Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Undoubtedly, all of us have either asked, or been asked this question sometime in our lives. But how do we answer that question in an interview setting?

To understand how to answer this question, we first must look at what the employer is REALLY asking. Or in other words, why the employer is asking this question. What is he or she looking for?

Interviewer’s Objective

When an interviewer asks you, “where do you see yourself in 5 years” the interviewer is looking for several things. Some of those things include personal drive, personal vision, career interests and commitment. Employers love employees with these personal attributes. Employers also want to see if your vision aligns with the company’s vision. In other words, are both of you moving in the right direction.

Find and Tell Your Story

The first step to answering this question is to find your story. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What would you like to be doing? Who would you like to be?

After you have answered these questions, tell your story to the employer in a way that is relevant to the company. For example, if you see yourself being a leader in the business world in 5 years, tell your employer about how you see yourself being a leader and how you think this company will help you accomplish your goals.

 

Some Do’s and Don’ts

While the advice above may seem simplistic, it turns out there are additional things you need to be made aware of when you are answering this question.

For example, when you are answering this question, DO the following:

  • Look your employer in the eye
  • Be brief but specific.

 

DO NOT do the following:

  • Go off track. Remember the objective of this question. Answer in a way that accomplishes this objective.
  • Make it all about yourself. Yes, the employer wants to know more about you, but they are far more interested in what you can do for them.

Other Tips

Like any interview advice, it is always good to practice answering this question before you get into the interview. Find a friend or someone you trust and be sure to practice your answer on them. Also, be sure to ask around to those you trust about how they think you should answer this question.

Conclusion

Remember what the employer is REALLY asking you. Be sure to share your story in a way that is relevant to yourself and the company. And always remember, you got this!

Categories: Careers

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