How to answer where do you see yourself in 5 years

“Where do you see yourself in five years?”

When a hiring manager asks you this interview question, there may be a few things running through your brain. “Moving (way) up the ranks,” “running this place,” “working for myself,” or “in your job,” for example.

None of which are necessarily things you should say out loud in an interview.

So, how do you answer the question? Watch this quick video, where Muse CEO Kathryn Minshew shares a formula developed by our career expert Lily Zhang. It’ll help you share your goals and ambitions the right way—and not give your interviewer anything to worry about.

(Can’t watch the video at work? Don’t worry—we’ve also copied the transcript below.)

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

So, how do you answer, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

This can feel like a bit of a trick question, because sometimes the answer is, “not in this job,” or, “in your job,” or something like, “at a bigger better opportunity elsewhere.” But none of those are things you actually want to say to a hiring manager.

The good news is you can be honest while still telling them what they really want to know. Do you have realistic expectations for your career? Are you ambitious? And does this particular position align with your growth and goals overall?

For example, one way I like to think about it is: Think about where this position could realistically take you, and think about how that aligns with some of your broader professional goals.

So, for example, you might say, “Well I’m really excited by this position at Midnight Consulting because in five years, I’d like to be seen as someone with deep expertise in the energy sector, and I know that’s something that I’ll have an opportunity to do here. I’m also really excited to take on more managerial responsibilities in the next few years and potentially even take the lead on some projects. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some amazing managers, and so developing into a great manager myself is something I’m really excited about.”

So, what if this position is not a one-way ticket to your professional aspirations? It’s okay to say you don’t really know what the future holds, but you see how this experience could really help in making that decision.

“Where do you see yourself in five years?”

When a hiring manager asks you this interview question, there may be a few things running through your brain. “Moving (way) up the ranks,” “running this place,” “working for myself,” or “in your job,” for example.

None of which are necessarily things you should say out loud in an interview.

So, how do you answer the question? Watch this quick video, where Muse CEO Kathryn Minshew shares a formula developed by our career expert Lily Zhang. It’ll help you share your goals and ambitions the right way—and not give your interviewer anything to worry about.

(Can’t watch the video at work? Don’t worry—we’ve also copied the transcript below.)

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

So, how do you answer, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

This can feel like a bit of a trick question, because sometimes the answer is, “not in this job,” or, “in your job,” or something like, “at a bigger better opportunity elsewhere.” But none of those are things you actually want to say to a hiring manager.

The good news is you can be honest while still telling them what they really want to know. Do you have realistic expectations for your career? Are you ambitious? And does this particular position align with your growth and goals overall?

For example, one way I like to think about it is: Think about where this position could realistically take you, and think about how that aligns with some of your broader professional goals.

So, for example, you might say, “Well I’m really excited by this position at Midnight Consulting because in five years, I’d like to be seen as someone with deep expertise in the energy sector, and I know that’s something that I’ll have an opportunity to do here. I’m also really excited to take on more managerial responsibilities in the next few years and potentially even take the lead on some projects. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some amazing managers, and so developing into a great manager myself is something I’m really excited about.”

So, what if this position is not a one-way ticket to your professional aspirations? It’s okay to say you don’t really know what the future holds, but you see how this experience could really help in making that decision.

How to answer where do you see yourself in 5 years

Ellevate Network How To Answer The “Where Do You See Yourself In Five Years?” Question

You’ve got an interview coming up and you’re doubling down on prep to knock it out of the park.

You’ve tackled the “Tell me about yourself” and “Walk me through your resume” questions. And hopefully you’re armed and ready for some of the more annoying, but still commonly asked questions, like, “What do you consider your biggest strengths and weaknesses?”

One question that might have you stumped is this one: Where do you see yourself in five to ten years?

Let’s be honest: Most people don’t have a clear sense of what five years from now looks like professionally, let alone ten. But, of course, you don’t want to say that.

Believe it or not, there is a way to answer this question in both an authentic and polished way.

The truth is: The person interviewing you probably doesn’t expect you to have a crystal clear idea of what you’re working toward. Nevertheless, there’s a reason why they ask this question.

They ask it to get a sense of whether this job at this specific company makes sense for you. Is it a logical fit? Is it something that you will stick around for and grow with? Will this job give you a reason to get up every day and want to come to work?

