Interview Questions: In Five Years....I Pray I Still Haven't Seen You In Five Years.
The title track for this evening's insert should send shivers down most of your spines. If you have ever experienced the sheer delight of a job interview (AKA interrogation) then you have most assuredly sweat it out when asked THIS gem of a question:
"So, where do you see yourself in five years?"
Oh! Five years?! Hang tight while I hop into my DeLorean and Back to the Future my ass five years out from today! Are you kidding me with that soggy sandwich of a question or are you deadpan serious? Make no mistake children, they're almost always serious. What I would like to do is turn the table on these puppets and ask them "Why?". What are you expecting to hear? What response could we provide that would satisfy your deepest yearnings for a qualified candidate? Perhaps instead of asking them why they want to know where I see myself in five years I should tell them I envision myself taking over the company and making my first order of business terminating their employment.
All of those cookie-cutter questions are all the same.
"If you were presented with a difficult situation with a client or a fellow employee, how would you respond?" With action. Specifically murder.
"Would you describe yourself as a 'go-getter'? If by that question you mean am I going to GO GET a chainsaw and proceed to work my way through each of your extremities like a hot knife through butter, then yes; I am a 'go-getter'.
"This is a large company yet we keep growing, and growing fast. Do you believe you could handle large workloads and work extra hours if the need arose?" Well, let me see. I've never dug anyone's grave before but I'd imagine that the best time to do so would be in the darkest hours of the night with a pale moon's light shimmering off of my shovel as a labored away. I'd consider those "after hours" so then yes. Sign me up.
By now you'd think that companies around the globe would have caught on. Your line of questioning is outdated and far too predictable. Why would our responses be any different? We know exactly what you want to hear. I hate using sports analogies but if your interview process were a baseball game and you were the pitcher I'd be knocking dingers out of the park at an alarming rate. You are not tossing me softballs; You're tossing me beach balls. Fire a curve ball or a change-up in there every so often. If you want to REALLY know what's happening inside of that ambitious little brain sitting across from you then you'd get down and dirty. You'd be more precise than a heart-throbbing game of Operation. Ask me what my favorite game is on The Price Is Right. Ask me how many of my family dog's craps I threw over into the neighbor's pool. Better yet throw me into a live action role playing game (that's for you, dweebs). Take me to lunch and while we're ordering just completely flip out on our waitress claiming you asked for a Diet Coke and not an iced tea. See how I handle THAT situation.
A sizable portion of the problem is time. No one seems to have enough. You've got a stack of potential prospect's resumes to sift through and the only way to sweep them off of your desk is to hit them with rapid-fire succession. That logic makes no sense. You are tasked with hiring someone to work at your company! Don't you want the best and the brightest? Flipping patties at a fast food joint is one thing. Even a T-Rex with his stubby little arms would eventually figure out how to take my burger from the microwave and transport it to a stale bun. Having said that, if a chain restaurant is adamant about running its applicants through a rigorous gauntlet of questioning then I'd probably eat there everyday because those SOB's mean business.
Clean up your act you acquirers of talent. Ditch the future-predicting questions, for if you don't you could find yourself on a dirty corner someday holding up a sign that reads:
"If you would have asked me five years ago where I'd be today this spot would not have been my first answer."