It has that sort of dower sound to the question. Very self-important.
When I hear that question either to potential ways to go. I’m not sure what’s best. So, what I’m going to do for you in this regard is give you 2 approaches to work with. The 1st one is kind of vacillating and I think it’s best used by less experienced people.
That answer goes something along the lines of, “In my brief career, what I’ve found is that, when I do well, the opportunity presents itself to me. I don’t presume to know at this stage what the best road for me is to get to my future. As a matter of fact, what I have often found is my managers are great mentors and they give me advice and coaching. So, I want you to know that I’m prepared to make a long-term commitment to this organization. I’m going to ask for some advice and coaching along the way about potential opportunities. Because I assume, you don’t want me in the same job for the next 20 years of my life, right?”
They’re going to respond by saying, “Sure! I want to help you get the next job over the next 20 years of your life!” What you’ve done is say that you want to be there for a long time, you’re willing to take advice and coaching and you are ducking answering the question.
Here is the second approach and I think this one is more suitable for someone later on in their career. Frankly, mid-career and later on in their career people, if they don’t know where they want to go, haven’t been paying attention. What you can start by saying something is similar to the last answer.
“I want to make a long-term commitment to an organization. What I’m looking for is a firm that will periodically review my work and point me in certain directions that demonstrate that I’m seen well and that I have an upside within the organization. I have some ideas of things that I might like to do professionally. I might like to do such and such and such and such.” Talk about 2 or 3 different possibilities here. You don’t want to be so rigid as to say that there’s only one path for yourself. However, if you talk about multiple potential opportunities, and “along the way, I’d like some input from you about opportunities that you think would be suited for me because, frankly, I don’t presume to know everything. You’ve been around the block more times than I and I think you might be a great mentor for me.”
What that does is it defines your potential boss as an ally to your career development. It doesn’t mean that you have to take every piece of advice that you receive, quite obviously. It allows them to think of you as part of the team and not being so pushy but at the same time, wanting to get guidance from them.
Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2020
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1800 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.
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