Interview Question: Where Do You See Yourself In Five Years?
This is another frequently applied interview question. Another possible alternative might be, “What are your career goals over the next five years?” It might seem irrelevant, but don’t make the mistake of brushing it aside with a canned answer. The interviewer is actively looking for a window into your thought process and gauging your reliability as a candidate with this one, so it’s important to provide them with a strong, well thought out response. Take all of the following into consideration to really impress your prospective employer when this inevitably comes up.
Think of the Big Picture
Context is important. The interviewer wants a sample of your ability to formulate a workable plan of action over a long period of time. More importantly, ensure that your answer is goal-oriented. Think of the ends over the means. Having a few points concerning the “how” is never a bad thing, but remember that your interviewer is interested in a goal much more than they’re interested in a dozen minute details.
For example, “I’d like to see myself prepared and able to take on a regional management position by then, at the minimum.”
Make It Relevant
No one wants to hire someone they’ll have to soon. Tailor your answer to be relevant to the company that you’re applying for. Revolve your answer around them specifically – mentioning securing a new position, enhancing your job-related skills, and learning more about your field through the experiences you’ll have while employed at this particular company. Interviewers will appreciate a thoughtful response here, as it shows you’ve put thought into how you’ll fit in with their company.
As an example, “I’d like to see myself prepared and able to take on a regional management position by then, at the minimum. I feel like this opening will offer me the opportunity to sharpen the skills I’d need in order to make that happen, and put all my previous management experience to the test.”
What To Avoid
Canned answers and platitudes are a definite no-go. Chances are that your interviewer is already looking for these as red flags. Keep it concise, to the point, and honest. If it’s a temporary position, try not to reiterate your quit date. The interviewer is probably already aware of this and won’t be enthused to hear you’re already looking towards the day you walk out. Finally, responding with an answer indicating that you “don’t know” or “haven’t thought about” are sure ways to sink your ship, so avoid those at all costs.
Never say “I don’t know.” Ever.
Need A Finished Example?
“I’ve been in management for the past several years and would really like to put those skills to the test on a regional level at some point. I feel like this position gives me the opportunity to sharpen my management chops to the level I’d need to be at in order to tackle such a position, so I can definitely say that’s the goal I’d be working towards.”