Most professionals will be asked, where do you see yourself in 5 years? At least once in your professional life in an interview, you will encounter this question. Employers often ask this question to better understand your future goals and how those goals align with the position you are applying for.
Even if you may not yet know exactly where you want to be in the next few years, answering this question will prepare you for success and support an overall productive interview.
Here we will look at why employers are asking, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” And what you should keep in mind when answering this question.
What is the big deal about the question “Where do you see yourself in 5 years”?
Where do you see yourself in five years” is a question about your future plans or goals that can be asked in an interview. Employers usually ask this type of question to learn how well this job fits into your overall career goals.
You may or may not have a clear picture of where you want to be in five years’ time. Anyway, there are a few guidelines you can follow to answer where you see yourself in five years’ time, in a way that conveys your enthusiasm for the job and impresses the other person you are talking to.
Why do employers ask, “Where do you see yourself in five years?
When an interviewer asks you about your career goals for the next five years, do so to understand a few different things. They often want to learn:
If you will stay with the company for at least five years
Depending on the position you are applying for, the length of time an employee typically spends in that position varies.
The longer employees stay in a position, the fewer sales and sales-related expenses the company has to fear.
The length of time employees stay in the same company varies according to age and industry.
On average, 54% of people stay in the same role for at least 5 years. Hiring, training, and training a new employee is often viewed as an investment and turnover is costly.
Therefore, most employers are looking for candidates who want to stay with the company for the long term. They usually want to hear that you’ve been with the company in this role – or a relatively similar position – for several years.
So if you can’t see yourself in that position or with this company for at least the next few years, this is valuable information an employer wants to know before hiring you.
If your expectations match what the employer can offer
Employers want to know that your goals match the position they are offering. For example, if you are interviewing for a position as an accounting clerk and eventually envision leading more complex accounting projects, it shows that the interviewer in that position is growing in a way that they can adequately support you.
Alternatively, if you are interviewing for a marketing position and want to become a UX designer in five years’ time, you will most likely not be considered suitable for the job.
Employers can also use this question to assess whether you will be satisfied and engaged in the position over the next several years.
If you’re looking to get a higher-level job title in five years than the employer can handle, they may find that you are overqualified or get bored too easily in the position you’re applying for.
You likely have some goals in mind for how you would like to grow in the position you are applying for. The interviewer can give you information on whether this is possible in that particular company.
Additionally, if you are starting in one position and aim to move to an entirely different position in a different department or area, you will want to know if this is an option with that particular employer.
They want to know that you have a sense of ambition or drive
It can be difficult to know or even plan what you’ll be doing in five years’ time, but managers are still looking for candidates who have a sense of how they want to grow and advance in their careers.
It is important to note that employers are particularly interested in knowing your goals in this role.
While ambition can certainly be a positive trait, it may not be appropriate to discuss all of them in answering this question if they are not relevant to the job.
If you are seriously interested in this role
After all, employers are often curious to see if your interests match the position they are offering.
For example, this could be a good time to highlight your plans to become an expert in your field by taking online courses or obtaining certification to do so.
Understanding your associated passions and interests will help employers imagine how you could contribute to the team in the short and long term, and it reassures them that the role will be a fulfilling experience for you.
Both factors help employers to determine whether an employee is a good fit for the company in the long term.
The information that the employer provides based on these factors will also help you decide whether this company is right for your professional goals.
How do you respond to “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” question in an interview
It is best to prepare for interview questions such as “Where do you see yourself in five years” before the actual interview.
This will ensure that you provide well-thought-out responses and successfully get the message across to the hiring manager.
Briefly answer the question, “Where do you see yourself in five years” by discussing how you can develop in this role. You may take this for granted, but this question can be difficult to answer at times.
There are times when in the long run you don’t see yourself in a role and that’s fine, although you don’t have to tell the person you’re talking to.
If so, imagine how the job could help someone grow on that career path and try to apply it to your response.
In any case, it can be helpful to do some preparation before answering this question in an interview. When preparing your answer, keep the following best practices in mind:
Find connections between your goals and the job description.
As you write your answer, make sure to read the job posting carefully. Think about which of the required skills and characteristics you already have and would like to strengthen, and in which you would like to gain further experience.
Look through the job description and see if you can find any pre-existing traits and skills, as well as those that you would like to gain more experience in.
This allows you to relate your goals to the position you are applying for in the interview.
It can be helpful to look at the ins and outs of the job and think about what it would mean to expand your knowledge and expertise in these areas over the next five years.
Imagine if you will love to have your current job experience your resume five years from now.
It can be helpful to think about what an ideal resume for someone in this position might realistically look like five years from now.
Think about the following categories and what they might look like in the future:
- Are there incremental job titles that you could grow into? For example, changing from Engineer I to Engineer II.
- Are there certain skills (technical or soft) that people typically improve in this area? A social media manager might want to get some experience creating videos or graphics.
- Are there any relevant or well-known industry awards or certificates that you could seek? A sales rep can try to win a Top Salesman of the Year award.
- Are there certain accomplishments that you could portray? For example, becoming an expert and gaining the opportunity to mentor junior team members.
You may not need to include all of these points in your answer during the interview. However, thinking about what your future resume might look like is the time to shape your answer.
3. Reflect on your interests and how they might evolve in this role.
In every profession, there is room for growth and further education. There may be a specific area of interest that you would like to focus on in the role you are applying for and it may take a few years to reach an expert level.
Make yourself clear about your professional goals.
Take some time to consider what your career goals are for the next five years. Would you like to acquire new skills? Are you interested in switching to a management position at some point?
Would you like to work on specific projects? Are you interested in a job in a specific industry? You can also answer this question by thinking about what you want to see on your resume five years from now.
Would you like to acquire certain certificates or hold a certain professional title? Make a list of these aspirations.
Ask yourself if the company can prepare you for your career goals.
It’s important, to be honest about whether the company you’re applying to can prepare you for your career goals over the next five years.
If this is not possible, consider reconsidering the position or notifying the employer in advance that you may not have been with this company for at least five years.
What not to say when asked, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”
While it’s important to understand the correct answer, it’s also good to remember what an interviewer doesn’t want to hear when they ask you, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
Be careful how you answer this popular interview question and try to avoid answers like these:
That you are planning a short-term position in the company.
When a company wants to invest time and resources in you, they want to believe that you will be with them for the long term or at least five years.
Employees may now spend less time in one position before moving on, but you definitely don’t want to let the cat out of the bag that you don’t want to be with the company for long (unless you’re interviewing). a temporary position).
That you weren’t concerned about your future with the company or life in general.
Whatever you do, don’t answer “I don’t know”. If you can’t remember the answer at first, take a few seconds to think about how you’ve grown over the past five years.
Consider the natural flow of progression and formulate an answer. Again, one of the main reasons for asking this question is to find out if you have goals and are excited about your future at the company.
They also want to know that you have ambition, a good work ethic, and thought about how you might handle your job if you get hired.
That you want your position
The interviewer wants to know that you are ambitious, but you don’t want to know that you are very eager to step up and see yourself in their position, especially if it’s a small business where such opportunities are few and far in between.
Chances are, you will be asked this question at some point in your professional life. Outlining your plans for the future and deciding how to communicate them in an interview can be intimidating.
If you take the time to consider where you want to be in five years’ time based on the job description, your interests and goals can help you come up with an answer that shows why you are the best person for the job.
- Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years? | Indeed.com
- How to Answer: Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years? – themuse
- Sample Answers for Where Do You See Yourself In 5 Years – wikijob
- ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’ interview question|glassdoor