Written by Ashley Broadley on Thursday, 6th October 2011 at 13:45
As a person in somewhat of a minor position of power within the company that I work for, one of the responsibilities I have been charged with is recruiting new developers. I recently hired a junior who, when meeting the CEO for the first time after a week of employment, was asked the question "Where do you want to be in 5 years?". I hate that question. I really don't think you can get a good idea of a candidates future prospects from any answer they could give.
I remember being interviewed for my first position in my chosen industry, and I still remember the answer that I gave when asked the worlds most horrible interview question. My answer went a little something like this:
"I guess in 5 years time I'd like to be in a position where I'm leading a team and able to help lesser experienced developers become great."
It's not an in-depth answer, but I thought it addressed my (then) current state of mind really well.
I answered that question before I had ever been employed in my chosen industry. I'd been using PHP for 2, maybe 3, years in a non-commercial environment. I had no experience of OOP, or any design patterns. No server management experience, and I definitely had zero experience of managing people.
When my junior was asked that question I started to think about the answer I gave and where I've ended up almost 5 years after being asked that very question. It seems that I had very clear aspirations when I first started out. I hope I still do.
I think if I'm ever asked that question again, my answer will be "In 5 years time I want to be sat off the coast of Monaco on my £100million yacht drinking expensive Champagne from a Diamond encrusted Champagne Flute while surrounded by a hundred attractive, scantily clad women."
What do you think of the question "Where do you want to be in 5 years?"?