Therefore, you have to make sure your answer leaves them knowing that the job you’re interviewing for is going to be a coherent next step. You want to convey it’s in-line with your interests, goals, and potential career path trajectory. But you don’t have to tell them exactly what your future career state looks like in order to do that effectively.

Here’s a simple framework to communicate you’re not 100% sure, but that this position would be a great fit:

To be honest, I’m not 100% sure what the next 5-10 years of my career will bring, so I can’t say with certainty that I know what I’ll be doing then.

But I do know two things for sure. The first is that the day-to-day work I’ll be doing will involve [insert type of activity/responsibilities/skills/tasks that tie directly to that position].

And the second is that it will probably be in the [insert type of sector/industry/type of organization that ties directly to the place you’re interviewing].

For example, let’s say you’re applying for a project manager position at an education nonprofit. Your answer might sound like this:

To be honest, I’m not 100% sure what the next 5-10 years of my career will bring, so I can’t say with certainty that I know what I’ll be doing then. But I do know two things for sure.

The first is that the day-to-day work I’ll be doing will involve a lot of organizing and working with a team. I am confident my executional, organizational, and people management skills will be at the forefront of the type of work I’m doing.

And the second thing I know is that it will continue to be in the education sector, as this is an issue I’m very passionate about and want to continue to work in.

You’ve just managed to tell your interviewer that this role makes sense for you and that the organization and cause you’re working on behalf of is something that you want to continue to build a career in.

Even if you think you’d like to own your own business, or make a shift into corporate project management work, your interview is not the time to say that.

You want to keep your answer as closely tied as possible (without it seeming fake and cheesy) to the position you’re talking to them about.

If the position really does make sense for you given your career history and where you want to go, your answer should be pretty easy to construct with this framework.

Emily Lamia has been helping people grow and develop in their careers for over a decade. In 2015, she founded Pivot Journeys to create experiences to help individuals navigate their next career move and find meaningful work.

How to answer where do you see yourself in 5 years

Ellevate Network is a community of professional women committed to helping each other succeed. We use the power of community to help you take the next step in your…

Ellevate Network is a community of professional women committed to helping each other succeed. We use the power of community to help you take the next step in your career.

How to answer where do you see yourself in 5 years

In many ways, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” is an odd question for an internship or job seeker. After all, you’re interviewing because you don’t know where you’ll be two months from now—forget five years!

While this may seem like an impossible question, there’s no need to panic. This question is actually all about what you hope to be doing in five years—so it’s important for you to prepare before answering. Read on for sample answers, tips and tricks, and common mistakes when it comes to answering this popular interview question.

Crafting a great response

In truth, you could be anywhere in five years. You could be at this job, or you could be running your own business. You could be living in DC or living in Timbuk To. You could have a dog, a turtle, or a llama. But that’s not what your interviewer is looking for. Instead, a strong response should convey that you:

  • Expect to be with this company in five years.
  • Have seriously considered your future (because you’re an ambitious person).
  • Are passionate about this job/company/industry.
  • Want to grow with the company/in this role.
  • Have done your research.

Sample answers to “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

Now, we’ll look at some strong sample answers to this question. Then, we’ll delve into the details of how to craft your own superb response. Here’s an optimal answer:

This is a great answer. It’s specific, it shows ambition, and it indicates that the person expects to build a career with the company. Here’s another strong response:

This answer shows that the candidate plans to stay on for the foreseeable future, building their skills and pursuing progressively more challenging positions. It gets bonus points for showing that the person prepared in advance. They clearly did their research and knew that the company was looking to expand their services abroad—so they used that fact to their advantage.

The interviewer’s mindset

While “Where do you see yourself in five years?” can seem like a silly question, it’s not actually testing your prophetic abilities. By asking this question, the interviewer is trying to gauge your passion and commitment to the job at hand.

The hiring process takes a lot of time, energy, and money for a company. They don’t want to waste these resources on an employee who will leave six months from now, forcing them to start the process all over again. Additionally, employers want employees who are motivated and proactive. If your long-term career goals align with their company, then you’re much more likely to invest in the job—and thus much more likely to be satisfied and productive. Finally, not only does a short-term employee create a drain on the company, but it makes the interviewer look bad.

