When interviewers ask, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” they are trying to get a sense of your long-term goals and how committed you are to your career. They want to know if you plan on staying with the company for the long haul or if you’ll be moving on as soon as a better opportunity arises.
Your answer to this question can make or break your chances of getting the job, so it’s important to give it some thought before you go into the interview. This article will help you to frame an incredible answer to this question that will leave the interviewer excited to have you join their team.
Five-year planning may seem far off in the future, but these goals are achievable within a shorter time frame—some even in under a year! It’s all about taking things one step at a time.
Where do you see yourself in five years? To answer that question, you have to look at your life as it is now. What do you want out of life, and how does this job fit into those plans? Once you have a clear picture of your goals for today, you can map out the steps that will lead to your ultimate future destiny.
1. Why Interviewers Ask “Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?”
Interviewers ask this question to get a sense of how you plan your career and whether you’re committed to the company or position they are interviewing you for. They also want to know if you have long-term goals and whether those goals align with what the company has to offer.
“If you are interviewing for a job that requires jumping through many hoops, then it’s even more important to have a plan because you want the interviewer to know that this is what you do—you follow through on your commitments.”
It’s also possible an interviewer will ask, “Where do you see yourself in five years without the job you’re interviewing for?” The interviewer is probably trying to get a sense of your career interests.
Since this question can be tricky, you should have an answer in mind that shows potential employers that you are committed to growth in whatever position you end up in. An appropriate response might include words like “successfully integrating into your company,” “helping you meet your goals for my position,” or “tirelessly fulfilling the responsibilities of the job.”
2. Do’s and Dont’s of Answering This Question
Do Answer the Question
When asked this question, it is best to answer with a specific response. If you don’t have any idea how your career will look in five years, that’s okay as long as you articulate what you do know. For example, if you’re unsure about where your career will go but have a good idea of the type of work you’d like to do in five years, consider answering along the lines of:
“In five years, I see myself working in a position that allows me to use my writing skills and editing experience.”
Do Be Honest
Remember that this question is not an opportunity for you to advertise yourself. Be honest about where you see yourself, and remember that there is no such thing as a bad answer here. The interviewer wants to know your goals and how committed you are to the job they’re offering you.
Don’t Answer with Specifics You Can’t Predict
If you don’t have enough information or too many career goals to list, provide an answer that acknowledges your uncertainty. For example, if you are unsure of which industry you’d like to work in five years, but have a clear idea of the position you want at that time, consider saying something along these lines:
“In five years, I see myself doing X and Y with Z company. I’m not sure which industry I want to work in because that will depend on each company’s opportunities for growth and development, but those are the areas that interest me most.”
Don’t Give a False Answer
This question is designed to give you an opportunity to open up about your career goals, so don’t lie about what you want to achieve. If you don’t know what or where you want to be in five years, it’s better not to answer the question than to provide an answer that isn’t true.
Don’t Say You Haven’t Thought About It
Interviewers ask this question because they’d like candidates to share their thoughts and plans, so if you don’t have any idea, that’s okay as long as you communicate your thoughts about the position or company. For example, if you don’t know what job title might best fit into your five-year career goals but know that you want to join a team of driven professionals and help make a difference, consider saying something like:
“In five years, I see myself working for an organization that will challenge and support me to use my skills and education. My long-term goals include working as part of a team, so this position interests me because the company seems like a great fit for someone with those values.”
Remember, there’s no such thing as the wrong answer, but you should consider how your response to this question impacts your candidacy. Be honest about where you see yourself in five years and how that aligns with the position or company’s goals. That’s all interviewers want here, so be concise and to the point when answering this question.
3. How to Answer the “Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years” Interview Question
Here are five tips for answering the “where do you see yourself in five years” interview question:
1. Prepare to answer the question before an interview
Don’t be caught off guard with this common interview question. While you may have a few questions to ask your interviewer, have at least one answer ready for the “where do you see yourself in five years” question.
2. Keep it honest and specific
The key to answering this question is being honest and specific about your career goals. If you say you want to become CEO in five years, that’s probably not going to land you the job–unless you know, that’s something your potential employer is looking for.
3. Think about why the company would want you
It’s equally important to think about what your interviewer wants from this question. Is your interviewer trying to determine if you are a good fit for the position, or does your interviewer want to know if you plan on sticking around? This will help shape your response.
4. Know why you left previous jobs
If you’ve changed jobs often, it’s best not to bring up all of those short stints during an interview–unless that’s part of your response. If you’ve moved around and the interviewer does ask you about it, find a way to show that each move made you more committed or better qualified for this one.
5. Don’t say, “I don’t know”
You might think honesty is the best policy, but an honest response of “I don’t know” or a vague answer like “somewhere I’ll be happy and fulfilled” leaves the interviewer feeling dissatisfied and unconvinced.
Never Say: “Hopefully, I’ll be working here in five years.” You won’t get the job if you say this because it appears you are not committed to the position.
Do Say: “I don’t have a specific plan in five years, but I know that my long-term goal is to be in marketing.” This shows you’re looking for future growth opportunities with this company and have room for advancement.
4. Examples of a Good Answer
Some examples of the best answer to the question include:
“I would like to be in management within five years.”
“Five years from now, I see myself working for an organization that will challenge me and supports me with my career goals. This position interests me because the company seems like a great fit for someone who cares about making a difference.”
“I hope to be working for a company that will value my input and expertise. If I commit to something, I want it to be worth my time and energy–both of which this position seems like it would provide.”
“My long-term goals include working as part of a team. This position seems like a great fit because I know my coworkers would be committed to our shared goals.”
“In five years, I see myself with a company that is growing and offers opportunities for advancement. My goal has always been to work in management, so this job seems like a great fit.”
“I hope I’m still in this position, and the reason is that the company’s values and goals align with my own. This company seems like a great fit for me, and it would give me opportunities to continue to grow and develop professionally.”
5. Examples of Bad Answers
These are some examples of bad answers to the question: to stay with the company long-term because it seems like a great
“I am very committed, and I would like this position.”
“In five years, I see myself still working here.”
“I’m not sure, but maybe marketing?”
“I honestly don’t know. Maybe marketing?”
“Somewhere down the road, I would like to be president of a company.”
The best way to answer the “Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years” interview question is realistic and honest. If you’re not sure what you want to do, it’s okay to say that. Talk about your goals and how this job can help you reach them. Be positive and upbeat, even if you don’t have everything figured out yet. Employers like candidates who are proactive and have a plan for their future.