Common Interview Question – Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?
It’s a tough question. Very few people have any sort of long term plan. Or, rather, very few people expect that plan to pan out. We all want to be working in a great job, living in a great house, married and/or with kids and/or having a great career. There is simply no way to know if that is going to occur. Yet if you are asked about where you see yourself in five years, you do need to come up with an adequate answer.
How to Answer
This question is most often asked to younger applicants, but it may be asked to applicants of any age. The trick is to integrate the following:
- Commitment – Never say you are planning to leave the company/state.
- Thought – You should always sound like you have a plan.
- Realistic Ambition – You aren’t going to be CEO of the company any time soon.
Provided your answer includes the information above, it should be a good answer. Don’t included any discussion of your personal life (ie, “I hope to be married.” No one cares). Also, feel free and take an opportunity to tout your skills a bit, as you should with every interview question.
“5 years from now I’m hoping to be enrolled full time in graduate school, pursuing an advanced degree in biomechanical engineering.”
So, in other words, you’re going to leave the company. Why hire you then?
“My goal is to be firmly settled in a company, with a clear understanding of my own role in the company’s future. Within 5 years I expect to have excelled in my current tasks, so by then I hope to be taking on new responsibilities related to my field, possibly integrating any new technologies that have been invented between now and then.”
The entire answer focuses on the company you are applying with, and not with your personal life or any selfish/unrealistic goals. You are also showing that you plan on committing to the company, even if you know in the back of your mind that that is not true.
Take Away Interview Tips
- Stay focused on your professional life.
- Show that you plan on staying and growing in the company.
- Keep your answers realistic.