“Where Do You See Yourself In 5 Years”
During an interview, some questions are fairly easy to answer. Why do you think you’re qualified for this position? Easy you can list of your accomplishments and experiences.
Some questions are harder to answer, like, Where do you see yourself in five years?
How are you supposed to answer that? You don’t have a crystal ball. You don’t know what’s going to happen between now and a half decade from now. Instead of staring at the interviewer with a blank expression on your face or blurting out, “I see myself beside the flag I planted as the first human on Mars,” plan out your answer in advance.
Why are they asking?
First thing is to understand why they’re asking the question the first place. They want to understand your long term goals. To confirm that you are motivated and forward thinking, and that you are interested in growing with their organization.
Don’t be unrealistic
You probably do have specific long term goals, but they may not be entirely achievable from the interviewers position. “In five years, I see myself running a company. Possibly a job like yours.” From your perspective you might think you’re showing ambition. From the interviewer’s perspective you seem like someone with unrealistic goals.
Don’t sit there humming and hawing as if you’ve never thought about the question in your life because you will seem like a person without any ambition or regard for success at all.
Don’t give them a menu to choose from
In reality you may still be exploring your options. You may be thinking about a career in marketing or the possibility of going back to school to study law. That doesn’t mean you answer, “I would either be running a marketing department or working as a junior lawyer in a downtown firm.” Your answer should reflect the aspirations of a person who has done well in the job you are applying for.
Do keep it general and enthusiastic
Be truthful about your aspirations without naming a specific job title or salary expectations. “With the qualifications I expect to acquire through an online course I’m taking, I’m hoping to be in a management position, where I can help other people achieve their goals. I think this is a growing industry and I’m excited to build my career in it.”
This is your chance to talk about how you’re going to spend the next five years working hard for the company and yourself.