Where do you see yourself in five years time? This is a favorite question for interviewers to ask. And they don’t really expect you to know exactly where you are going to be in five years time however, this can give them an insight into where you want to be. This questions lets the interviewer understand your career goals and the path you hope to follow. Learning about this is important to the interviewers because they can get a deeper understanding into how motivated you are to do the job and whether you will work hard and stay with the company.
You’ve said that you are interested in the job and why you want this, so this almost acts as test for the interviewer to test that you truly do want this job for your career. If what you say your five year goal is, is completely different to the job you are applying for, its not likely that the interviewer will think you truly want the job position. Because of this you need to be careful when answering this question. If the hiring manger has any reason to believe that you aren’t really fit for the position or that you won’t stick around for long, they won’t hire you. After all its their job to find the right person and they want to do that well.
So, what should you include in your answer? I have collected a few pointers below for you.
• Keep the job in mind
First and foremost you want to keep the job you are applying for in mind. Don’t forget the point of this interview is to try and convince the company to hire you so you want to make sure you are answering each question about why you should get that specific job.
• Don’t be too specific
This is usually something you want to avoid when answering questions in a job interview. However in this case, its recommended to be fairly general, and you can get away with it, because no one knows where they are going to be in five years time. If your answer is too specific it could raise a red flag that your career goals don’t match with the position you are applying for, however if you leave the answer a bit more open, it can be interrupted in the right way.
• Talk about your long term career goals at the company you are applying for
Whether its directly or indirectly, you don’t want your answer to say that you job you are applying for will do for the entire but in five years you see yourself elsewhere. The company will be spending time and money on you if you are trained and hired, so they want to ensure the investment is worth it and that you are also in it for the long run. Think about like this, someone who is looking to settle down in a relationship isn’t going to want to be with someone who is interested in dating a new person every week.
• Be enthusiastic
You want to be enthusiastic when talking about your long term career goals, as the hiring manager wants someone who is motivated to do the job and do it well – not someone who is just there because they can get a attractive pay-packet out of the it. Show you are actually interested in the job you are applying for. It’s also a good idea to do as much research into the company as possible too, this way you can get a rough understanding of the career path your job might have in the company and then you can give your answer based around this.
• Be realistic
Five years time is a long time in terms of your career path, and who knows what could happen? Some people make it from the bottom to the top in this time, however this is rare and when you are answering this question, you want to be realistic. The company wants to hire someone who is hard working and motivated to climb the internal career ladder, however answering this question along the lines of “I believe I will be a CEO” when you are applying for a starting out position, the interviewers will likely see you as cocky and even a bit arrogant. This could harm your prospects of getting hired.
• Don’t try to make it funny
Although answering “I see myself being your boss” may seem like a funny answer that will get a few laughs, the interviewers may not take this well. Yes, they may laugh – probably at the fact you were overly confident enough to answer like this – but they won’t take your answer seriously, and they may well feel that you don’t take the question seriously enough to answer it properly and really for interviewers and companies, this is an important question. It could also cause the interviewer to think that you are trying to avoid the question, and this may raise a red glad. Speaking of red flags…
• Don’t raise any red flags
Your true long-term goals may see you returning to education or even starting your own business. This is all well and good, nothing to be ashamed of, of course. However, for a company looking to invest in you if they hire you, this could raise a red flag. They don’t want to put in all the time and effort for you to take your skills elsewhere – particularly to the competition.
Now we have covered the points you need to think about in your answer, it is time to start to prepare. Remember that whilst this question is about where you want to be in 5 years, you are still in the present and at this time you are trying to convince the interviewer that you are the right person for the job. This question can really demonstrate why you are the best person for the job, and if the interviewer was having any doubts, your answer to this can help eliminate these. Its a really good opportunity to get your name on the ‘hired list’. The last bit of advice I can give you is to be confident and let the interviewer believe in you.
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