The One Question I Always Get: It's Not Where You Sit. It's Where You're Going.
During an interview, job candidates often ask me where the position reports within the company. This is important, as you certainly need to understand how the job fits into the organizational structure, what the short-term expectations are for the role, and whether the actual position matches the advertised one. (Thankfully, it's a rare occurrence when it doesn't, but it has happened.) However, the best-prepared candidates will ask an even deeper question that addresses their long-term development and growth opportunities - and it's a question that is nearly always looked upon favorably by a new employer. In addition to thinking about the opportunities of the new role, it's important to also give some thought to year two, year five, and beyond. Candidates can learn a lot about the new organization by asking where a top performer heads next. Is it a role within the same department or management chain? Is it an opportunity to move into another area of finance, operations, marketing, or IT? Is there a path established by previous employees who performed well? This line of questioning can also shed light on the commitment of the organization to develop people in key roles. As a candidate, it's important to demonstrate you're interested in today's job and not merely what's down the road, but it's also critical to consider how the role will lead to other new and exciting opportunities. Asking, "Where am I going?" will help you achieve long-term satisfaction and help increase your value to the new team.
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