Common mistakes

You understand what to say, but it’s also important to recognize what not to say. Here are the top mistakes when answering, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

  1. Being too vague or saying, “I don’t know—that’s a long time!” Having no answer is the worst-case scenario for any interview question. For this particular question, saying nothing or being extremely vague gives the impression that you’re not focused on your future, you lack passion, and you just don’t care. It’s a red-flag for any interviewer.
  2. Talking about irrelevant goals. You need to keep your response relevant to the job to which you’re applying. It doesn’t matter if you see yourself living in Spain or having a hit single. If it’s not related to the job, don’t mention it.
  3. Mentioning jobs or companies other than the one to which you’re applying. For instance, you wouldn’t want to say, “I’d really like to start my own company one day.” You want to give the interviewer a glimpse into your potential future at this company.
  4. Not doing your research. Sure, a great answer shows that you’ve conducted research on the company and role on sites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor. But the main reason you need to do research is to avoid making assumptions and being unprepared. Let’s say you’re interviewing for a business analyst role and the company has a strict process for promotions: you move from business analyst to junior consultant to senior consultant to manager, with each promotion taking 2–3 years. If you say, “I’ll be a manager in five years,” you’re showing that you didn’t do your research.
  5. Being unrealistic. Although providing a lofty goal (like becoming CEO) might seem like you’re demonstrating your ambition, it will actually make the interviewer question your judgment and staying power. They may worry that you’ll leave when you realize that your goal is impossible or if you haven’t been promoted in a few months.

Where do you see yourself in five years? In other words …

Keep in mind that there are other ways to phrase, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” The interviewer could also ask:

  • What is your ideal job?
  • What are you looking for with this job?
  • When you think about your career, what’s important to you?
  • Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
  • What are your long-term goals for your career?

Each of these questions really seeks to establish how passionate you are about this career in the long run. Are you looking to stay and continue growing with the company? Or are you looking for a paycheck until something better comes along?

Ultimately, business is all about ROI: return on investment. If you want a company to invest in you, make sure that you tell them what they will receive in return. By positioning yourself as a long-term employee and demonstrating your unwavering enthusiasm, you’ll put the interviewer’s mind at ease and set yourself up for career success.

Check out our other “How to Answer” interview question articles:

Part of preparing for an interview means coming up with answers to common interview questions. “Tell me about yourself?” “Why did you apply for the job?” and “Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses,” are all interview questions you can pretty much count on hearing.

Another common interview question is, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Though expected, it’s not as easy to come up with an answer. After all, without a crystal ball, how can you really see where you’ll be in five years?

Well, while you can’t know exactly where you’ll be in five years, you can have a plan of where you’d like to be in that time. And once you understand why interviewers ask this question, you can create an answer that helps them understand who you are and why you want to work for them.

Why Do Interviewers Ask, “Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?”

Asking a candidate “Where do you see yourself in five years?” might seem like a waste. But hiring managers are truly interested in how you answer because it gives them a lot of information and insight into who you are as a professional and what your long-term goals are. More importantly, it helps them understand how the role and the company fit into your long-term goals—or don’t!

What’s the Plan?

Interviewers ask, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” to find out what your career plans are. Do you know what you want from your career? How will you accomplish your professional goals? Not wanting to move up a rung on a career ladder is perfectly fine, but do you have an overall game plan for your career?

It’s OK to be unsure of where you see your career going in five years. But if you don’t have some idea of what your career plans are, the employer may be hesitant to hire you out of fear that you’ll become bored with the job. Or, worse, that if you don’t have an action plan for yourself, you may never be able to create action plans in the role and move projects forward.

How the Job Fits You

No matter what or how vague your career goals are, the hiring manager wants to understand how this job aligns with your career plans. Will this job just be a quick stop in a larger game plan, or will you stick around in the job and at the company for the long-term? Just because a job title is a good fit for your career plans doesn’t mean this job or company is a good overall fit.

For example, say that you’re applying for a customer support role. If your answer to “Where do you see yourself in five years?” includes something like “as a lead customer support agent,” then the role might be a good fit for you, particularly if there is a large customer support department and you could move up to a lead role.

But, if your answer involves transitioning into a programming role and leading a different team, the job and company may not fit into your long-term career plans, and this could make the hiring manager hesitant to extend an offer.

