It’s one of the toughest interview questions someone can throw at you.
”Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”
Truth be told, none of us know where we will be in 1,820 days. Heck, most of us don’t know where we will be next year. But don’t worry your hiring manager is not trying to test your psychic ability, they’re simply trying to weigh you up.
This question is designed to see just how ambitious and forward-thinking you are, while also sussing out your loyalty to the company.
So, how do you completely ace it? Well, we’re glad you asked…
Don’t be brutally honest
Yes, yes, you should always be honest in a job interview but there are a few things that you can leave out too. In 5 years time, you might be lying on a sunny beach in Mexico managing your own successful online business remotely but you probably shouldn’t tell your interviewer that.
It’s great to have exciting pipe dreams but this is not the time to discuss them. Keep your bucket list to yourself.
Keep it general
If you are too specific, you run the risk of stating goals that are not realistically achievable in the job available. This will make the hiring manager think that you aren’t a good fit. Instead, keep things general, especially if you do not know the typical career path at the company. For example:
“My goal right now is to find a position at a company where I can grow and take on new challenges. Ultimately, I’d like to assume more management responsibilities and perhaps branch into a strategy role over the next few years.”
Show your enthusiasm for the company
Companies spend a lot of time and money recruiting and training candidates. They don’t want to waste either on an employee that will up and leave in a few months.
Show the hiring manager just how enthusiastic you are about the company and their potential growth opportunities. This should hopefully help to put their mind at ease. Afterall, if you quit within a short period of time this will reflect badly on them.
The last thing you want to do is stumble and mumble your way through the response to this question. Preparation is key but you also don’t want to list off your hopes and dreams in a monotonous tone. Practice talking about your career goals in a casual and natural way. This will require you to actually think about where you want to be going forward and where you see your career going. You don’t need to have it all figured out right away but it will help if you have a rough idea.