10 Career Development Questions and Answers

Carolina Jacobs

Jan 28, 2021
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Every year, managers sit down with their team members to discuss how everything’s going. They want to know if their team is happy and what the future holds. You might feel unprepared for this conversation if you’ve just started your first post-college job or transitioned your career. Ease your nerves by reading these 10 career development questions and answers.

Your job will benefit from a little extra preparation. Consider how you might answer these common questions to have a productive conversation with your manager and better understand what you want from life.

1. What Do You Love About Your Job?

Sometimes people start a job and discover it’s not for them. They might not feel comfortable enough to voice their concerns or even begin looking for a different opportunity. Managers often ask this question for your benefit as well as theirs. If you can’t answer it, you might be a better fit in a different role.

You could answer this question by talking about what gets you out of bed in the morning, why you applied for the position, or what you’re excited about doing in the future.

2. What Are Your Short Term and Long Term Goals?

Everyone should feel excited to tackle new goals. You’ll grow in the process and bond with your coworkers. This question sometimes takes people by surprise if they haven’t thought about this before. It’s not a bad sign if you don’t have an answer. You can take the opportunity to positively explore what you want to accomplish.

The first step to finding your answer is determining your career objectives, like climbing the ladder or gaining experience. In the short-term, you might decide to join a board or lead a project. In the long-term, you could want to achieve a promotion in five years. Sit with yourself and write a list to analyze and dream simultaneously.

3. What Career Accomplishment Are You Most Proud Of?

You’ll know you’re in the right career if you accomplish things you’re proud of. When you don’t have an answer, your job-related goals can help extend your list of accomplishments. Reflect on what you’ve done in the past year or however long you’ve been on the job. You could also talk about the skills you bring to the team or how you work well with coworkers if you’re still new.

4. What Job Activities Have You Disliked the Most?

Every good manager or supervisor wants to help with any recurring problems. If your boss asks you this question, it’s not a bad sign. Take it as an opportunity to tackle something as a team. Mention a challenge while resisting the temptation to vent so it’s a productive conversation. 

You might discuss frustrations with new participation requirements that you don’t have much time for. Your boss will help you hone your time management skills, create new goals to make them stronger, or point out other activities you might enjoy more. 

5. How Can You Connect to the Organization’s Goals?

Companies and schools all have organizational goals. Connecting with them means you’re a good fit for the company, both personally and professionally. It could also point out if you’re in the right career path.

Your answer to this question will relate to your company’s motto or your school’s yearly faculty goals. Getting more involved engages your interests and provides a broad range of experiences. After joining your school’s PTA meetings, you might discover a passion for analytical thinking as you use new software programs to schedule and coordinate activities.

6. What Projects or Responsibilities Would You Like to Be a Part Of?

There are always more responsibilities to accept in any job. Doing so proves your drive and contributes a helpful sense of ambition to your team. You might also start something new if there isn’t anything you’re excited to join. You could contribute healthy living career skills by creating an exercise group or driving an educational campaign regarding personal nutrition.

The most important part of your answer to this question is what makes you passionate. It won’t help anyone in your workplace to join a team or take on new responsibilities that make you stressed out or miserable just for the sake of impressing your boss.

7. How Do You Plan to Continue Your Professional Growth?

Once you start a job, managers like to see that you’re continuing to grow. Sometimes that means expanding your job description with new roles. It could mean outlining a long-term plan for what you want to do in your position with the company.

It could also mean personal work, like attending career-related conferences or continuing your education online. Although many people wonder if college guarantees success, it depends on your career. You could also continue your professional development by reading books and finding a mentor.

8. What Is the Most Important Risk You’ve Taken and Why?

Even dream jobs come with risks. How you respond to those risks speaks volumes about your character and potential. You could take a risk by starting your first management role or beginning an interoffice newsletter. When your boss asks you this career development question, reflect on how those risks turned out. Your answer will encourage you to continue down that path or help you join forces to discover better new things you can try.

9. What Motivates You?

When you began your career, something motivated you to pick that role. Your manager will likely ask about your current motivation. It’s crucial to always have something pushing you to achieve more, even if you’re happy with your current job. If you don’t think you have an answer to this question, learn about maintaining your motivation by reflecting on your passions and goals.

This question is also important because some people won’t be able to think of an answer. Being honest with yourself and your manager could help you find more satisfaction in another role or signal the importance of a career change.

10. What Is Your Dream Job?

It’s okay to admit if your current job isn’t your dream job. Managers ask this question so you don’t have to feel stuck. Your answer should prompt a discussion about what parts of your role aren’t what you enjoy so you can work together to find better opportunities. 

Maybe you currently work in your dream job. If so, congratulations! Talk about what you love about your responsibilities. Your boss can identify the strengths that give you joy and connect you with new roles that develop those skills.

Prep Your Career Development Questions and Answers

It’s always a good idea to prepare for an interview or a meeting with your manager. Consider these questions and the answers that come to mind. Embrace your strengths, challenges, and goals. You’ll have a better time at work and a fulfilling career because of it.

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