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What should I do if I get stuck in a Career Plan interview?

01 What exactly is HR asking about a “Career Plan”?

In almost every third or final onsite interview, the question is: What is your career plan 3 years down the road? Or a similar Career Plan question.

In recent years, with the rise of the Internet industry in China and the rapid development of Fintech in foreign countries, there are opportunities, challenges, and uncertainties, which lead to many practitioners changing jobs more frequently than changing partners. How do you plan for it?

There are many factors influencing success, including various external factors, such as:

  • Family background
  • Corporate opportunities
  • Location of the company
  • Company market share
  • Company development stage

However, some of the internal factors that influence your career success are relatively stable and fundamentally unchanged, such as:

  • Does your personality match the position?•
  • How your interests, values, and motivations match the position
  • Do you work hard enough to get the job done?

Only when these conditions are matched with the company and the position, in order to display the advantages more effectively.

Back to the “career planning” question, HR has 3 core concerns:

  1. Self-perception. Do you know yourself? Do you know enough to be reliable?
  2. Motivation and values. Do you accept the fact that we may not be able to give you a fair shot at career advancement?
  3. Organizational commitment. How many years can you stay with us?
    So, when answering career planning questions, don’t show how great you are. Instead, show that you are reliable, stable, and calm.

02 How to answer my “5-year career plan”?

To be honest. The HRs do not care what your real career plan is. They’re more concerned about whether you’ll be able to stay with the company for the next 3-5 years.

So, if you want to talk about your plans, it’s advisable not to describe anything too external, such as the position, salary, management range, etc. Because you don’t know what to expect from HR.
As HR, they dare not promise you what level you will reach in a few years. They prefer to see you with a down-to-earth heart. So, a good answer will show you have both career ambition (achievement motivation) and peace of mind (they don’t have to worry about quitting on impulse).

Again: for future planning, try not to talk about the external position and income, focus on internal accumulation and growth.

03 How to make a real “career plan”?

There’s always a formula for answering interview questions about where you want to be in five years. However, true career planning is essential for everyone, and it is important to look beyond the present and beyond the future.

So how do you make the right career plan for your situation? What are you planning and thinking about?

The value of planning

Regardless of external opportunities, HR also pays attention to the intrinsic value of individuals in the recruitment process to determine your offer.
For example:

  • They will require a certain degree and major, which represents your level of knowledge
  • They are required to use tools such as POWERPOINT and Excel that represent your skills
  • They will also require soft skills such as problem-solving, communication, etc

So, you’ll be asked repeatedly in the interview to give examples such as “What challenges have you overcome”. In addition, your values and personality traits will be directly reflected in interviews and even evaluations.

Of these factors, the underlying personality, motivation, values, and so on are hard to shake once they are established, so if you try to spend a lot of energy on them, the results may not be meaningless.

What you can strive for is more in terms of knowledge, skills, and abilities. So, every piece of work you do, strive to improve on these elements, so that you will continue to increase your value.

Foster strengths and circumvents weaknesses

Among the three elements of career planning, according to your strengths and weaknesses, there are two aspects to be considered here: interest and expertise. These are two internal factors that we need to consider in the process of career planning.

Interest in this matter has been deeply misunderstood. Without a strong sense of self, it’s often impossible to tell what your real interests are. Since there are so many factors that affect it and its often difficult to explain.

However, two things are certain:

  1. enjoyment is not an interest, but a willingness to give;
  2. don’t talk about interest when you don’t have a depth of knowledge

If someone asks you, do you like traveling? I believe the answer to most people is yes. But is that interest? Probably not. It’s easy to confuse interest with pleasure.
Enjoyment is passive and requires no effort; Interest, on the other hand, may require effort for something.

For instance, a daily job for an analyst was to organize and analyze data, visit with senior consultants and take notes, etc. As a consultant, it requires to solve specific problems. So, if you just scratch the surface, you get the illusion that consulting is taking notes, which is not interesting at all.

So, for anything you do, get to know and experience it before determining if you like it or not.

For expertise, many people also misunderstand it deeply. People often ask questions like: “My thinking ability is not good, but I have a good communication skill, what occupation should I be suitable for?”
This question has two misconceptions:

  1. That person Confused the ascending and non-ascending abilities
  2. think that are a few suitable occupations for certain

First of all, the confusion between promotable and non-promotable abilities means that some abilities can be elevated, while others are not. However, thinking skill is a large part that can be improved

Therefore, if one’s thinking ability is not good, it cannot be used as an indicator to find a job, thus it limits one’s ability. Instead, the thinking skills should be to improve first, then it will naturally broaden their career path.

On the other hand, there are a lot of people who feel that there must be a profession that will be particularly suitable for. But that’s not the case at all. We’ve done evaluations and studies of employees in many companies, and as a result, the people who do the same job well often do a lot of work well, and people who don’t do some work well tend to do nothing well. This is because many jobs require the same skills, although they vary in content.

So, choosing a career is the same as finding a lover, there is often more than one right for you. So, what you should focus on is not the choice itself, but how you do it after the choice.

Focus on external changes

When doing personal planning, we tend to ignore external factors and only think about ourselves, thus making a completely unworkable plan.
In fact, in addition to their own intrinsic value, the final value will depend on external factors, such as choice.

So, what do external factors need to know to help us choose? It can be summarized as four points:

  • The job content, salary return of the target occupation, etc
  • The future development prospect, supply and demand relationship of target occupation
  • Implementation path, such as recruitment requirements, recruitment channels
  • The change of enterprise organization form
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