Coffee with Robbie # 7 – How to Answer the two worst interview questions of all time

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I do not know what to have for breakfast this morning. I do not know what is going to happen to my life next week. How do you expect me to answer that question? Where do I see myself in five years? Welcome to episode 7 of coffee with Robbie. I am going to talk about “the two worst interview questions of all time” and how to answer them exactly.

1. Where do you see yourself in five years?

This is a decent question. The intention behind the question is “is this person motivated with their career?” “Have they thought about what they wat to be in five years?” and “do they want to grow their career?” If people cannot answer where they want to see themselves in five years. That means they have no thought it. That makes people uncomfortable because, I want to hire someone who is motivated. I want to hire someone who cares about his or her career path.

If you do not have a good answer for that. It seems like the person is not joining the company for the right reasons. They just want a job. I want someone that is going to be able to grow with us. I do not want someone that is going to be with us for a year and leave. How do you answer that question? This is the way I answered that question. For 99% of you should answer this question like this except you have some other, motivation or you have a better answer than I do. The way I answer this question is “great question, there are a few qualities in my career that I wat to see five years from now”.

I want to be challenged with the work that I do, that is how I grow my career and that is what keeps me interested. It is not necessarily, the type of work that I do; I understand that my type of work will change as I grow in my career. It is not as important as being able to grow in my career.

I want to be happy with my career. That is where I see myself in five years. I have had a happy career up to this point and I want to continue being a happy person and having a happy career. For me, that depends on if my career is growing and having a great set of colleagues working with me. That is where I see myself in five years. I do not know the exact title of work that I will have or the type of work that I will have. It is not as important as being challenged in my work and working with great people.

That will take any reservations that any person has about your career. I do not recommend answering the questions specifically. Example “I want to be senior manager in five years” that could cause a problem with office politics; the manager may feel it is unrealistic. The interviewer may feel that he does not want you to become a manager in five years. By answering specifically, you are ding yourself more harm than good. You can be stepping into some office politics landmines that you are not aware of. Focus on the fact that you want to grow, you want to work with great people. The type of work that you do does not matter as long as you grow.

2. What is your greatest weakness?

I hate this question alongside everyone else.

What I hate more is the way people answer the question. They turn their weakness into a positive. For example, I work too much; I think I am too passionate about my work. I am too detail oriented. Those are insincere answers. The interviewer’s will also sense that they are insincere answers.

The reason you answer that way is that you have no idea, how else to answer that question. I am going to tell you exactly how I answer that question. What I do is that I quickly rephrase from focusing on my weaknesses to my strength. It has been proven in many scientific. Studies show that a person should focus on their strength. If a company focuses on their strengths, then they will succeed in a career.

If they focus on their weakness, they do not succeed. It is always about improving and recognizing your strength. That is where the value comes, in recognizing your strengths.

If I am ever asked that question. I immediately rephrase it to focus on my strengths whole still answering the weaknesses pert. I will answer it like this; great question, for me I understand what my weaknesses are. However, I really focus on my strengths and I think that is where the value of my work come in, is focusing on my strength. My strengths are building relationships with executives, which form long term and bigger deals. My strength is growing a sales team and that is what I have done in the past. I have a great record of accomplishment with that. My strength is really nurturing other sales analyst to grow up to be better sales people. I love educating them. I love building great sales teams. That is what I am very good at.

To answer your question, let me tell you why you should not hire me. If you are looking for someone that is a transactional sales person. If you are looking for someone to just bring out sales deals and make calls every day. To process sales leads as a transactional service. That is not me. I focus on relationships. Building long-term relationships. Bringing bigger deals and building sales teams.

I can and I will make phone calls. That is not my specialty. Performing remedial services. All these things, I know I have to do the as part of my job and I understand that and I would do that.

However, if you are trying to decide why you should hire me or why you should not hire me. You should hire me based on my strengths, which are building relationships with executives and building great sales team. That is why people have hired me in the past. That is why you should hire me. If you are looking for something like a trajectory. That is not where I am. I have done that before. I can teach people how to use them, how to do these sale processes. That is not where I am in my career and that is the reason why you should not hire me.

That question would blow an interviewer away.

It relies on you to have the confidence to answer a question like that and for you to understand what the role is and what they are looking for. If they are looking for a sales leader to build great relationships and to implement new programs and to grow a sales team.

That is a great answer. I am not a sale person. That is just an example.

If you understand exactly what they are looking for. This answer will be perfect. Interviewers would be blown away by how you answered that question. Because, nobody answers that question with “here is why you should hire me and here is why you should not”. Nobody does that. If you have the confidence to do that. That is a better answer than ‘’I work too hard”. It is an insincere answer.

Give them a reason to focus on your strengths. Talk about your weaknesses.

However, do not try to turn your weakness into positives, they will see right through it. That is not the purpose of that question. These are the answers I have for the two worst questions of all time.

PS: Read the only resignation letter template you’ll ever need.