Your resume is impressive, your cover letter is convincing. You’ve scored that interview you’ve always wanted and just when you think you’ve done enough to potentially secure a job, the interviewer asks you this question:
So where do you see yourself in five years?”
All together now – groan. This tough interview question is perhaps the one that a lot of us hope to avoid. First, there’s no right or wrong answer... and second, even if there’s no right or wrong answer, how you answer it can pretty much determine if you got the job or not.
With that question, your recruiter is trying to suss out your ambition as well as whether you see yourself as a leader or someone with potential. They also want to know if you’re realistic about the future or just someone with lofty ideas on how a career should progress. Essentially, it tells the recruiter a lot about your expectations and whether you’ve given a lot of thought to the career you’re embarking upon.
The other real reason why employers ask your this question? Because they want to know if you’re sincere or if you just spew out whatever they want to hear.
See why it’s a tough question!
But hey, you’ll get over it with our tips on how to come up with best answer.
First things first – take time to asnwer. You want to let your recruiter know you’ve given this aspect of your career a lot of thought. This way, you won’t be spouting unrealistic expectations (I hope to build a legacy in the industry... uhm, not in five years you won’t) or clichés (working here and giving you my very best work!... you and everyone else, buddy!).
Then, be relevant. Saying you hope to publish a book when you’re applying for an accountant job is definitely not the right answer. But saying that you hope to enhance your skills so you can become a potential leader one day in that particular company will show the recruiter that you’re serious about working for them and improving your skill sets.
Also, always be realistic. List your goals but in a broader sense. Instead of saying “I want to be the person to lead this company” is not a realistic answer for someone in your position, say “I hope to pick up the right skills and learn from your more experienced staff on how to be leader” seems more likely for an executive like you.
And always show your desire to work at the company. So craft your answer in a way that demonstrates your enthusiasm for the job you’re applying to. Make it clear that you’re motivated to take on this opportunity right now. it’s best to do some research on the direction that the company is taking and incorporating it in your answer. What to say? Something along the lines of “I hope to be a part of your management team that aims to engage with younger people in the industry and increase our market share and influence.”
Here are some sample answers you can use to craft your own response based on your experience and skills. Don’t copy these answers word for word; use them as a guide!
“Where do I see myself? Hopefully better than I am now with improved technical and soft skills. There is a lot to learn and I hope that I will be given that opportunity to improve myself by being a part of your company that is leading the way things are done in the industry.”
“With hard work, a strong will to learn and the right guidance from your leaders, I hope that in five years time I will have made an important contribution to your company as well as the industry. And that in the years to come, I will continue learning to improve myself as well as pass on any knowledge and experience I would have accumulated to the younger talent.”
“My goal right now is to find a position in a company where I can grow and learn new things. I believe this company is the ideal fit for me to achieve that so that in five years time, I would have learnt important skills to hopefully advance in the industry and make an impact as well as build a rewarding career where I am also able to impart knowledge to others and use my experience to make strides in the industry.”
Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash