Miercuri, Martie 7, 2007, 11:51 PM 

Where do you see yourself in five years?
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In the early spring of 2003, Lavinia, a lady from the HR department of a well-known multinational Company asked me for the first time this question. After four years, I still have not the slightest idea of what I’ll do in the spring of 2008.

Perhaps this is the most asked question in job interviews around the world, especially in the American corporations. Maybe one of the fewest things that haven’t changed over the years in the recruiting practices. And also, maybe the only one that is used globally, with no local influences.

Here is the classical idea. The famous corporation has a junior position that anyone would want. Nobody would leave such a Company for anything in the world. It is a great honor for everyone to work there. There is no competition and many pretenders for that job. Now here comes the recruit, whose ideal is to work for the famous corporation.

The recruiter is brilliant, who pretends to be interested in the applicant’s career plans: Where do you see yourself in five years?. And the applicant says, proudly, “My goal is to secure an entry level position at the Yellow Corporation and become a manager within five years”. Great! So this was the differentiating factor, and he gets the job. And he lives there happily every after, being a manager and later a top manager.

Well, it is not a story, this is what Mr. Scott Howe, from Dahlstron & Company tries to suggest in his article. In the same article, he says Many people only have a vague idea of what kind of work they want to do or what their personal and professional goals might be. These people never do the critical thinking that is necessary to create a plan for their careers. More important, they don’t make a commitment to follow their dreams. No, really?

This is just one of the many articles with the same subliminal message: how pathetic employers or external recruiters think the people are. All equals, no difference. In their view, everybody is a robot. You go to high-school, grab as many courses as you can in order to be accepted to college and then you ruin your life trying to climb up as many stairs as you can on the scale of a particular job. Meanwhile, you permanently lick your boss, dig your opponents’ grave, and watch your butt from other potential opponents.

Of course, five is a key term for them, it is like the number three in the old fairy tales. It is like a contest, how many stairs you can jump, how many promotions you can get. It is like a key performance indicator (ya, the famous KPI) for an individual. It is often a long-term objective in the employees’ annual assessment in the case of some imbecile multinational Companies.

Five years..! Well, five years ago I was a student with no intention to work until my graduation. Now, the trend is to work as soon as possible even from the first two years of faculty in order to get more chances to get a job in a multinational. Four years ago, I got my first job. Well, I couldn’t have guessed from a million times my job now at that time. I didn’t even now that such a job exists. I grabbed every opportunity offered by the market, watching constantly the demand and the offer for each field. I changed frequently my position and field both intra and inter companies.

I grew faster than any other mate that made the mistake to remain faithful to his employer and/or job. It is well known that your earnings in a multinational will not grow with more than 20% from one year to another. I didn’t look back, I had no strings attached. Faithfulness did not seem to be one my strengths... but don’t tell this to the girl I’m dating I changed frequently my positions, tasks, field of activity, without thinking on my career over 5 years.

Anyway, answering to this question does not seem to be anymore a problem if you are smart enough. Try to type this question on google. Do you see now how many tips and tricks are available? There are recruiting agencies posting on-line all kind of lies meant to confuse the sound obsolete beliefs of the employers. So how relevant should this question be?

Anyway, I have the strong intention to pay Lavinia a visit next year. I want to see if she could see my last five years. Maybe I’ll pretend to apply for a manager position like she wanted me to say four years ago. I am curios if she will recognize the ‘shy and the introverted guy’ that she labeled me at that time. By the way, do you think I’m shy?


  1. mihaela

    this time you should ask her what's her 5 year plan :))

    yep, this is one of the most stupid interview questions ever. closely followed by "why should we choose you for this job, over the other candidates?"

  2. unique2

    Absolutely, I wrote also a post called 'A better deal with another pimp' on this subject.

  3. pic pic

    malvinia rulz (if we speak 'bout the same girl).
    no longer in hr. moved to professional staff.
    my label was something like...i was on the edge of a nervous breakdown. hahaha. eu!

  4. unique2

    We definitely speak about the same girl. So she acts as a consultant now. Let’s hope she will not advise her clients based on her own feelings :))
    Anyway, PIC, please make sure you have her contacts. I really want to put into practice the last paragraph from my post.

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