Answering Interview Questions on Commitment to Career
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When interviewers ask about your commitment to career they are looking for evidence that you are genuinely enthusiastic about the job you are applying for and feel a sense of responsibility towards the goals of the organisation as a whole.
A committed employee understands the part they play in meeting those goals and has the dedication and motivation to work wholeheartedly towards achieving them.
To test your commitment to career, interviewers will usually ask pertinent questions about:
- What you know about the role, organisation and wider industry
- Why you have applied for the role
- Your long-term career goals
- Your reasons for leaving past jobs
This article explores in more detail how and why interviewers ask about commitment to career and the best way to approach this type of question.
Employers ask about commitment to career to understand how serious a candidate is about the role they are applying for and how well they would perform in the job.
They can easily ascertain whether a candidate holds the skills and qualifications needed for the role by looking at their CV and asking competency-based questions.
Finding out whether they are serious and committed to the role can be a little more tricky, but equally as important.
Highly committed employees are crucial to the success of a company as they lead to higher levels of productivity and profitability, as well as better employee retention and a more positive work atmosphere.
Therefore, before making a job offer, employers want to make sure that a candidate:
- Truly understands what will be expected of them in the role;
- Will largely enjoy the tasks assigned to them;
- Will make every effort to complete them to a high standard.
They also want to check that the candidate intends to stay with the firm for a reasonable amount of time, as high staff turnover is costly and disruptive.
Questions about commitment to career also help the interviewer to establish the candidate’s level of personal motivation, sense of responsibility and loyalty to their employer.
It is worth noting that there can be a conflict between displaying commitment to career while also demonstrating ambition, so it is important to find a balance between the two.
Firstly and most importantly, research the company and role you have applied for thoroughly before sending in your application and update your research before your interview.
You should have a solid understanding of what your responsibilities would be if you were offered the job and how these fit in with the mission and goals of the company. You should also have a good grasp of the company’s working culture, its key competitors and the wider industry.
You must be able to demonstrate a genuine interest in making a career with the company, rather than just clocking in and out or using it as a stepping stone to your next role.
If you can show significant knowledge about the job and company, and explain why you want the role with confidence and enthusiasm, you are more likely to convince the interviewer that you are the right candidate.
If your CV shows frequent moves or short-term jobs, emphasise the depth of research you have done into the role. Showing that you have spent time considering the industry or area you hope to move into should help to convince the interviewer that, while you may have left other roles, you are fully committed to sticking to this one.
Be positive when talking about previous roles and why you moved on. Don’t dwell on problems or dislikes, instead focus on what you learned and the benefits you can bring to the new role.
Show your intention to remain with the company for a reasonable time without being unrealistic. Your interviewer is looking for ambition and desire for progression, particularly with regard to graduate roles, but, equally, doesn’t want to hire someone who will move on too quickly.
Research the culture at the organisation to understand what is the norm in terms of career progression and align your own aspirations with this.
Remember not to focus solely on your own career development – this should come second to your commitment to meeting the responsibilities of the role and delivering results for the company.
- Don’t be negative – Be wary of complaining about your least favourite elements of a job when you should be focusing on the tasks you enjoy the most and how you excel at them.
- Don’t talk about the company in generic terms – Do your research. When you’re asked what you know about the company or why you want to work there, discuss specific aspects that show your knowledge and passion for the job.
- Avoid discussing conflicting aspirations or goals – If you’re asked about your five-year plan, don’t start talking about your desire to travel the world, possible future career switches or dreams of starting your own business (unless this is strictly relevant to the role).
- Don’t commit to forever – No interviewer would expect you to bind yourself to them until retirement. Recruiters understand that circumstances change and people move on. You should demonstrate your commitment to staying with the company long enough to make a valuable contribution without making wild promises.
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Questions about commitment to career can come in many forms and interviewers will often use subtle phrasing when approaching this subject. Be alert and make sure you have some suitable responses prepared.
Below are a few examples of job commitment interview questions, along with tips on answering them.
While you should never lie in an interview, there is no need to be brutally honest when asked how long you intend to stay with a company. The interview isn’t a contract and you can’t be expected to know exactly what the future may hold.
It’s OK to talk in more general terms about your willingness to commit without giving precise details. Having said that, if you can’t see yourself staying with the company for at least two years, you might want to question if it is the right role for you.
Your answer should convey that you’re ready to settle down with the company and are looking for a role where you can use your talents to contribute to company growth while developing your career.
Research the company culture to find out what its expectations for a candidate of your level might be when it comes to development and promotion and talk about your own career progression in those terms.
This is effectively another way of asking how long you envisage staying with the company and if the position you’re applying for fits with your long-term goals and aspirations.
You should approach this question much as you would the one above. You do not have to be too specific or lay out a detailed five-year plan, but your answer should focus on an interest in developing your career within the company.
Stress that this role would be the perfect move for you at this moment in your career and that you are excited about what your future with the company may hold.
An interviewer will ask this question not only to ensure you are a good fit but also to check that you understand exactly what the role entails.
A committed, motivated candidate will have prepared for the interview and have a thorough grasp of what their responsibilities would be. Read the job description carefully, along with more general information about the company before your interview.
Pick out the key responsibilities for the role and emphasise your passion for those. Explain why you enjoy those particular tasks and, if possible, draw on specific examples from past roles to demonstrate your aptitude in performing them.
When talking about aspects you do not enjoy so much, keep your answer positive and balanced and stick to tasks that are peripheral to the role rather than core responsibilities. Naturally, there will be bits of the job you are not so keen on but you should still display a willingness to take them on and execute them well.
Again, by asking this question the interviewer is checking that you understand the role you are applying for and have a sound knowledge of the organisation and the industry it operates in. Your answer should demonstrate that you have researched the company in-depth and have a genuine interest in the job.
As well as studying the company’s website and other literature, read around the subject by looking for mentions of the company in the news and/or industry media.
Find out about its competitors and the wider marketplace, and if possible, talk to current or past employees to get a first-hand account of what working with the company is really like.
When giving your answer, make it clear that you have a firm grasp of what your day to day responsibilities would be and how these fit in with the company as a whole.
Emphasise your enthusiasm for taking on those tasks, using examples from past experiences to highlight how you have done so in the past.
“Why Did You Leave Your Last Job/Why Are Your Thinking About Leaving Your Job?”
This can be tricky to answer if you have been in your current job for a short period or are currently between jobs. An interviewer could read this as a lack of commitment to career, so you must avoid or play down any negative reasons for leaving your last job and highlight the positive ones.
Focus on what you have learnt during this time and how those lessons will help you in your ambitions going forward.
If you have a job, emphasise that this role, in particular, has tempted you away. Describe your desire to move on in terms of your passion for the company and the new challenges it can offer, and emphasise that you are on good terms with your existing employer.
Be sure to talk about how your accomplishments so far have enhanced your ability to perform the new role.
If you were laid off from your last job for reasons beyond your control, outline the circumstances in neutral terms and then move on to focus on how well you performed in the job, the benefits you gained and what you can bring to the new role.
If you were fired, you may want to mention any extenuating circumstances, but make sure to avoid apportioning blame or sounding defensive. Instead, highlight the lessons you have learned from the experience and move the conversation forward to talk about your strengths and qualities as a candidate for this role.
Once employed, a company may invest tens of thousands of pounds in a candidate’s training and professional development. So, commitment to career is a highly valued competency as it allows recruiters to determine whether a candidate would be a good investment.
To show your commitment, you must convey clearly that you fully understand the role you are applying for while demonstrating that it fits with your long-term goals and aspirations.