Do You Really Want This Job?

You may have very valid and legitimate reasons why you’re applying for a specific job that does or does not align with your career goals. However, when the hiring manager asks where you see yourself in five years, they’re also trying to determine how long you might stay in the job or with the company.

Take the above customer support role example. If your ultimate career goal is to move into programming, how long will you be happy in a customer support role? Will you perform the job to the best of your ability and always give it your all? Or, will you become bored and discouraged if the customer support role never leads to programming, leading you to perform poorly or quit in a year?

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

“Where do you see yourself in five years?” seems like a trick question, but it’s not. Honesty, of course, is the best policy. But how you frame your answer is equally important as what you say.

Explain How the Job Fits Your Plan

If you have a career plan that includes an upward or well-defined path, frame your answer in a way that explains how this job helps you move forward. Describe what you hope to learn in the short-term and long-term. Give specific examples of what skills or experiences you hope to gain while in the role and how these will help your career.

Describe What You Hope to Improve

Not every career has an upward trajectory, and not everyone wants to be the head of the department one day. There’s nothing wrong with taking the non-management track. When answering, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” though, you’ll need to explain how this role fits in with your long-term goals and why your long-term goals don’t have an upward trajectory.

“I love being a teacher. Helping people understand things, solve problems, and grow is literally why I get up in the morning. I thought about moving into an assistant principal role, but once I looked into it a little more, I realized that wasn’t the right path for me. That’s more about being an administrator and setting policy, which is just not my thing. So, in five years, I still want to teach, but am interested in working with gifted students to help them hone their skills and really challenge them with work that excites them.”

When You Don’t Know

Even when you aren’t sure where you want to be in five years, you still need to have an answer. Though being honest is always a good bet, saying “No clue” is not going to get you very far.

Instead, explain that you aren’t exactly sure where you want to be and describe how this specific role can help you figure things out. Talk about how you like the field, how the role sounds interesting, and how you think that the job can help you develop a long-term plan. This positions you as someone with a growth mindset who’s committed to learning, even if you don’t have a specific career goal or path in mind.

“Honestly, I’m not totally sure where I see myself in five years. I do know that I want to continue developing my skills in (this field) and want to learn more about it. I don’t know if a management or leadership track is right for me at the moment, but no matter what happens, I know that I want to keep learning and growing within the role and outside of it.”

Plan for Career Success

Having a career plan—even a vague one—is a good idea no matter where you are professionally. It gives you a roadmap to follow on your way to career success. More importantly, it helps you answer, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” as professionally and confidently as possible.

Looking for a new job or interview help? FlexJobs can help! We offer members heavily discounted career coaching and interview help, along with flexible and remote-friendly jobs in more than 50 career categories. Tour our platform today and learn how our solutions can benefit your career!

How to answer where do you see yourself in 5 years

A common job interview question is where you see yourself in 5 years. The question is designed to see if the candidate is interested in working for the company in a long-term capacity. Your answer can connect your professional goals with the company without being disingenuous if it is prepared thoughtfully.

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How to Discuss Where You See Yourself in 5 Years:

How to answer where do you see yourself in 5 years

Read through our guide to perfectly answer the question: “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

How to answer where you see yourself in 5 years.

Mention how you would like to grow within the company.

How to answer where do you see yourself in 5 years

Showing an interest in gaining skills that you can give back to the company is an attractive answer for most employers. It shows an eagerness to develop skills as well as return the investment in your education to the company.

Show an interest in working on future projects.

How to answer where do you see yourself in 5 years

Do some research on the projects that the company is currently working on and reference these when talking about the types of projects you would like to be involved in in the future.

Indicate that you would like to expand your skills to be more competent in your role.

How to answer where do you see yourself in 5 years

Explain how you would like to become more competent in the skills you already have so that you can be more useful in the role you are applying for. You may mention an interest in becoming the head of the department or taking on more responsibility.

Answers to “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

1. Managing a department.

In five years I would like to have a better understanding of how to lead a team. I believe that this position will give me the opportunity to learn management skills through training and taking on more leadership roles until I can confidently manage a department.

This answer shows an interest in gaining more experience through your time at the company and using your skills to continue working there in a more senior capacity.

