Probably one of the trickiest interview questions (and definitely one of the most cliché), finding the perfect answer to “where do you see yourself in 5 years?” can be a minefield.
Although when answering most interview questions (like ‘do you have any questions for me?’ and ‘why should we hire you?’) we advocate being as specific as possible, in this case being vaguer about your goals is likely to be the better approach.
Working out the best way to answer this interview question requires careful consideration – because you need to avoid sounding unrealistic, while at the same time making sure that you don’t seem indifferent.
Read our complete guide to Interview Questions.
Where do you see yourself in five years video summary
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Where do you see yourself in 5 years examples
“In 5 years time I would like to have proven to management that I have the drive and determination to significantly help the business grow by making some really positive steps forward, while building strong relationships with clients and colleagues along the way.
I would be delighted if the opportunity of further progression arose, but in order to reach this point I understand that I would need to successfully fulfil this position first.”
“My career plan for the next five years is to push myself to excel in every challenge I am faced with and take on more and more responsibility. I saw on your website you have a mentor scheme which I think is a great idea for new employees starting the company and something that I would be keen to get involved in.
If the opportunity arose, I would of course be interested in further job progression, maybe even leading a small team, but I understand that any extra responsibility comes with time once I have proven myself and helped the company to grow.”
“I’m a very ambitious individual and I would say I am the type of person to just get stuff done! 5 years down the line I will have achieved goals for the company as well as personal goals for myself.
I would welcome the opportunity for advancement, perhaps to a supervisor or managerial position, where I can continue to grow with the company, influencing and supporting other employees in their career paths.”
What to avoid when answering ‘where do you see yourself in 3 years?’
– Being unrealistic
When answering this common graduate interview question, it’s important to stay in check.
Saying you want to be a CEO in 5 years time will be a big red flag to any employer.
Not only is this likely to make you sound egotistical, but it’s also, let’s face it, an unrealistic expectation – one that may indicate to the employer that you won’t be fully committed to this job role.
– Underselling yourself
Equally, you need to be careful not to undersell yourself when explaining your 5 year goals.
Saying that you’d still like to be in this role in 5 years time is a big no-no – you want the employer to know that you have ambition, and are looking to progress at their company rather than staying in the same position.
– Saying you don’t know
And finally, avoid saying that you don’t know where you see yourself in 5 years time!
By asking this interview question the employer wants to know that you have clear career goals and that you are committed to the opportunity – saying that you don’t know is likely to make you sound uninterested.
No one can predict exactly what they’ll be doing in 5 years time – but to avoid falling into a trap during your interview, make sure to prepare your best answer to this age-old interview question.
Variations of the interview question “where do you see yourself in 5 years?”
- What are your goals for the future?
- What are your career goals?
- Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
- How do you plan to achieve your goals?
- What is your 5 year career plan?
- Where do you see yourself after 15 years?
- What are your career aspirations for the next 1-3 years?
- What are your long-term career objectives?
- What are your short-term career goals?
- What are your future plans?