This question is likely to come up if you are applying for a graduate, internship or vacation program. It’s best not to get caught out unprepared for this question, as it requires some thinking and reflection.
Firstly, choose a goal that you have achieved or are working towards. Your goal could be from any area of your life, be it personal or work related, but try to choose one from the recent past. Having a goal that you have set and reached shows the interviewer that you have determination, drive and can finish what you set out to do.
Tell the interviewer how you have worked towards your goal, and what you did to ensure you reached it. Keep this section brief, as they are more interested in finding out what you have learnt from the process and how you will use this in your career. A great way of approaching this part of the question is by recognising the skills and strengths that you drew upon to reach your goal. There is a good chance that these qualities will match the values and qualities that the company is looking for.
Finally, talk about what you have learnt from this process and how you have applied these lessons in your life. This will show the interviewer that you have reflected and drawn from your experience.
For example, you could say, ‘This year, I set out to achieve [X goal]. While I worked on it, I found that I needed to concentrate on my time management skills in order to finish within the time limit I had set. I also learnt that by writing down and prioritising each step I needed to take, I was able to better visualise the journey, which helped me manage my time more effectively. As a result, I was able to complete my goal, while refining my time management skills in the process.’
You also need to address how you will apply the lessons you have learnt to the work you will do if you are hired. Talk about how achieving your goal has been a journey of self-discovery and made you more aware of your strengths and weaknesses, giving you a better understanding of how to approach your work assignments.