How to Answer “Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?” (Interview Question)

The problem: Who honestly knows where they’ll be in 5 years? That doesn’t mean you won’t be asked though. And you can definitely use this as a chance to impress… I’ll explain how.

How to Answer: “Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?”

 

The Most Important Thing to Realize

When the interviewer asks where you see yourself in 5 years, they aren’t expecting you to know. The people who say it’s a ridiculous question are being a bit too concrete with it. Relax, take a breath, and keep reading on what to do next.

What Do They Really Want?

So, since they’re not expecting you to accurately predict the future (it’s not like anyone’s going to follow up and check in 5 years anyway), what do they actually want? And why do they ask?

Here’s why they ask you this in your interview:

  1. They want to make sure you’re ambitious and goal oriented
  2. They want to see how much you’ve thought about your professional future
  3. They want to make sure the job they’re offering fits in with your goals

How to Give a Perfect Answer

When you’re telling them where you see yourself in 5 years, you just need to use the points above and give them what they want.

The worst thing you can do is seem like you haven’t put any thought into it at all. You’ll seem like you’re unmotivated or just don’t care.

So, that’s the first step… put some thought into it and prepare an answer. You’re already doing this right now! You don’t want to draw a blank and answer with “uhh.. umm…”

The next step is you need to make sure your answer is slightly ambitious. You don’t want to say, “I see myself in the same position doing the same work as now in 5 years.”

Remember nobody’s going to tap you on the shoulder in 5 years and check on you! You just need to say something that’s a bit challenging but still reasonable.

Then finally, tailor it to the company you’re talking to. How? Make sure the job provides some of the things you’ll need to get to that 5 year goal.

Otherwise you’re going to scare them off. Why would they hire you if the job they’re offering doesn’t fit into the goals you just described to them? It’d be a pretty bad decision to hire somebody whose goals aren’t being met in this job. You’d be unhappy, bored, and probably quit pretty soon. No company wants this.

So you want to set their mind at ease that this job is truly what you want to be doing.

Keep this last piece in mind as you prepare for your interviews and think about how you’ll answer this question for each company you talk to. Always say something that’ll help the company see why you want this job. And don’t ever pick something that’ll make them wonder why you applied.

Got a question on any of this? Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts!

And if you want 7 more questions and answers in similar format, check out this page.

 

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