“Where do you see yourself in 5 years” is a question that directly targets your future career plans. Most often, employers ask it to understand your career aspirations and goals. But if you don’t know exactly where you want to be in 5 years, don’t worry. By implementing the tips below, you can still give an impressive answer to this daunting question.
Why do employers ask, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”
Contrary to how it may seem, employers aren’t asking you to commit to their company or present them with a plan that’s set in stone. Instead, they want to understand whether the job fits in with your aspirations. Essentially, they are asking you, “How does this job fit in with your future career plans?”
Employers want to know primarily so they get a deeper insight into your overall goals and ambitions. Of course, they want to find an employee who will be excited about the job and more likely to grow within the company. By explaining how the position fits in with your overall career vision, you can demonstrate your excitement and ensure the interviewer that you won’t get bored and leave as soon as another opportunity comes along.
How to answer, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”
1. Outline your professional aspirations
First, be honest with yourself about your career goals. Once you’re clear about your ultimate aim and the steps you need to take to get there, you can begin creating your answer. Relate your aspirations to the position and company you’re applying to. Most importantly, remember to leave out your personal goals and focus on career goals only.
2. Research how you could grow within the company
Most companies will look for employees who will stay with them in the long run. To show that you don’t only see the job as a stepping stone, do your research on growing as part of the company. For example, check whether they offer any educational programs, further training, or similar.
3. Align your goals with the company’s growth and success
Following your existing research, try to find out where the company is heading. This information may be available on the company’s website or social media. Showing a passion for the company’s direction and a shared vision for the future will immediately make you much more attractive as a candidate.
4. Show them you are worth their time and investment
Hiring and onboarding new employees is more costly than you might think. So, of course, the employer wants to make sure they don’t hire someone who will leave the next day. To prove that you are worth the investment, demonstrate that you are excited about and committed to the job and company.
Example answer to “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”
Example answer 1: "In five years, I hope to actively contribute to the growth of this company in a managerial position. I want to become an industry expert who can help others develop ideas, solve problems, and explore new horizons. I've been very fortunate always to have inspiring leaders, and I hope to one day become one with the help of your company leadership training program."
Example answer 2: “Some of the goals I want to achieve over the next five years include obtaining certificates related to my position and perfecting my skills. I’m thrilled about the opportunities that this company would provide me, as I know you offer various forms of education advancement programs. I can see myself growing within this company and putting my existing and newfound skills to use.”
As with any other interview question response, practice makes perfect. When answering “Where do you see yourself in 5 years,” try to be honest and clear about your goals. This will help you achieve your goals much quicker. Based on your answer, the employer can decide whether the job can help you get to where you want to be or not. So, as long as your career goals align with the company and you can prove that you’re someone worth investing in, there’s no reason to let this question stress you out.