More Interview Questions and Answers
What do you think are your main career options for the next five years?
Alternative and related questions:
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
How long do you plan to stay/would you stay in this job if we offer it to you?
How far do you feel you might rise in our organization?
The meaning behind the question:
This question is very closely related to my top 10 question, covered in Chapter 2, "Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?" but is sufficiently different for us to cover it separately here. The interviewer is specifically asking what you see your 'career options' as being. They want to know how long you feel you might stay in their organization, how this new job fits into your career plan and how you envisage you will progress in their organization.
The answer to this question is really quite simple. In most cases, you will simply want to demonstrate that you are committed to this new job for the five years ahead (whether that's true or not!) but that, naturally, you don't want to just stand still; you expect to be able to progress and move upwards in their organization – to their benefit as well as your own. To put it another way, you see them as your preferred career option for the whole five years ahead and aren't currently contemplating any other options. In reality, five years is a long time and you may well intend to consider other options before those five years are up – but telling the interviewer this isn't going to support your case for them to hire you.
I see myself remaining with your organization for the next five years. I feel that's my best career option at present. Naturally, I will be hoping to progress significantly over the course of those five years and, having proved myself, would expect to be entrusted with greater responsibility and a higher level of autonomy. I can see that there are plenty of opportunities for promotion and for ongoing professional development within your organization and I am keen to take advantage of them and to become a greater asset to your organization.
Word of warning:
In most cases, you should avoid being too specific and stating, for example, a particular job role you hope to be able to get in, say, three years' time. You are being recruited for a specific job and that must remain your current focus.
The Interview Question & Answer Book
More interview questions and answers
Talking about your current employment
- Can you tell me what you enjoy about your current job?
- What will you remember most about your last job?
- Is this the first time you have made an effort to move away from your current employers?
- How do you feel about the possibility of leaving your current job?
- How would you describe your current employer?
Talking about this vacancy
- Wouldn’t you be better suited to working in a larger/smaller organization?
- How do you feel this vacancy differs from your current role?
- What reservations do you have about your ability to undertake this job?
- Can you describe your ideal working environment to me?
- How do you feel we compare to our competitors?
- What would you say is our Unique Selling Point?
- What would be your analysis of the current trends in our industry/sector?
Understanding your career path, plans and ambitions
- What aspects of your career path would you like to have been different?
- What are your greatest regrets about the path your career has taken?
- What has been the greatest challenge you have faced in your career to date?
- What do you think are your main career options for the next five years?
- What exactly does the word ‘success’ mean to you?
Addressing problems in your career history
- Why did you only stay with this organization for such a short time?
- Why did you stay with this organization for such a long time?
Coping with stress and pressure
- Are you able to multitask?
- Can you juggle a number of different projects simultaneously?
- How do you handle rejection/disappointment/failure?
- How do you deal with interpersonal conflict?
- What does tact and diplomacy mean to you?
- What makes for a successful team?
Management and leadership
- Would you describe yourself as a good manager?
- Do you really think you’re management material?
- What is your attitude to delegation?
- Can you give me an example of a time when you had to lead from the front?
- Have you ever had to fire or lay off a member of your staff?
- How would you describe your ideal team member?
Personal and professional development
- In what ways do you intend to improve upon your performance?
- How has your current job prepared you for greater challenges/responsibility?
Interests and activities
- What book are you reading at the moment?
- What newspaper do you take?
- Are you interested in current affairs?
The amateur psychiatrist
- If you won the lottery what would you do?
- Can you tell me about the best teacher you ever had?
- If you could meet any historical figure, who would it be and why?
- What are you most afraid of?
Money, money, money
- Why aren’t you earning more?
- How much do you think you are really worth?
- How much does money matter to you?
- Would you still be interested in this job if you current employer offered a pay rise?
- Have you ever had to take a pay cut to keep your job?
- Have you ever asked for but been refused a pay rise?
Author: James Innes