2. Leading new projects.

This company has always been at the forefront of industry-defining projects, and in five years I would like to become more involved in research, perhaps even bringing new projects to the company. So many industry leaders choose to work here, and I would love to learn from them.

In this answer, the candidate shows knowledge of and interest in the work that the company does and indicates that they would like to contribute to the company’s reputation for industry-leading projects. The candidate also shows a willingness to learn from others.

3. Having completed training and earned a Master’s degree.

In five years I would like to have completed any necessary training programs for my role, and broadened my skill set through online learning or company-recommended programs. This will allow me to become involved in more projects that the company undertakes.

This answer reflects a desire to develop your skills so that you can be of better use to the company. It reassures the company that their investment in your training will be returned.

4. With proficiency in Photoshop and social media management.

At present, I have a good understanding of social media and how to use its algorithms, but I would like to complete more formal training on it so that I can manage platforms more confidently. I would also like to become proficient in Photoshop so that I can create social media graphics myself. I think this would streamline the content creation process.

This answer reflects a desire to learn skills specific to the role as well as skills that will allow you to take on more responsibilities. It shows an interest in becoming more valuable to the company and taking initiative to be more efficient.

5. As an industry expert.

This position offers the opportunity to work with several departments and learn various new skills that I have not been exposed to before. I hope to learn more about the company this way, as I will likely be working with different individuals on a range of projects. In five years I would like to be considered an expert on our products and be able to make suggestions that drive the company forward.

This answer shows a desire to gain new skills and learn more about the company itself. By mentioning this, it shows that you are interested in developing the company further in a long-term capacity.

Part of preparing for an interview means coming up with answers to common interview questions. “Tell me about yourself?” “Why did you apply for the job?” and “Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses,” are all interview questions you can pretty much count on hearing.

Another common interview question is, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Though expected, it’s not as easy to come up with an answer. After all, without a crystal ball, how can you really see where you’ll be in five years?

Well, while you can’t know exactly where you’ll be in five years, you can have a plan of where you’d like to be in that time. And once you understand why interviewers ask this question, you can create an answer that helps them understand who you are and why you want to work for them.

Why Do Interviewers Ask, “Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?”

Asking a candidate “Where do you see yourself in five years?” might seem like a waste. But hiring managers are truly interested in how you answer because it gives them a lot of information and insight into who you are as a professional and what your long-term goals are. More importantly, it helps them understand how the role and the company fit into your long-term goals—or don’t!

What’s the Plan?

Interviewers ask, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” to find out what your career plans are. Do you know what you want from your career? How will you accomplish your professional goals? Not wanting to move up a rung on a career ladder is perfectly fine, but do you have an overall game plan for your career?

It’s OK to be unsure of where you see your career going in five years. But if you don’t have some idea of what your career plans are, the employer may be hesitant to hire you out of fear that you’ll become bored with the job. Or, worse, that if you don’t have an action plan for yourself, you may never be able to create action plans in the role and move projects forward.

How the Job Fits You

No matter what or how vague your career goals are, the hiring manager wants to understand how this job aligns with your career plans. Will this job just be a quick stop in a larger game plan, or will you stick around in the job and at the company for the long-term? Just because a job title is a good fit for your career plans doesn’t mean this job or company is a good overall fit.

For example, say that you’re applying for a customer support role. If your answer to “Where do you see yourself in five years?” includes something like “as a lead customer support agent,” then the role might be a good fit for you, particularly if there is a large customer support department and you could move up to a lead role.

But, if your answer involves transitioning into a programming role and leading a different team, the job and company may not fit into your long-term career plans, and this could make the hiring manager hesitant to extend an offer.

Do You Really Want This Job?

You may have very valid and legitimate reasons why you’re applying for a specific job that does or does not align with your career goals. However, when the hiring manager asks where you see yourself in five years, they’re also trying to determine how long you might stay in the job or with the company.

Take the above customer support role example. If your ultimate career goal is to move into programming, how long will you be happy in a customer support role? Will you perform the job to the best of your ability and always give it your all? Or, will you become bored and discouraged if the customer support role never leads to programming, leading you to perform poorly or quit in a year?

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

“Where do you see yourself in five years?” seems like a trick question, but it’s not. Honesty, of course, is the best policy. But how you frame your answer is equally important as what you say.

