“Where do you want to be in five years?”
What a boring question! And yet this question is asked time and again to determine the career goals of the candidate, and to find out if the candidate intends to stay for awhile. So even though this question is a certified eye roller, it can be vitally important. It can actually make or break an interview.
Here are the two most typical responses:
Candidate: “In five years I want to be in management.”
Manager: “That’s a great goal to shoot for.” (Yawn. Can’t this candidate come up with something original?)
Candidate: “In five years I want to be sitting in your chair.”
And on and on we go.
There is a way to answer that question without being boring, predictable, and threatening.
“You know Matt, no one can predict where we will be in five years. Rather than give you the five-year plan, I would like to focus on taking each year step by step. I intend to be your top rep by the end of year one, and I intend to improve on my performance each and every year after that. When you feel that I am deserving of a management role whether it be three years,
Note that this answer demonstrates that the candidate is not EXPECTING a management role by year five, but intends to EARN that role. It is a refreshing approach.
Now if a person is not looking for a management role, all he / she has to say is the following:
“Megan, let me answer this by saying that I am not interested in management. I do not want your job, nor do I want to be the next VP of Sales. By year five, I want to
Not everyone is cut out to be a manager, nor wants to be a manager. But this approach is fresh, is realistic, and it is honest. It is better than a canned response hoping to tell the manager what he / she wants to hear.
Whatever your response is to that question- be authentic, be original, be animated, and be confident!
We will be exploring other answers to tough questions over the next few weeks. We would love to hear your response!