When you’re interviewing for a new job, the interviewer will probably ask you questions about your career and personal goals. It’s likely that he or she will also ask you to think about where you see yourself in five years. This is an interview question that can catch most people off guard. After all, not many of us spend a lot of time thinking about what we want to be doing a specific time from now. However, this kind of question is very common among potential employers as it helps them understand if the interviewee is a good fit for the job and organisation. Here are some tips on how to answer this tricky interview question.
Confirm that you understand the question
This is a simple but important step. Make sure that you have a clear idea of what the interviewer is asking you and that you have time to carefully craft your answer. Don’t just jump in with your first thought — even if it seems like a great idea. First, make sure that it is an appropriate response to the question. Once you are certain that it is, move on to step two.
Discuss why you chose the field you’re in
This may seem overly simplistic, but in reality it is a great way to get the interview off on the right foot. You’re showing the interviewer that you’ve given some thought about your career path, and that you’re making an effort to be a good fit for the organisation.
Mention what excites and drives you in your field
This is a great opportunity to express your passion for your field of work. If you genuinely feel this way, it will come across in your voice and affect the interviewer’s opinion of you. If you don’t feel this way, it will likely show up in your body language and tone, which could be a cause for concern for the hiring manager.
Talk about where you want to be in 5 years
The best way to respond is by giving a thoughtful answer that reflects your intentions and passions without locking yourself into anything. A general guideline when answering this question is to state things like: “If my current role satisfies me, I would ideally like to continue in similar roles with more responsibility over the next few years” or “If my current role doesn’t satisfy me, I would like to broaden my skill set by taking on another role with more growth opportunities in an unrelated field over the next couple of years” – whatever response feels most genuine to you at that moment!
Try to be as specific as possible while remaining flexible. For example, you might say “I would like to be in a role where I’m managing a team and have full autonomy over their work.” This is a pretty general response, but it gives the hiring manager some insight into your thought process.
When the interview is almost over, the interviewer will likely ask if you have any questions for them. This is your opportunity to ask about the company’s goals and work culture. It’s also a great time to bring this interview question full circle by referring back to your own goals. For example, you might ask “What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the company today?” This will show the interviewer that you’ve been engaged in the conversation and that you care about the organisation’s success.