Explain How the Job Fits Your Plan

If you have a career plan that includes an upward or well-defined path, frame your answer in a way that explains how this job helps you move forward. Describe what you hope to learn in the short-term and long-term. Give specific examples of what skills or experiences you hope to gain while in the role and how these will help your career.

Describe What You Hope to Improve

Not every career has an upward trajectory, and not everyone wants to be the head of the department one day. There’s nothing wrong with taking the non-management track. When answering, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” though, you’ll need to explain how this role fits in with your long-term goals and why your long-term goals don’t have an upward trajectory.

“I love being a teacher. Helping people understand things, solve problems, and grow is literally why I get up in the morning. I thought about moving into an assistant principal role, but once I looked into it a little more, I realized that wasn’t the right path for me. That’s more about being an administrator and setting policy, which is just not my thing. So, in five years, I still want to teach, but am interested in working with gifted students to help them hone their skills and really challenge them with work that excites them.”

When You Don’t Know

Even when you aren’t sure where you want to be in five years, you still need to have an answer. Though being honest is always a good bet, saying “No clue” is not going to get you very far.

Instead, explain that you aren’t exactly sure where you want to be and describe how this specific role can help you figure things out. Talk about how you like the field, how the role sounds interesting, and how you think that the job can help you develop a long-term plan. This positions you as someone with a growth mindset who’s committed to learning, even if you don’t have a specific career goal or path in mind.

“Honestly, I’m not totally sure where I see myself in five years. I do know that I want to continue developing my skills in (this field) and want to learn more about it. I don’t know if a management or leadership track is right for me at the moment, but no matter what happens, I know that I want to keep learning and growing within the role and outside of it.”

Plan for Career Success

Having a career plan—even a vague one—is a good idea no matter where you are professionally. It gives you a roadmap to follow on your way to career success. More importantly, it helps you answer, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” as professionally and confidently as possible.

Looking for a new job or interview help? FlexJobs can help! We offer members heavily discounted career coaching and interview help, along with flexible and remote-friendly jobs in more than 50 career categories. Tour our platform today and learn how our solutions can benefit your career!

“Where do you see yourself in five years?” is probably today’s most dreaded interview question all over the world. It doesn’t just shake anybody to the bones, it also comes in different shapes and manners like:

  • What’s your definition of success?
  • What are your long-term career objectives?
  • What do you expect from this job?

The questions listed above are just three of the numerous variations of the dreaded “Where do you see yourself in five years”. As an applicant, while attending interviews, it is important to know that it is very normal for you to have to answer this question whether it comes in this form or other forms.

Before we talk extensively on how to answer “the where you see yourself in five years” question, let’s look at why interviewers never fail to ask that particular question albeit in different manners.

  1. The first thing you need to understand is that interviewers are not asking you this question because they expect you to be able to predict the future. And even if you do possess any sort of psychic powers, do not attempt to predict your own future.
  2. Another thing you should take into cognizance is the fact that this question as vague as it sounds is an attempt to take a road trip into your mind and a perfect way for a recruiter to gauge how you think as a person in relation to your career objectives, so do not be surprised if you’re hit with this same question but with only differing semantics in one or more interviews.
  3. Most companies are always on the lookout for new employees who in one way or the other fit into their long-term plans and not someone who’s not interested in commitments but only looking to fill a space in their life just until they get better offers.

It is a good thing we took the time to look at the “why” as it has given us an insight on how recruiters or hiring managers think when they pose this question and well if you as an applicant already have an idea of what your hiring manager will hit you with, then there’s nothing stopping you from securing that job despite the array of questions that might be posed.

Now, let’s take a serious look at how to answer this question in whatever form it comes at you.

The first thing to do when posed with this question is to realize that it has no definite answer and no one knows where he or she will be in five years, likewise, the interviewer does not expect you to.

Therefore, there is no particular script that should be followed as far as the question is concerned.

Instead, what your interviewer is looking forward to hear is your career hopes and aspirations and how they can fit into the company. Therefore, be simple and be down to earth.

In some cases, honesty is very important but you should also know that if being honest about your career goals might not fit into the company’s then simply tell the interviewer what they want to hear and leave honesty outside the room, unless, of course, you have a better offer somewhere.

