What are my long term goals as a designer?

A company has asked of me via email, “how would an internship at [company] contribute to your long term goals?” and I’m not sure how to respond. I mean, I want to become very skilled and experienced, toward the end of improving people’s lives in a position where I could make a difference. Whether that’s owning my own firm in 30 years, being a senior designer/creative director, or teaching. But isn’t every young designer kind of on that path?

I guess I don’t know how to answer the question as it relates to me. Should I have a clearer focus than I do? How would you answer this question?

Bonus: How do you (you, specifically) answer the question “What is your biggest weakness” ?

Well that’s a fairly open ended question. I’d list some immediate goals stating what you plan to get out of the internship, and where you’d like to be in 5 to 10 years (as of right now).

The biggest weakness is a tough one. I always appreciate hearing honesty. Usually you’re asked this in an interview, and I’ve answered that I tend to get too involved in projects, but that I’m learning to step back when I see myself getting in deep. Basically be truthful with a weakness, and list how you are working to get over it. (don’t pick something bad like you abuse heroin or something though…)

Interesting question. Personally I’d be a little more specific and only allude to the long term. Something like how you appreciate the company’s focus on creating a cohesive product design and how you’d like to learn the skills of XXX that they demonstrate so well in their designs. Use the question as a way to show some humbleness on your part (you want to learn, essentially the point of an internship), as well as complimenting the company and showing you know what kind of things they specialize in and actually do.

For the bonus question, as NURB suggested, the best way to answer is to take what is really a strength of yours (being too much into details, obsessive compulsive, strong personality etc.) and word it like a weakness. You should just be careful not to come off to full of yourself (my only weakness is that I’m so awesome), nor give something that is really weak (I can’t sketch at all am don’t play well with others).

best of luck,


Hard to answer without knowing what type of design you’re in.

Even within footwear theres so much variation as to what type of shoes you’re good at, and where you’re going with your career… from super technical sport companies to high end womens fashion - there are vastly different roles and even lifestyles really.

Bottom line is you should have a really clear idea of what you’re good at and what you want to do / where you’re going.

My degree is in industrial design. I have not committed to a specific product category, and recently, I have become more interested in research consultancies. The company is a design research firm.

I think you already got some clever responses, so I’ll waste my post
on the not so clever one:

What are your long term goals as a Designer?

define what long term means in the given context (; )

In any case, have good summer!

yours mo-i

There are no real right or wrong answers to these questions because the evaluation is not based on the content of the answer but the tone of the answer. These are passion finding and personality questions. It is hard to gauge those two things in an interview, so good interviewers (or someone impersonating a good interviewer…) will ask intentionally vague questions to gauge your reaction.

So it is not about the answer so much as the response.

Wrong responses include blank stares (not into it enough to have any answer?) , 30 minute soap box monologues (too into themselves to read that the audience is now asleep)

Right answers are sincere, simple, and conversational.

For example “Honestly one of my weaknesses can be patience, once we as a team have a great design solution I want to go as far down the road as possible, but I understand we have to respect the process as well and that makes the end product better. Is anyone else on your team like that?”

“What are my long term goals? Well, for the next 3-5 years I really want to focus on being a strong collaborator as well as a huge individual contributor to a team that is dedicated to doing great design at all costs. I want to be somewhere I can see myself grow and give back to, somewhere I can be long term. Do you look for people that have an interest in staying on for a longer term period?”

And if I hear any of those answers verbatim with a sarcastic smirk, bonus points.

Old post from 2009! I saw in the admin panel that this little thread gets read a lot still!

People still asking getting asked questions like this?

I’d still ask the first question. My objective is to know whether the answer is what they can do for the company or what can the company do for them.

I’d never ask the second question because I find the stupidity of it offensive. The only proper answer is “Answering stupid questions like this.” or, “Working too hard.” said in the most ironic tone. Unfortunately both replies cannot be said on a job interview.

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“My design skills will make you the next Apple”. =)

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