This is one of those “trick” interview questions that answered wrong, could tank your candidacy rankings.
A general rule of thumb when interviewing is that you always want to answer trick questions with short answers. The reason is twofold. First, you don’t want to risk opening up a can of worms, rambling, getting nervous or defensive, etc. And second, you want to minimize the time you spend answering “trick” interview questions so that you can spend the majority of your time answering questions that speak to your strengths and aptitudes as they match what your interviewer is looking for!
So memorizing short answers to the top three or four trick questions is a very wise move. I consider this question to be one of those top three or four trick questions.
It used to be that the seemingly correct answer to this question was:
I want to have your job!
I want to sit where you are sitting!
However now that answer is seen as too coarse and not politically correct.
Another pitfall to watch out for with this question is you probably will not know if your potential employer is interviewing you for a position that is prime for promotional opportunities, or if they want someone solid in the role for many years.
Rather than guess what they are thinking, here is a completely safe (even bombproof!) answer you can give:
Well, I would expect to be advancing based on my job performance and taking on additional responsibilities.
You can even add:
And I would anticipate being appropriately compensated for it.
Finally you can say:
Since we are on the subject can you tell me where you see the growth of this company/position in the next several years?
Not only is this a great answer but you can follow it up with a great question! You will look engaged, enthusiastic and interested in the company and the position…a triple threat!
Remember, employers will pay more for someone who markets themselves well – this includes both a well designed and targeted resume as well as in-job interviews. Why? Simply because that is who they end up wanting more!
Armed with this simple response, you will have successfully sidestepped a slippery trick question and taken a big step closer to a great offer!