The classics never go out of style. It’s true with Chanel, and it’s true with interview questions. So today, we’re working on a couple tricky interview questions that still seem to make a regular appearance in interviews.
Where do you plan to be in five years?
Personally, I always struggled with this interview question. Reason being, I felt like it tried to corner me, forcing me to lay out a plan of what exactly I planned to do over the next five years. I always have a plan, so that wasn’t the issue. Rather, I never know what might come up and didn’t want to misrepresent myself to an interviewer. If it turned out that my plans change in the future, doesn’t that mean that I lied? Those are the thoughts that always went through my mind.
But here’s the good news!
You really don’t have to look at this so literally. All in all, interviewers are trying to figure out a couple things.
First, have you thought about where you’d like to be? Thinking about the future doesn’t mean it’s etched in stone. It’s really more about where you think you might like to go in terms of career goals. Sometimes, you can have a couple possible paths; it’s especially common when you’re just getting started after graduation. It’s really only when you have no thoughts and/or haven’t given this consideration that an interviewer may have concern.
So that’s the first thing. The other insight this gives, oddly enough, is where you might like to be in five years. Crazy, right? But seriously, it gives the interviewer a rough idea as to whether or not this organization could potentially give you what you need in order to meet your longer-term goals.
Why should I hire you?
If you’re not ready for this one, it can really catch you off guard. The answer to this interview question need not be long at all but does need to give something concrete and persuasive. For anyone familiar with how to address “tell me about yourself,” this question has a similar approach. If you’re not familiar, read this article.
In “Tell me about yourself,” you’re giving an overall professional elevator speech about yourself. This question is also an elevator speech, but it’s more specific to the job itself. Before interviewing, you hopefully did some homework—researched the company, thoroughly read the job advertisement, etc.
This is where you draw your answer from. Think about the key skills and experience needed, based on the job advertisement. What do you have that speaks to these needs? Look for and think about the soft skills this job requires. Highlight what you bring to the table. For more on soft skills, see this article. And last, maybe your research on the company turned up some information on company culture that really spoke to you.
These are all the things to include in your sales pitch of about 30-60 seconds. And that’s it! This question is actually quite simple. And with a little preparation, you’ll knock it out of the park.
Written by: Adam Lafield, Recruiter & Marketing Specialist