How to answer the “Where do you see yourself in 5 years” question

November 27, 2017
Taking your place!
Running this company and living in my own penthouse!

Many candidates believe that this ‘very important’ question asked by a majority of recruiters is a chance for them to showcase their creativity/humor/cockiness in their answers. That’s a wrong belief!

When the interviewer is asking you this question, he/she is only interested in knowing whether you see yourself as a part of the organization for a long-term and if you’re worthy enough to get the job.

The job market is a competitive one, and any small mistake can make you lose the chance of bagging the job. Make sure that a lame answer to this question is not the reason for losing out on a perfect opportunity. Here are some things that you must remember while answering this question -

1.   Keep your answer general

You do not know what is going to happen tomorrow, and you would definitely also not know what will happen in 5 years. Hence, it is better to keep your answer general. While it is always recommended to be specific in all interview questions, this is the only question where you can answer in general to create a good impression.

If you are not aware of the career path in the company, do not say something that may make you look ignorant or uninformed. For example, you may say “I want to become the assistant director of the company”, only to realise later that there is no such profile in the organization. Instead, saying something like “I would want to acquire more knowledge about the industry I work in and use that knowledge to make progress in my career” would create a better impression.

Remember that your answer should be truthful, and at the same time artfully presented so that there are no doubts in the mind of the recruiter about your candidacy.

2.   Show your interest in the present position

This is especially important if you have a resume that shows that you have been changing jobs very often. There will be a considerable amount of time, money and energy spent in training a new recruit, and so, hiring managers are always looking for people who are ready to invest their time in the organization. They will choose to invest in candidates who have an honest intention of staying at the place at least for a year or two.

Your answer should emphasize your keen interest in your current position, and how you would like to perform excellently in the position that you have been offered, before escalating to something better or bigger.  

For instance, you can say something like – “I am very excited and looking forward to working in the position that I’ve applied for currently. My priority goal would be to do the best job that I can in this role, while all the while learning and honing my skills in order to take on bigger and better roles over the course of the next few years. I definitely see myself  equipped to take on managerial and leadership roles 5 years down the line.”

On you can pro-actively answer this question, and can create a good impression at the very beginning, using the audio profile recording feature. Impress your recruiter in this 2 minute audio recording by mentioning how interested you are in the position you have applied for.

3.   Provide realistic answers

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
I wish to become the CEO of this company.

In such a case, it’s better if you open your own company and then become the CEO!

An inaccurate or ridiculous answer will not do you any good when you are answering this question. Don’t paint scenarios that even you know are never going to happen. Make sure that you have researched well about the department that you will belong to, the structure and how previous employees of the organization have come up to their positions. If you are not aware of these things, you can ask these questions to your interviewer.

Answers that you must avoid saying:

i) “I don’t know.” Under any circumstances, this should not be your answer. If you do not know what to say just after the question has been asked, you can take a pause, frame the answer in your mind and then give your reply.

ii) Any kind of lies and deceptive answers must be totally avoided. Remember that recruiters have been in this job for a very long time and they can see through you if you try to give manipulative or unbelievable answers.

iii) If you already see yourself in a particular position in the next 5 years, it is better if you apply for a job in that same department. However, in case you are not, it’s best not to mention it to the interviewer that you’re future interests lie elsewhere.

iv) At the beginning of your career, you may want to keep a lot of different career options open. Though that is a wise thing to do, you simply do not need to advertise that fact in your interview. Remember that you should not lie, but you should also not put out all your cards on the table.

You do not need a script for answering the 5 year question, but your long-term career plans must have relevancy in the eyes of the interviewer. Tailor your answers to fit the job at hand. Download the interviewfox mobile app to record your audio profile and take pre-screening interviews for jobs of your choice, and get hired.