“Where do you see yourself in five years?” is the interview equivalent of “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and can throw even the most experienced of candidates. But with these four tips you’ll be able to answer like a pro!
Keep your answer general – The interviewer is not looking for you to outline your life plan for the foreseeable future. Instead, they are looking to see if to see if you’ve thought about your long term career plan, and what plans and goals you have in place. Instead of saying that you would like to see yourself as the Department Manager say that you would hope to be in a leadership role where you would be able to mentor others.
Stress your interest in a long-term career with the company – Hiring managers are typically looking for candidates who they can invest in and who in turn will invest back in the company. Even if you’re not exactly sure of the potential career path available to you with the company, make sure the interviewer knows that you are looking to stay.
Stress your interest in the role you are applying for – Ambition is a good thing, but employers are often looking for someone to stay in the current role for at least 18 months. So unless the interviewer has mentioned differently do not specify a specific time line for your career goals with the company.
Do not say “I don’t know” – Even if you’re not entirely sure of where you want to be in five years always have something prepared for this line of questioning. Even something as simple as you hope to be in a role that you find challenging and are continuing to learn in is better than nothing.
Questions like this are hard to answer, but there is always a tried and tested formula that will satisfy the interviewer and boost your chances for success!
For further interview tips check out our interview centre.