Here's Why 'Where Do You See Yourself In 5 Years?' Is A Terrible Interview Question

Fortune tellerMiriam Doerr / Shutterstock‘Remember, just because she’s not a fortuneteller, doesn’t mean she won’t be a great employee!’

There are a handful of questions you’re almost guaranteed to be asked in your next job interview. And some of them are much less effective than others.

“After consulting to more than 200 companies and interviewing more than 11,000 people, I’ve seen many effective and poor interviewing techniques,” writes Andy LaCivita, author of “Interview Intervention: Communication That Gets You Hired” and CEO of Milewalk, an executive recruiting firm, in a recent LinkedIn post.

Ineffective questioning, for example, “leads the job candidate to provide poor-quality data — as it relates to the employer’s ability to make a sound hiring decision,” he explains.

One common question that’s particularly ineffective, LaCivita says, is: “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

“I honestly wish someone could dis-invent this question or somehow permanently remove it from every interviewer’s repertoire of questions,” he says. “I understand some job interviewers want to gain insight into the candidate’s ambitions and desires for the future, but most people can’t see past tomorrow, let alone five years from now.”

Furthermore, he explains, the job market today changes so quickly — so new opportunities are created on a daily basis and career paths can change in an instant.

“If someone would have told me in 2003 that I’d be opening a recruiting firm the following year, I would have bet my entire bank account against it,” he says. But just because someone is “not a fortuneteller, doesn’t mean [they] won’t be a great employee.”

LaCivita says an alternative (and more effective) version of this question is: “If you were still working here three years from now, what do you think your most significant contribution would be?”

Asking this will help you determine what is most important to the candidate and figure out whether they have a realistic view of what they can accomplish. It will tell you whether this person is a creative thinker, if they have practical work experience that can help them formulate and execute ideas, and whether the candidate is able to set and achieve goals, LaCivita says.

Click here to read the full LinkedIn post.

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