How to Answer ‘Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years’ Interview Question

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‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’ is a common interview question you are likely to encounter during your job search. Employers often ask this question to gauge whether your professional goals align with those of the company and its mission. In this article, we will review how to answer this question in such a way that will help the hiring manager see you as a future employee and set you apart from a potentially long list of applicants.

Why employers ask, ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’

Your response to the question, ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’ will give the interviewer a better understanding of your overall career goals and motives for applying for the job. They want to hire someone who fits within the company’s culture and who can have a positive impact on their own business goals. If your professional goals seem to coincide with the job, the employer will be more likely to see you as a dependable employee they can rely on and invest in. 

Motivated and proactive employees tend to remain in a position for several years. Since companies spend a lot of time, effort and money training new employees, having an idea of your five-year plan can help the interviewer determine whether you will be a good investment for them. 

Surprising ways employers ask, ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’

The interviewer might frame this type of question a different way to better understand how you can grow with the company and what you expect from them. You can prepare a relevant answer if your interviewer asks any of the following questions:

  • What is your ideal position at this stage of your career?
  • What is most important to you in your career?
  • What are your long-term career goals?
  • What is your dream career?
  • What are you looking for in a career?

Related: How to Answer ‘What is Your Greatest Weakness’ Interview Question

How to answer, ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’

To position yourself as a candidate who will succeed in this role for the long-term, try to prepare your answer by focusing on stability and dedication. Even if you do not plan to remain at the company for more than a couple of years, you can still emphasize the skills and experience you hope to gain from this role. When preparing your answer, consider these steps to help you craft the perfect response:

1. Base your answer on the job. 

Companies want to hire people who are excited to work for them, so make sure you give specific details about why the job interests you. 

2. Research the industry. 

Consider how you think you could grow in this position and how your development might coincide with the company’s long-term needs and goals. Remember to read about the company before your interview and learn all you can about the department you are applying to.

3. Be enthusiastic. 

Hiring managers choose candidates who are excited about their job prospects. Show your enthusiasm for the job and the future you see yourself having with it. You may want to emphasize how the position can help you achieve certain professional aspirations. For instance, the job in question might help you gain more expertise in your field or lead to certification options.

4. Give a two-part answer. 

If you do have specific long-term career goals that are relevant to the position you are applying for, answer the question in two parts. The first part should focus on the immediate position and why you are excited by the opportunity. The second part can address your expectations and future plans.

Learn More: How to Answer ‘What Makes You Unique’ Interview Question

Example answers to use in an interview

Use the following examples as a guide to help you answer this question.

Example 1: Bank teller

‘Over the next few years, I hope to learn as much as possible about banking services. In the short-term, I want to become an excellent teller and then possibly move into a position with more responsibility. Within five years, my goal is to become a supervisor, preferably in loan processing or some other area of financial services.’

Example 2: Marketer

‘I come from a traditional marketing agency that focused on print material and websites. Within five years I see myself having gained a greater understanding of social media and digital marketing to the point where I can use it—along with my experience in traditional marketing methods—to start managing clients’ social media and digital campaigns.’

Example 3: Software test analyst

‘In earning my computer science degree, I discovered a passion for finding practical solutions to technical problems. I was drawn to this software test analyst position because of your company’s reputable mentoring program and internal training, which I strongly feel will help me further my skills over the next five years.’