The “Future” Interview Question

Sometimes the toughest interview questions aren’t about your weaknesses, struggles, or past. Often, they are about your future. While some of us may have a clear cut idea of where we want to be in five years, or our ideal career, for most of us it’s not so easy.

There are many different ways to be asked about your future goals, and nearly all are designed to test your interest in the job and loyalty to the career. If you interview for a job as a human resources manager and in five years say you want to be an economic consultant, you may very well be telling the truth but that answer is unlikely to show a potential employer you’re serious about the job and line of work. Ambition is great in your job search, but it needs to be tempered at times.

The future question can be especially tough in video interviews or one-way video interviews. Video interviews give you less of a chance to play off your surroundings, and may also magnify any hesitation in your answer. If you’re up in the air about your future–not exactly unlikely for those mid-job search–any wavering in your answer will most certainly come across as even less confident in a video interview framed to focus just on you. For video interviews, make sure to have an answer for the future question prepared beforehand. While it may benefit you to be more flexible during an in-person interview, as suggested video interviews put a microscope on body language and it’ll be easier for a potential employer to detect hesitation on your part.

Learning how to answer the future question in in-person and video interviews is crucial to your job search success–I don’t think I’ve been on an interview where I haven’t been asked to speculate on my future. Honesty is still important, and if you pull your answer out of left field for the job, it may be time to re-evaluate your job search.

Have you ever been asked the future question in an interview? Did you have a response prepared or did you have to scramble? Tell us about it below!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by gwire