Being a part of an interview can be a daunting task. For some people it’s a painful experience, for others it’s a thrill. I remember being in interviews that I didn’t want to end, and in others where I felt like banging my head against the desk. Assuming the interview is going well, there’s this one question that I always like to bring up.
If I’m being interviewed I like to ask:
If I do everything right by you, and I am a top performer, where can I be in two years’ time?
I need to know what the strategic plan is for the company. I want to know what the growth opportunities are. Depending on the passion and the clarity of the response I can also draw other conclusions or come up with follow up questions.
The reverse is also true. When I conduct interviews (and I’ve done hundreds in my career so far) I like to ask:
If we do everything right by you, and we support your growth, where do you see yourself in two years’ time?
I have heard some amazing answers, ranging from: “I’ve left the country“, “I’m running my own company“, “I’m the best mobile developer in New Zealand“, all the way to “I have taken your job“.
If you decide to start asking this question in your interviews (whichever side of the table you’ll find yourself), I encourage you to follow up during your first and second performance reviews…
So why don’t you take a moment and ask yourself: if you are honest with yourself, where do you want to be in two years’ time? If you’re feeling brave, tweet me your response.
p.s. this is a good opportunity for me to recommend this book: The Manager’s Book of Questions by John Kador. It’s a fairly old book, but because it doesn’t focus on one particular technology, it asks various categories of questions (from icebreakers to competency), and it doesn’t seek provide the answers, I still find it very relevant.