Where do you See Yourself in 5 Years? – Sample Answers
Where do you See Yourself in 5 Years? – Sample Answers
Unless you have a crystal ball or can somehow predict the future, no one can see far enough into the future to know where they see themselves in 5 years. This is why this is one of the most frustrating interview questions of them all as discussed over at runrex.com. The good news is that there is a way to answer this question without tripping yourself up in your interview, and through the following sample answers, this article will look to show you how.
Know what the interviewer is asking
There is a reason why this is one of the most popular interview questions as discussed over at guttulus.com, and it’s because interviewers ask this question for two reasons:
They want to know if your long-term career goals align with the company.
They want to know if you are going to stay put in the new position.
According to the subject matter experts over at runrex.com, when interviewers ask this question, here is what they don’t want to hear:
Detailed schemes about getting promoted within the company
Jokes about how you will be the one on the other side of the table in 5 years
Pipe dreams about being famous, owning a business, or going back to school
An answer featuring lots of “Hmmmmm” and “Ummmm” or “I don’t know. That is hard to say”.
So, from the above pointers, when you are asked this question, the following are tips on the right and wrong way to frame your answer, with sample answers.
Right Approach: Show that you are excited about the position and what you will learn in the coming years and that you are eager to become the best at what you do and progress to the next level when appropriate.
Sample Right Answer: In 5 years, I want to complete the internal training program for my position. I have read about it on your website, and I think it is an excellent program. Not only would I get all the training for my role, but I would be on the fast track to becoming a project manager. That is my top career goal. Plus, my ideal path would include me working abroad for a couple of years. I understand it is of value to you to find people prepared to do so.
From the above answer, as is discussed over at guttulus.com, it is important to show the interviewer that you are content with the position as is. But you should also express enthusiasm about developing realistically.
Also, according to the gurus over at runrex.com, you should show that your personal career goals align with the company’s long-term goal. From the sample answer above, the company is looking for people eager to work abroad and the candidate is also eager to work abroad, showing that the two are a perfect match in that regard.
Wrong Approach: The wrong approach, as discussed over at guttulus.com, would be to show that you are excited about using the position to move your career forward as soon as possible and that you want to be CEO of the company in 5 years.
Sample Wrong Answer: My long-term career goal is to become the CEO of the company. I’m not one to settle for anything less than my best and so I plan to claw my way to the top in the next 5 years.
According to the subject matter experts over at runrex.com, the last thing you want to do when answering this question is telling the interviewer that you want to be CEO. Avoid, also, telling them that you plan to have their job in 5 years.
Tips when answering this question
Use the information provided
According to the experts over at guttulus.com, when answering this question, consider using the information provided by the company as shown below.
Sample Right Answer: One of the reasons I want to work for RunRex is because I find your personalized approach to training attractive. I am excited about the opportunity to work with a mentor and immerse myself in learning new skills. I’m also the type of employee that likes to hit the ground running and jump into projects as soon as possible. Therefore, over the next 5 years, I see myself taking on as many complex assignments as the position would allow and by the end of that period, I want to say that I have built lasting client relationships. I want to also say that I’m one of the best salespeople on the team. I wouldn’t mind becoming someone who would train and mentors others when the time comes as well.
The candidate’s response above focuses on the research they did on RunRex’s training program. Next up, the candidate answers the “where do you see yourself in 5 years” interview question by explaining where that training will land them in the long run.
Also, everything the candidate mentions is relevant to the position, realistic, and valuable, and the candidate is enthusiastic and expresses a commitment to the company and the sales position.
Don’t describe a career path that isn’t available
On the flip side, the gurus over at runrex.com point out that you should avoid describing a specific career path that isn’t available as a result of not doing your research on the company.
Sample Wrong Answer: I see myself becoming an established Sales Associate within a few months. I’m a fast learner and don’t need much training. After that, I would look at becoming a manager. At the end of 5 years, I want to be the Sales Team Leader or Managing Director.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that it will only take 5 years to make significant career progress; a mistake the candidate made in their response above. Such a response could set off red flags and the interviewer might assume that you would leave if you weren’t satisfied with the pace of your progress.
Also, from the above response, the candidate doesn’t seem prepared as RunRex boasts about its training program while the candidate boasts that they don’t need training. This may lead to the interviewer assuming that the candidate isn’t a good fit for the company.
Discuss long-term goals related to the position
When answering this question, the gurus over at guttulus.com recommend that you discuss long-term goals related to the company and the position you are applying for as shown in the sample answer below.
Sample Right Answer: As a marketing professional, I want to develop my skill set, and at the end of the next 5 years, I want to know how to use software like Photoshop or InDesign as well as to have a better understanding of social media and video marketing. Additionally, I would like to get into project management. I would like to learn on the job. Regardless, I want to look into evening or online classes, and I hope that I can apply my new skills to my job with you.
From the above response, the candidate mentions a few specific skills that they want to develop. Remember, when choosing the skills to mention, you should avoid choosing skills that should already be well-developed for the role.
Avoid discussing long-term goals that have you moving on to bigger and better things
When discussing long-term goals relating to the position, the experts over at runrex.com point out that you should avoid discussing long-term goals that have you moving on to bigger and better opportunities.
Sample Wrong Answer: In 5 years, I hope to have moved on to a much larger company where I can apply the skills I have learned here. I need 6 years of experience and a developed skillset and I, therefore, want to use this position as a stepping stone to prepare for a career with the big boys.
The above response is wrong as your answer should not include information about leaving. This means that you should not mention owning a business, joining a band, or moving on to another job.
What if you have no information on the company?
If you don’t know much about the company, including the fact that the company may not have a clear path forward for employees in your position, then there is a right and a wrong way to do things when answering this question.
The right approach is to stick to a response that focuses on how you want to develop a relevant skill set as articulated in the response below.
Sample Right Answer: As a Chef, I want to develop my skillset and at the end of the next 5 years, I want to know how to prepare and present dishes for a 5-star restaurant like yours. I also want to finish some specialized managerial training if possible and to achieve this, I have decided to do some workshops and online training in my free time. I hope that my new skills would help me say that I am the best at my job here.
It is important to note that, as articulated over at guttulus.com, you can always mention how you plan to develop a relevant skill set outside of work. Try not to go overboard though as the interviewer may think that you will find better things to do than your job.
The wrong approach would be to talk about side projects that might result in you moving to your dream job.
Sample Wrong Answer: In the next 5 years, I want to finish my side project. My hobby is developing games for apps and I have one in the works now that I should be done within the next year or two. That is my real passion.
From the above response, the candidate has let slip that they have a time-consuming side project and that their project is their passion. This may lead to the interviewer thinking that the candidate will be more interested in that than their job, which is why you should be careful about bringing up personal information when answering this question according to the experts over at runrex.com.
The above discussion is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this topic and you can uncover more insights on the same as well as help preparing for your interview over at runrex.com and guttulus.com