Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
This is probably the hardest interview question to answer because, honestly, who really knows?! 5 years ago, did you think you’d be where you are today? Probably not! So, how do you answer this one?
You talk about how you set goals using the SMART method (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant & Timely), and then add…
“The only true way to answer that question is to look at my past. If you had asked me 5 years ago, where I would be today, I would’ve said…(*whatever you would’ve said). So, while I’d like to tell you that I’ll be a department head (*or whatever) in 5 years, I set that goal with the understanding I may be in a different place. Honestly, I usually end up doing better than the goals I set. I work hard to achieve any goal I set, but am flexible enough to adapt and perform course corrections, as necessary. I assure you that I will work hard for (*COMPANY NAME) and when the appropriate time comes for me to assume more responsibility, I will welcome that with open arms.”
You know about ATS scans, I’ve told you about AI interview sessions where a bot records your interview and analyzes micro-expressions. Did you know that in just over one month, you could literally be talking to a robot instead of a human at your interview? After your interview, a transcript with just your answers is sent to the hiring manager.
- No fear of bias.
- Questions are asked exactly the same way for every interview and in the same tone providing for more equal opportunity amongst candidates.
- Communication isn’t JUST the spoken word.
- The written word can be misread.
Would you like sitting in front of a robot at your interview or do you think you’d prefer a human being?
I frequently tell people to remember one very important tenet…not only is the company to which you applied interviewing potential job candidates, you should be interviewing the company, too.
Many job seekers get into the rut of being desperate to find a job. On the other hand, companies are desperate to find decent employees. There are several key characteristics of a bad company. The one that stands out to me, and that seems to be making a come back, is companies with a progressive discipline policy. Meaning if you do a thing, your first occurrence is a written warning, your second occurrence is a conversation with HR, etc. No self respecting adult who has any type of ambition needs to be treated like a kindergartner. The really bad thing about these progressive discipline policies is that if you do end up with a warning for a thing, that warning follows you for 6 months up to a year and can impact whether you get raises or even whether you qualify for advancement.
Unfortunately, I have personal experience with a company who had a progressive discipline policy. I was employed at this nameless company (who supports one of the largest technology companies) for 6 months. I came down with bronchitis. Called off the job for 2 days for that illness after prefect attendance for 6 months. I received a warning that was going to stay in my file for a year.
What am I saying to you? Just say NO to companies with progressive discipline policies.
I’ve previously discussed the resume “black hole” and how companies rely heavily on the use of ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) to weed out applicants. Basically speaking, an applicant completes an application online. A computer analyzes that application for predefined keywords and “hopefully” passes the applicant onto the HR team for that company. Then, tradition takes over wherein an actual person reviews the application/resume to decide whether to pass that applicant onto the hiring manager.
We are now facing a bold, new, controversial world…the world of artificial intelligence. Many companies are using AI robots / chat bots to actually perform an initial interview. These programs have a set of algorithms and predefined characteristics it analyzes. Using everything from word strings to facial mapping to micro-expressions to “score” a candidate’s potential for success.
Another company is developing software that will basically crawl a candidate’s social media to determine whether that candidate has the correct personality for the job. So, now we move into a new environment where what you post really can affect your chances at employment. In the past, the main concern was whether the hiring manager would go onto your profile and physically see something they don’t like. Now, a computer will do the job for them. Is it legal? YES! Your social media profile is public information. The big question is centered around ethics. Even though the ethics question has not been answered, there are at least a couple of Fortune 500 companies using this technology, though no names have been mentioned, yet.
This video from the Wall Street Journal goes into more detail. It is a 10 minute video and very much worth your time to view.
A friend of mine is having a telephone interview with a local hospital for a tech support/IT position right now. I literally just heard him have to answer, “What is your greatest weakness?” So, companies are still using these lazy and outdated interview questions. Are you prepared with your answers? I can help, send me a message.
Many companies are choosing to do telephone interviews as their first line of defense in weeding out job candidates. How do you ace a phone interview? We’re taught that we have to dress the part, do some research, possibly even try to find the interviewer on LinkedIn and read up on that person before an in-person interview. Let me tell you, it is exactly the same for a telephone interview.
When you dress professionally, you not only project a great outer appearance but you also feel more confident and will project that confidence through your speech. You should also find a position to sit that will force you to sit up straight, or stand. Lying on the couch or reclined in the recliner will cause you to be more relaxed and your speech patterns may make you come across as lackadaisical.
You should be prepared to answer the same questions over the phone that you would in a face-to-face interview. What does this mean? Research the company! What do they do? Who do they do it for? Why do they do what they do? How do they do what they do? Also, go on salary.com or a similar site to research how much people in the position for which you’re interviewing make.
This article has other tips that I think are great for being prepared for the telephone interview.
Click here to read the article.
I support the idea that a resume needs to have a fairly specific format: name and contact info at the top, a title followed by a professional/career summary next and then a list of skills. The list of skills often confuses people. Which skills do you include, which are not important? So, let’s talk about skills.
There are two types of skills and you need to have some of each. There are “Hard” skills and “Soft” skills. “Hard” skills reflect what you know from experience and education. “Soft” skills are traits that you have which are less tangible and harder to quantify. Take a look at this chart and the article on this website to get a better idea of the difference between “Hard” and “Soft” skills. Which ones will you include on your resume?
They all ask the dreaded question, “What are your salary requirements?” The trap is set. How do you avoid tripping the trap? Be prepared!
The first step is to walk into that interview with some information. You can do a free survey on Payscale to learn what salary range a position with your talents should earn. Hired.com can also educate you as to the market rate for your skills.
DO NOT base your salary requirements simply off of how much you made at your last job. You may have been underpaid. It is best to be able to say, “After quite a bit of research, the market value for my skill set is $___.” This takes confidence! You have to know what you can do and be assured that you can offer the right skills to the new position. In addition to being confident in your abilities, you MUST relay the fact that you can accomplish them successfully to the hiring manager.
Also, don’t forget that money isn’t the only factor to consider in negotiating wages/salary. Benefits and commissions (for sales positions) also factor into the equation. You can also negotiate things like a company paid cell phone, paid time off, or even some sort of flex schedule that will allow you to work some of the time from home. All of this depends on the job to which you’re applying. Is it a job you can do from home? You definitely don’t want to offer up negotiations that aren’t aligned with the job description.
While all of this research is a lot of work on your part, it is worth it in the end if you end up with a job that you’re happy doing.
Many recruiters will ask you, “What is your current salary package?” Frankly, there are schools of thought out there for answering this question and for avoiding this question. The thing you need to remember is that your current finances are none of an interviewer’s business. They’ll tell you they need to know so they can judge if you’re a good fit for the position. You may also hear that they want to make sure you were compensated fairly in your previous job. What they really want to know is how little they can offer you if they decide to extend a job offer. The best thing to do is go into an interview having done some research into the position for which you’re applying. There are so many ways to find out what type of salary a particular job brings. Armed with this information, you can properly negotiate with the interviewer. When you’re asked to reveal your current salary, fire back with a question about the salary range their company starts new employees in the position. After you get that answer, continue by saying, “Based on my research, a position like this brings $XXX. With my skills, experience, and education I am well worth that.” Good luck to you and remember, the interviewer is just a person. No one person is more important than another. Bring your voice and don’t be afraid to use it.