Job Interview Question & Answer: Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?
Reason for the Question
A common question hiring managers ask during a job interview is, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” While sometimes difficult to answer, a candidate’s reply often reveals their motivations, priorities, and future career goals. Depending on the answer’s quality, the interviewer can make an informed decision regarding a worker’s long-term or short-term employment with the company.
How to Respond
At an interview, candidates need to demonstrate qualities the manager finds beneficial. A job seeker’s response to this question should clearly explain if they see themselves advancing in the company in the next five years. Focusing on positive traits like ambition, determination, and a willingness to grow can impress managers and help you land the job.
Responses to Avoid
Candidates should avoid vague, non-committal answers that do not outline their desire for success. These responses indicate that a potential employee lacks direction and self-motivation, both of which are important for business growth. Also, avoid answers that include unrealistic or out-of-touch plans for the future that might be a red flag for employers.
Example Replies to “What Do You Hope to have Accomplished in Five Years?”
When describing where you see yourself in the next five years, remember to stay on topic and focus on concrete ideas. Showing managers your ability to visualize and communicate well-defined plans can increase their confidence about hiring you. Look over these sample answers to help you come up with a response that works for you.
Sample Answer 1 – Grocery Store Cashier
“I am very interested in business and currently attend a finance program at my local college. In five years, I see myself working as an accountant or financial advisor for a grocery chain. I want to use the skills and knowledge I gain working here to help me achieve that goal.”
Sample Answer 2 – Restaurant Cook
“I see myself working as a kitchen manager in five years. My mom and dad are both amazing cooks, and I want to follow in their footsteps. I also like the idea of managing a team of like-minded people who work hard to keep our customers fed.
Sample Answer 3 – Hair Stylist
“In five years, I see myself running my own salon here in the city. I’m almost finished with my courses at a cosmetology trade school, and I’ve always aspired to start a business, so pursuing both feels like a natural fit. The experience I’ll gain here in the next five years will be invaluable to me when I set out on my own.
Things to Keep in Mind
Preparing a response to “Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?” is essential to communicating your goals effectively. Keep the following things in mind when you’re developing your answer:
- Stay on topic and focused during your response.
- Outline specific steps you’ll take to end up where you want in five years.
- Detail how working for this company will help you realize your future goals.
Concise answers are more effective than long, meandering responses, so practice your reply until you feel confident and prepared for the interview.
We asked this question as mock interviews, and here are some of the responses we heard:
Answers like these are very common, and unfortunately, they won’t set you apart from the competition.
Before the interview, research the company and the job posting to determine what the company’s needs are. What problems do they face?
Next, think about the qualities that you have which can address those problems. Have two or three bullet points, which you could use to prove that you are an excellent choice for the job. Things you could highlight could be training, unique skills, or amount of time in the industry.
Be as specific as possible in your answer. Interviewers are numb to broad statements. They hear things like, “I’m a hard worker” all the time. You will be a much more enticing candidate if you spell out how you can help the company in a specific way.
If possible, use past experiences with quantifiable success to prove your point.
Here’s an example answer that an interviewer would like:
“I have over six years of project management experience and a history making floundering teams more productive. In my last three positions, I surpassed my all of the company’s productivity goals. I move fast and make results happen quickly. I know how much this company values efficiency, and that’s why I am excited to get your budding projects running optimally in no time.”
Remember to keep the response concise and unique. With a little bit of preparation for this question, you will stand well above the competition.