You should also be aware that in your attempt to impress the recruiter by telling them what they would rather hear, conduct a proper research before plunging in to tell them how perfect you are for that specific role.

Many applicants out of excitement flunk their interviews because they sound too ambitious and it looks like if employed they will be gunning for their boss’ jobs which you never can tell might even be the one conducting the interview.

One of the best ways to answer this question is to predict where a specific position in the said company can take you realistically and connect it with how you’d like to be perceived in the general professional sense.

This gives your interviewer the sense that you’re not just thinking about growing professionally, but you’re also thinking to grow hand in hand with the company.

How to Answer Where do You See Yourself in 5 Years Example

  • I’m exceptionally delighted about being a part of Solution Logics Incorporated because in the next five years, I’d love to be perceived as an expert petrochemical engineer and I believe Solution Logics Incorporated as a leader in the petroleum industry is the best training ground for someone like me who’s willing to contribute to the society. I’m equally excited about the prospects of working with some of the most brilliant minds in Europe.

You should also be aware that revealing to your recruiter the possibility of a dream job which is different from the one you’re currently applying for will ultimately lead to a dent in your employment prospects as companies are usually not very excited by the fact that they might be mere second choices.

Also, the job of a recruiter is generally not a very interesting one as recruiters usually have to interview thousands of young aspirants just like you, therefore, it gets to a point where their job eventually becomes mechanical and boring.

A recruiter in this position as you can probably assume will not be excited to waste their time on applicants whom the first impression they get off them is that they are not generally exceptional and might even just have dreams of making it in another industry or company.

For example, as an applicant, if in five years, you see yourself as a leading Food Technologist; it might be very hard to convince a recruiter that you’d be a good fit for a Customer Service firm.

While considering how to answer “a where do you see yourself in five years question”, it would be in your own best interests to avoid lying to your recruiter, although you are not required to reveal all your plans especially if they might not be plans that are in concordance with the company goals.

Lying to a recruiter might get you into a job but you’ll only end up shooting yourself in the leg if eventually that lie is discovered.

Finally, while answering this question, let the interviewer realize how interested you are in the opportunity to start work as soon as possible and, of course, how flexible you are at this, therefore, opens you up to prospects of other positions in the same company in case you’re not the best fit for the particular role you have applied for.

I hate to go to a job interview and get the question “Where do you see yourself in five years?” It’s such a stupid question. Who cares where I see myself in five years, considering nobody is going to make me a five-year-long job offer?

Is it really any of their business what I want to be doing in five years?

I’ve worked for companies that didn’t last five years. My long-term plans are my business, aren’t they?

How should I answer the question “Where do you see yourself in five years?” without saying “I’m not sure that’s any of your business” (and immediately losing any chance at getting the job)?

Watch on Forbes:

I agree that the interview question “Where do you see yourself in five years?” is pointless and insulting, but that is unfortunately true of almost every question in the standard corporate-and-institutional interview script.

It could be 1955 all over again based on the questions interviewers ask!

However, as you point out you have to answer the interview questions they ask you, not the ones you wish they would ask.

Here are five answers to the question “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In the seven years I’ve been working so far I’ve moved from college admissions to the heating and cooling business to legal services, and it’s been a great journey.

I’m learning so much in my travels and I think it’s because I take jobs where I feel great about the company and the people, as opposed to focusing on one industry. That’s my plan for next five or ten years, also. What about you?

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Looking back over the past five years, I would never have predicted that at this point in my life I’d be doing the kind of work I do. Given the pace of change these days I would not presume to say that I know what I’ll be doing five years out — but if I’m alive at that point I know I’ll be working hard on something exciting, alongside smart and committed people.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I love Accounting and don’t expect to change careers but then again, there are so many ways to use an Accounting background that I could be doing almost anything in five years!

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I would like to try a leadership role in the future. I’d like to work more closely with customers over time, as opposed to the back-office roles I’ve had so far. At some point I’d like to go back to school for a masters degree. Will all that happen within five years? Who knows — but those are some of my goals.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I want to travel for business down the road, when I’m ready. That’s one of the things that interested me in your company — the fact that you have offices all over the world. What is the typical career path for a person who joins your company in this role?

Before your next interview, ponder the question “Where do you see yourself in five years?” and construct an answer that feels real and true for you. Then you’ll never worry about answering this question again!