Interviewing 101: Answering “Where do You See Yourself in 5 Years?”

Crystal ball image by flickr user JasonLangheine
Crystal ball image by flickr user JasonLangheine

Welcome to the interview question I hate the most and think should be banned from all interviews! “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” Really interviewers?  PLEASE come up with a better way to ask someone what their career goals are!  In fact, “What are your career goals?” is a fine question and one better suited for an interview.  Ok, rant over.  Since not every interviewer in the universe reads this blog, let’s talk about how to answer this question.

The first step in answering this question is to realize that the interviewer is really asking you about your career goals.  This means during your interview prep you’ve listed the goals you want to speak to during the interview.  Perhaps you want to finish your degree and take the next steps in your career once that occurs.  If that’s the case be prepared to speak to what you see those next steps being.  This is your opportunity to share that you have professional goals and that you make a plan.  It’s also your opportunity to show that you’re flexible enough to revisit and revise the plan when necessary.  This is also a great opportunity for you to share the steps your taking to proactively achieve those goals.  If completing your degree is part of those goals but you haven’t even begun looking at schools or degree programs, it wont demonstrate your ability to put a plan in action to achieve those goals.  If your goal is to manage a team of people within your industry, be prepared to speak to how your building your leadership skills, etc.  Always be sure you have evidence that you’re pursuing your goals regardless of whether those goals take 5, 10, 20, or even 50 years to pursue.

 

Happy interviewing!

The Interviewing 101 series provides insight into some of the most common and challenging interview questions.  Be sure to check it out.

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