silly job interview questions, part one

11 08 2007

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I got asked this question during a phone screening this week. It was difficult to me to answer this, for a couple of reasons:

  1. According the the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans change jobs every 3.5 years. Those that are under 30 change jobs every 1.1 years. So, according to the statistics, I’ll be working for a completely different company. Really, I should be asking the interviewer what types of benefits that the company offers to keep their employees longer than the industry average. Keep me from being a statistic.
  2. This is a cop-out question. It indicates that the interviewer couldn’t think of anything interesting to ask me that was concretely related to the job, and resorted to asking the old standby instead.
  3. The future is inherently unknowable. The world will have changed in five years, new technologies will emerge, new problems will come up. So you’re asking me to make a wild prediction when I don’t have all the facts – and only have 30 seconds to think about it? Did you come up with your company’s business model the same way?

Of course, I was too polite to say any of these things to my interviewer, and said something vapid and meaningless instead.

Something about wanting to “learn something new every day”, and to have “bettered myself as a professional”.

Ask a dumb question, get a dumb answer.

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