Some of the most defining moments in your career will be the interviews you accept. They’ll test your knowledge, force you to self-reflect, and give you a realistic view of where you stand.
Let’s face it, some interview questions are hard to answer, no matter how many times they’ve been asked. One of these questions is, “where do you see yourself in five years?” If you always thought that this was a trick question, it’s not.
This question is asked to determine your level of commitment to your goals and how clear your vision for the future is. Here’s everything you need to know about the question and how to respond.
The Premise—Why the Question Is Asked
Like all questions, there are valid reasons why interviewers ask this one. The first of which is they want to make sure you intend to be employed with the company long-term.
This isn’t unjustified because hiring a candidate means the employer is investing in the individual, and they want to be sure they are making a good investment.
The second reason is that hiring managers want to weed out people who are actually interested in the job and give them a fair opportunity, compared to candidates who are only looking to get into the industry and aren’t really enthusiastic about what the company has to offer.
Now that we know why this question is asked, let’s look at the best way to approach this.
What to Say in Order to Make a Positive Impression
First things first, if you indicate that you plan to pursue other employment opportunities or another career path, prospective employers might consider that a red flag and think you’re not the right candidate for their company. So, if you plan to open your own business during that timeframe, it’s best not to mention it.
Now, here’s what you should say.
Honesty is a great practice, but try to avoid getting into the specifics and focus your responses around your interest in the company, the value you can offer, and your commitment to a long-term career. Remember, the goal is to influence favorable hiring decisions by demonstrating that you are a great fit for the position and your five-year goal is to excel with the same company.
You can say something like, “in the first two to three years, I plan to master the role I’m applying for and become a true expert and asset to the company. After that, I’d love to look into expanding my knowledge around related areas and really get to know the ins and outs of business so I can be useful in multiple areas.”
Keep in Mind That You Need to Lead with Your Skill set
Be sure to lead with your skill set and achievements that not only landed your interview but will also serve as the foundation for your entire career. Showcase your value and relatedaccomplishments to prospective employers, demonstrating your ability to make an immediate and lasting contribution.
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