“Where Do You See Yourself In the Five Years?”

If you can remember the last time you had an employer, do you remember this question: “Where do you see yourself in the next 5 or 10 years?”  Now, depending on what age group you fall in, this question was either fairly easy to answer or fairly challenging, especially right on the spot.  I remember focusing more on the company I was interviewing with and not my further prospects.  Not that I didn’t have any, but I didn’t want to tell my potential employer what my ideas were after I left this job.  Or the fact that I was planning to leave this job one day.  After all, employers (at least I thought), liked candidates who saw themselves working and growing through the ranks of their company for a long time.  I thought they wanted someone who was going to give them their all, help hold up the company and of course, help turn a profit.  Not too long ago, I found out what employers really want is someone with ambition and goals.  Even if that someone plans to work for themselves one day.

I remember the job-hunt scene.  And I remember being asked where I saw myself in the next 5 to 10 years.  I dreaded the question.  Because in the back of my mind, I had made my decision to start a business and soon.  But I didn’t want to the hiring personnel to know that.  They were looking for someone to fill in a much needed role, not someone who was working to raise capital for a personal venture.  So, I lied.  I would say some crap about “growing with the company and developing the skills I already have and hopefully picking up news ones along the way” and blah blah blah.  And at the time, getting the first interview was fine.  Getting a call back, not so much.  Why?  Well, looking back now, I think the felt the dishonesty in my answer.  And it was a dishonest answer.  I had plans to grow with the company.  And they probably sensed that.  So, I changed my tactic.  I started telling the truth.  I was already not getting called back, how much more harm could the truth do?

Sharing your business may just get you the job

Sharing your business may just get you the job

But in fact, the truth wasn’t harmful at all.  It was rather enlightening for my prospect employers.   Something about the honesty of wanting to go into business for myself and understanding the undertaking it would be provided them an insight of where my head was at.  People who want to go into business for themselves, have a great deal of ambition.  Whether that business is small or large, their work is cut out for them.  Hearing that as an answer lets employers know that those particular candidates are willing to work hard to get to where they want to be.  And that they probably have always been hard workers.  Those people are always looking for efficiencies; ways to get the done with the least amount of hassle, time and money.  And would you believe it, I had several job offerings at one time?  I didn’t need several jobs, but the fact that I was honest about what my professional plans worked for me.    Now we can argued that perhaps my skill set and previous experience could have been factored in.  But let’s keep in mind, companies don’t hire the résumé, they hire to person.

I choose to work for someone while starting my business, because I didn’t want to take out a business loan or give up a piece of ownership.  No debt, no equity.  That was my choice.  If you too chose to work for someone for a bit before or even while you’ve got your business going on, be honest with the employer.  Most likely, your business plans won’t be a bad thing.

{photo credit: xedos4 via freedigitalphotos.net}


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