4 Questions to Determine a Great Long-Term Opportunity

You are considering job opportunities that are very similar in location, position, compensation, and company culture. But what you really want is the best LONG TERM opportunity for your career.

How are you supposed to know which is best for you long term?

Here are four questions that you can ask either during the interview or as a follow-up to determine if a job is a great LONG TERM opportunity.


1. What skills will I learn?


How much better will you be in 3-5 years as a result of working there? I know, you’re already awesome. but we can all improve. What skills would you like to improve and will this job opportunity help get you there?

Let’s say you’re debating between a sales job at a large company vs a small company. Maybe the large company has a well-developed in-house training program that will help you hone your sales skills. You might want to lean that way.

However, maybe the small company will let you do not only sales, but also the marketing and positioning of the product as well as the delivery logistics. If these are skills you want to develop you probably want to lean that way.  


2. Who will I interact with on a day-to-day basis?


You’ve heard the expression “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. Catchy statement, but I disagree.

I believe it IS about what you know, but more importantly it’s about WHO knows that you know it.

Meaning, you have to know your stuff, especially in an industry like agriculture. You cannot get by on just being nice. However, if nobody else is aware of your skills, you will have a harder time getting to the next step in your career.

A great situation would allow you to work day-to-day with your superiors, important customers, and major stakeholders. Ideally you’d also like to get exposure to other players in your industry.


3. Does the company offer any education assistance?


I am in the midst of completing my Master’s in Agribusiness (just need to get that danged thesis done!). Although my program is reasonably priced versus other alternatives, paying for it is not cheap! However, I would gladly do it all over again if given the choice.

As you read advice from highly successful people from Warren Buffett (see below) to Michael Jordan, the feedback is clear:

Never stop learning and improving yourself.

A company that’s going to invest in you is showing with their dollars that they care about their employees’ development, which is a great sign for a long term opportunity.


4. What’s been the career trajectory of someone who has been successful in this role in the past?


Will you be well positioned for upward mobility? Maybe management is not for you, but you certainly want to have options!

Assuming you’re ambitious, you want to be set up for success, and a good long term opportunity will keep you moving forward.

A positive sign here is for the hiring manager to have a specific story about someone who started off right where you’ll be starting and ended up in a managerial role, or another position that you’ve dreamed of one day achieving.


Consider this quote by the greatest investor ever, Warren Buffett::

“Generally speaking, investing in yourself is the best thing you can do.Anything that improves your own talents; nobody can tax it or take it away from you. They can run up huge deficits and the dollar can become worth far less. You can have all kinds of things happen. But if you’ve got talent yourself, and you’ve maximized your talent, you’ve got a tremendous asset that can return ten-fold.”

Ask these questions to ensure that while you’re offering value to your employer, you are also improving yourself and building an outstanding long term career!

Tim Hammerich

Tim is a strategic communications consultant, founder of AgGrad, and the host of the "Future of Agriculture" podcast. Originally from California, he is now based out of Boise, Idaho.