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

In almost any interview, you will probably hear the question “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

When hiring, a company has the responsibility to think about the short term as well as the long term. Companies need to hire people that will provide a benefit to the company immediately, but also in the next 3 years and beyond that.

Your answer needs to show that you are thinking about your career and especially what value you will bring to the company for as long as you are there. 

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

Try not to lie 

Everyone knows that 5 years is a long time and it’s almost impossible to know what will actually happen. That doesn’t mean you can’t give a good answer about your intentions and goals. 

Also, in some sectors, it is more and more common to change jobs every one or two years. This does not mean you should be so honest that you say “Well I plan to stay here for two years before moving on to another company.”

Even if that is your intention, try to talk about your career goals in a more general sense. Talk about the type of project that you would like to work on or the role you would like to have in 5 years. 

This way, you are sending the message that you will stay as long as you feel like you can grow in this company. 

Show some ambition

If you say something like, “in five years I want to be doing the exact same thing I’m doing now,” this will show your interviewer that you have no intention of developing your skills and taking on more responsibility. 

At the same time, you don’t need to say “I want to be the CEO of the company.” Think about some attainable goals that you want and talk about them specifically. 

You could say, “I’d like to be leading a team working on a project related to _______” or “I’d like to develop my skills as a _____ and continue to take on more responsibility.”

Remember to think about the company

One of the big themes you will notice in my blogs is that the interview is not about you. 

Being able to look at yourself from the company’s point of view is the most powerful tool available to you when preparing for an interview.

If the company hires you, they are agreeing to make an investment in you and your development. The return on that investment is the value and income that you bring into the company.

Keep this in mind when answering this question and include phrases like “…so that I can continue to help the company” or “in order to contribute to the company’s mission”

An example answer for the question “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

Now that we’ve talked about being honest, showing your ambition and goals and considering the company, let’s look at a possible answer to this question.

“In five years, I hope to be one of the more experienced members of my team. I intend to be a person that others can come to for help and advice. Maybe I’d even be leading the team. I also hope to have an active role in planning the projects and a reasonable amount of creative control. I feel that in 5 years, my skills will have developed to a level where I can help this company reach its goal to be the top service provider in our region.”

If you can show that you have considered this question well and have a clear plan in mind, you will impress your interviewer and be one step closer to getting the job.