Answers to the “Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?” Question
Christina Macres | MonsterCollege
May 18, 2010
Tip #2: Be realistic and motivated.
It doesn’t matter how well you answer the five-year question, if you don’t answer it realistically, you’ll lose the respect of your interviewer. For example, it’s probably not the best idea to announce that you’d like to be creative director in five years during your internship interview. Once you’ve presented yourself as unrealistic, good luck trying to get your interviewer to take the rest of your interview seriously.
Tip #3: Communicate that you’re in it for the long haul.
Many interviewers ask this dreaded question to decipher whether you’re just settling for the position or using it as stepping stone for bigger, better opportunities. Assure your interviewer that you’re looking to make a long-term commitment to the company and your career. Do this by stating goals clearly. Make sure to convey that you believe future success comes with everyday excellence. You can steal that last part if you want.
Tip #4: Demonstrate that you’ve read the job description.
Nothing irks an interviewer or is more disappointing than a potential employee who hasn’t done their homework. Not only are you not equipped for the conversation you’re about to have, you’re also confirming that you like wasting people’s time and looking totally unprepared.
What you’re really doing if you don’t prepare and research? You’re just making the interview that much harder on yourself.
Good Idea: Use the company’s strengths to capitalize on your own. For instance, if the company is largely team-based, mention that you’re a good team player and work best in collaborative environments. While you’re answering, use the specific duties listed in the job description to formulate professional goals. Your interviewer will like that you’re knowledgeable and that your goals fit with those of the company.
Remember, going into the interview you should have a clear idea of the working environment, the environment you work best in, and what interests you about the job. This way you can meld those answers into the inevitable “Where will you be in five years?” question.
Tip #5: Walk a fine line.
Meaning, don’t overshare or be too descriptive when describing the next five years of your professional life. Interviewees tend to answer this question either in a personal nature or by delving into the innermost yearnings of what they want for their future careers. Don’t do it! The first response comes off as unprofessional; the second, whiny.
Without going into great detail or mentioning specific positions, communicate to the interviewer that you are motivated, knowledgeable, and eager to take on the position.
Tie your future goals to the potential position and the company’s vision and you’re golden.