There are three big reasons interviewers love to ask “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?“:
- They want to see if you’ve thought about your professional future
- They want to make sure you’re ambitious and hard-working
- They want to make sure the job they’re offering fits with your goals
So, pick a work-related goal of where you’d like to be 5 years from now, and make sure it’s slightly challenging or ambitious-sounding.
You don’t want to say, “I see myself in the same position 5 years from now.”
And make sure to share a goal that is related to the type of job you’re interviewing for. You want to sound like the experience you’ll gain in this job fits your long-term goals.
Otherwise they’re going to be scared to hire you. Why would they offer you the job if it doesn’t fit the goals you described to them? You’d be unsatisfied, bored, and would probably quit within the first year. No company wants this.
So to recap…
- Show you’ve thought about this topic and question
- Sound ambitious and motivated
- Be realistic. Don’t say you want to be CEO in 5 years if you’re entry-level
- Make sure your answer is related to this job. They won’t hire you for a job that has nothing to do with your 5-year goal
- Be sarcastic or give a joke answer like, “I plan on having your job”
- Say you’re not sure, or say you’d be happy staying in the same role for 5 years (most companies do not want to hear this)
Example Interview Answer:
“I’m glad you asked. In 5 years I see myself taking on more responsibilities, either through management or higher level individual contributions. I’m not sure which path will make sense to pursue, but I know my goal right now is to build a strong foundation and gain valuable experience so that I’ll have a successful future in this industry.”