As you prepare for an interview, you know there are several questions you can anticipate being asked. For example, questions about your major career accomplishments and how you deal with challenges are always fair game. While these inquiries are pretty straight-forward, some are trickier to answer. “Where do you see yourself in 5 years” is definitely one of the most common ones.
Being asked about your future goals can be intimidating, but there’s good reason for hiring managers to ask! For them, it’s a way of gauging how ambitious you are, whether or not the position you’re interviewing for is something you want for the long-term, and if you understand and meet the demands of the position.
At first, you may feel like there is almost no good way to answer this question, but there are several ways to use this type of question to your advantage:
Keep the company in mind
Part of the reason why employers ask this question is to assess whether the candidate intends to stay with the company in the long-term. While you may not necessarily know the answer yourself, it’s important to show you are committed to the organization and its values. As a result, you’ll want to do your research! Being able to explain how you can help make their goals a reality as you grow in your career can help you stand out as a top candidate. Conversely, making it seem like this job is a stepping stone to something better can land your application in the “no” pile.
Understand the position
When an interviewer asks “where do you see yourself in five years,” they’re trying to assess a couple of things, including whether or not you have a complete understanding of the position and where it could lead you. To help them see this, talk about how the responsibilities of the role you are interviewing for can help you reach your major career goals. For example, if the position requires you to take on more leadership responsibilities, discuss how you think the demands of the position will help you achieve your goals of transitioning into a management role.
Show desire for career growth
If you’re asked “where do you see yourself in five years,” be prepared to give a clear response as to how you see yourself succeeding in your line of work. One of the best ways to answer this question is by talking to them about how your industry is also set to evolve over that five-year period. It’s impressive to talk about how you can jump into a role and succeed immediately, but it’s even more impressive to show how you plan to sustain that success as the industry transforms. By talking about how you anticipate your field to evolve over a five-year period, it will demonstrate to an interviewer that you’re truly invested in your industry and its future!