Interview Question: Tell Me About a Professional Goal You Set & Achieved

Nilda Melissa Diaz
By Nilda Melissa Diaz, Career Advice Contributor Last Updated: December 05, 2022
Give An Example Of Accomplishing A Long Established Personal Goal

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When interviewing for a position, you will likely face many behavioral interview questions. Traditional interview questions deal with concrete or simple facts, such as your previous work experience, how many years you have in a certain field, or your educational background. On the other hand, behavioral questions deal with abstract concepts that provide insight into your mindset, work ethic and personal attributes. There are many ways you can answer this kind of question, which makes them difficult to approach. The following simple tips should help you learn the best way to answer the ‘Give me an example of an important goal which you had set in the past and tell me about your success in reaching it’ behavioral interview question.

The best approach to a tricky behavioral question is to think about what information the interviewer is trying to discover. Consider what attribute you want to exemplify and incorporate this into your answer. For an interview question about your success setting and reaching goals, the interviewer is likely trying to gauge your capacity for continuous self-improvement. You may also be asked about the steps you take to reach your goals or what your most recent or current goal is and what you are doing to reach it. To give a strong answer, follow the STAR method and have your answer prepared in advance.

How to Answer the ‘Give Me an Example of an Important Goal Which You Had Set in the Past and Tell Me About Your Success in Reaching it’ Behavioral Interview Question

1. Use the STAR Method

To help you properly structure your responses, the STAR method is designed to guide your answer and ensure that you include all the information that the interviewer is looking for. The STAR method comprises these steps:

  • ST – Situation or task. To begin your answer, establish the situation you were in. This usually involves describing a problem you eventually solved or challenge you overcome. For this question specifically, you should explain what your goal was and why you decided to set it for yourself.
  • A – Action. Next, explain the actions you took to reach your goal. In some other behavioral interview questions, you may explain your response to the situation, but for this question you will mostly focus on the steps you took.
  • R – Results. To finish your answer, be sure to describe the results of your actions, using specific details. As this question specifically asks about your success in reaching your goal, this is going to be a significant part of your answer.

2. Try to Be as Relevant as Possible

Obviously your answer will be dealing with goals from previous jobs. You have no control over how closely these jobs relate to the one you are applying for now, but you can control how relevant the applicable attributes you describe are. Being able to take action to reach a goal is a universal skill that applies to every job, but you can go one step further. Meeting your goal will have required specific other skills, such as teamwork, decision-making, business knowledge, commitment, or communication skills. You can fine-tune your answer to emphasize virtually any skill that relates to the job you are applying for.

3. Be Honest and Realistic

The goal you choose to describe does not have to be a life-changing event, but it should be one that you actually pursued. It is better to describe something that actually happened than make up something you think the employer would want to hear. Additionally, your story should be realistic. Your goal will likely be straightforward and personal, although if possible try to explain a goal you had that related to the effectiveness or efficiency of your work. If choosing a professional goal, try to pick one you were personally motivated to pursue, rather than something imposed by your employer.

Sample ‘Give Me an Example of an Important Goal Which You Had Set in the Past and Tell Me About Your Success in Reaching it’ STAR Interview Answer

After the company had shared some of the customer interaction statistics with us, I set a goal for myself to improve my communication skills and be more purposeful. In that position and the ones I hoped to hold in the future, I recognized that communication was at the heart of the job, so I really wanted to become a master communicator. I spend a lot of time watching how others spoke with guests, paying attention to what worked and what didn’t, as well as practicing on my own. I even enrolled in a simple communication class to help me advance. My efforts eventually led to me being promoted to the head of relations, where I was able to implement some universal communication standards for all employees who interact with customers.

By following these tips and suggestions, you can provide excellent answers to ‘Give me an example of an important goal which you had set how you reached it’ and other behavioral interview questions.

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