Who doesn’t love to hate this question? I have heard from two clients recently that they have been asked this question very recently. Both are in different parts of the country and in different industries. If you haven’t prepared for it, you should. Here are some ideas to help.
This question is not about you predicting the future. It is about you doing some research about the company and understanding enough about your career and the industry to give a reasonable answer that makes sense in the environment you are trying to enter.
The Goal: Make a reasonable case for your career path with your new company.
Here are three things that you must know.
First, what does advancement look like for people in your profession? If you are an entry-level staff accountant, where have other people been after five years? If you are a new registered nurse with a bachelor’s degree, where have other people with the same education and experience been in that time?
Second, what is the structure and what are the titles within the targeted company? Many organizations have particular job titles. It will benefit you if you can weave these titles into your answer. It will have you speaking the company language and seeming like you belong.
Finally, discover what the company is working on and write yourself into the story. If the company has been in the news because it is launching a new long-term initiative, describe how you can contribute to the success of that program over the coming years. Paint a picture that links your success to that of the company in a tangible way.
Nobody expects you to nail your forecast. They do expect you to have clear thoughts about what you want to accomplish in the context of your (hopefully) new employer’s world.
Be sure to check out the “Questions” series:
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