If you have found a niche in the market or better still, within the company, then explain how you’d love to be the master of this niche area. These are the kind of admirable goals that benefit everyone.

Keep these tips in mind when you are asked the question “what are your future goals?” and you will be offering the interviewer a great range of relevant information that demonstrates your abilities and ambitions, whilst staying relevant to your industry.

For further tips and advice on mastering your upcoming interview, please get in touch.


Alex Smith

Recruitment Specialist

I’ve worked in recruitment for the same agency for over 12 years, covering finance, office support, construction, and engineering. Temp and perm. Previously, my line of work was within banking and estate agency.
Favourite food: “Curry (Hot)”
Favourite film: “Heat”

Outside of work

“Gym 5 days a week. Home life consists mostly of entertaining a 3 year old! (for clarification – my son)”

Alex on ACR

“Very refreshing to work for a recruitment agency that genuinely care for their candidates and clients”

T: 01733 235298

Sarah-Jane Bond

Recruitment Specialist

I have spent the majority of my career working in Operational and Project Management roles. I first worked with ACR about 25 years ago as a candidate. ACR secured me a role at RNIB, where I stayed for 15 years, finishing as Head of Operations. Recruitment has always been a big part of the roles I have undertaken and is something that I really enjoy. When you match a fantastic candidate with the right client there is no better feeling!
Favourite food: “Has to be any dish from the Mediterranean”
Favourite film: “There are many, love a chick flick, especially ‘The Holiday at Christmas”

Outside of work

“I love socialising with friends, can always squeeze a bit of retail therapy in around volunteering at Deeping Rangers FC, running their hospitality on match days.”

Sarah-Jane on ACR

“I couldn’t have been more delighted when Nel asked me to join the company and have felt at home since day one. They really do care about providing the best service for their clients and candidates, building genuine relationships with both. The team culture is second to none, everyone supporting and looking out for each other. It is a pleasure to come to work every day.”

T: 01733 235298

Emily Roach

Recruitment Specialist

Emily was a Primary School Teacher for 10 years, before moving into the EdTech space, as a Relationship Specialist for MATs. She joined ACR in July 2023 and particularly thrives when recruiting for Account Management, Customer Service and Sales roles.
Favourite food:
“Spag bol or pizza”
Favourite film:
“The Notebook – or any romantic chick flick really!”
Outside of work
“I have a 1-year-old, so love fun family weekends with my fiancé and son more than anything. Time socialising with friends and family is where I’m happiest.”
Emily on ACR
“The unique culture, values, and style at ACR is polar opposite to other recruitment agencies and what I believed recruitment was. Having previously been a Relationship Specialist, I feel I’m doing the same thing! No hard sell, we truly care about our candidates and clients, and the team culture is 2nd to none!”
T: 01733 235298

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