July 13, 2018 at 8:57 pm #2257JeffAltmanCoachKeymaster
Today, I want to talk with you about 1 of those tough interview questions that shows up pretty regularly.
“So, where you see yourself 5 years from now?” It has that sort of dower sound to the question. Very self-important.
When I hear that question either to potential ways to go. I’m not sure what’s best. So, what I’m going to do for you in this regard is give you 2 approaches to work with. The 1st one is kind of vacillating and I think it’s best used by less experienced people.
That answer goes something along the lines of, “In my brief career, what I’ve found is that, when I do well, opportunity presents itself to me. I don’t presume to know at this stage what the best road for me is to get to my future. As a matter of fact, what I have often found is my managers are great mentors and they give me advice and coaching. So, I want you to know that I’m prepared to make a long-term commitment to this organization. I’m going to ask for some advice and coaching along the way about potential opportunities. Because, I assume, you don’t want me in the same job for the next 20 years of my life, right?”
They’re basically going to respond by saying, “Sure! I want to help you get the next job over the next 20 years of your life!” What you’ve basically done is say that you want to be there for a long period of time, you’re willing to take advice and coaching and you are basically ducking answering the question.
Here’s the 2nd approach and I think this one is more suitable for someone later on in their career. Frankly, mid-career and later on in their career people, if they don’t know where they want to go, haven’t been paying attention. What you can start off by saying something is similar to the last answer.
“I want to make a long-term commitment to an organization. What I’m looking for is a firm that will periodically review my work and point me in certain directions that demonstrate that I’m seen well and that I have an upside within the organization. I have some ideas of things that I might like to do professionally. I might like to do such and such and such and such.” Talk about 2 or 3 different possibilities here. You don’t want to be so rigid as to say that there’s only one path for yourself. However, if you talk about multiple potential opportunities, and “along the way, I’d like some input from you about opportunities that you think would be suited for me because, frankly, I don’t presume to know everything. You’ve been around the block more times than I and I think you might be a great mentor for me.”
What that does is it defines your potential boss as an ally to your career development. It doesn’t mean that you have to take every piece of advice that you receive, quite obviously. It allows them to think of you as part of the team and not being so pushy but at the same time, wanting to get guidance from them.
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