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

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When you are interviewing for a job, there are certain questions that you will inevitably be asked. One of these is, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

This interview question can be tricky to answer, but it is important to give a thoughtful response as it can give employers important insights that can help to set you apart from other applicants.

Why do employers ask ‘where you see yourself in 5 years’ in an interview?

When interviewers ask the question, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” they are looking to gain insight into your long-term goals, career aspirations and whether or not your personal values align with the company.

Not only that, but they also want to know that you plan to stick around for the long term and that you’ll remain committed.

This question can be difficult to answer, but with a little preparation, you can frame your response in a way that demonstrates your commitment to your career and showcases your ambition whether you’re looking for an entry-level position or a more senior role.

How to answer ‘where do you see yourself in 5 years’

Tailor your answer to the job description

Your goal should be to demonstrate how your long-term goals align with the company’s mission, values, and job description.

For example, if you’re taking job interviews for a job as a marketing manager, you might say that you see yourself in a leadership role within the company, working on innovative campaigns that help to grow the business.

On the other hand, if you are interviewing for a job as a web developer, you might say that you see yourself continuing to develop your skills and staying up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies.

Highlight your skills and achievements

In addition to tailoring your answer to the job description, you should also highlight your skills and achievements that make you the ideal candidate for the job.

For example, if you are applying for a job as a sales representative, you might highlight times that you surpassed your sales numbers in your current role.

If you received any awards or special certifications that demonstrate your ability to excel in the position you’re interviewing for, now is the time to bring them up.

List short-term and long-term goals

Listing both short and long-term goals shows that you are thinking about your career development over the long haul and that you have a plan for how to get there.

Some examples of short-term goals that you might mention include things like completing a certain number of sales within the first year or getting promoted to a management position.

Long-term goals could be things like becoming a partner in the company or helping the company open an international branch.

Be authentic and honest

Hiring managers, employers, and interviewers can spot an inauthentic answer a mile away so being honest in your answer is arguably the most important aspect.

Don’t try to give an answer that you think the interviewer wants to hear or make up a goal that doesn’t align with your personal values.

Be ambitious but realistic

While it’s important to be ambitious in your answer, you also want to make sure that your goals are realistic.

For example, if you are interviewing for a job as an entry-level customer service representative, it might not be realistic to say that you see yourself becoming the CEO of the company within five years.

The key is to find a balance between being ambitious and setting realistic goals.

Keep things general

While it’s good to be specific in your answer when it comes to your skills and achievements, you also don’t want to get too bogged down in the details.

Your goal should be to give a broad overview of your plans and let the interviewer know that you are thinking about your long-term career development.

End with a question when appropriate

Once you have answered the question, it can be helpful to ask your interviewer a question of your own.

This shows that you are interested in the company and that you want to know more about how they can help you achieve your goals.

One question that you might ask could be, “What opportunities for professional development does this company provide?”

VIDEO: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? – Ideal Sample Answer

Career Strategist, Speaker, and Coach, Linda Raynier breaks down the ideal answer to this question into two parts:

  • First 2-3 years of development and mastery while immersing yourself in the role to find areas for improvement.
  • 2-3 years following leveraging your expertise to become a core resource in supporting multiple departments.

Check out her video below for the full breakdown and her sample answers.

Think about where you see yourself in 5 years

Professionally

The best way to approach this question is to think about where you realistically see yourself in the next five years and then articulate that in a way that is positive and shows your enthusiasm for the job.

A hiring manager wants to know that your professional ambitions align with the goals and mission of the company.

Personally

In addition to thinking about your career goals, you should also think about your personal goals and how they might fit into your answer.

For example, if you are looking to start a family in the next five years, you might say that you see yourself continuing to grow in your career while also starting a family.

How the professional side will support the personal side

Explaining how being a success professionally will help to get you where you want to be in your personal life indicates to employers that you value your personal and professional goals and that you’re willing to work hard to make them happen.

Sample answers for “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

Answer for “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

“In five years, I see myself continuing to grow in my career and taking on more responsibility within the company by leveraging the expertise I’ve gained working in this industry for the past 5 years.

I’m also looking to start a family in the next few years, so I’ll be balancing work and home life. I think that my career goals and personal goals will complement each other nicely and help me to achieve a healthy work-life balance.”

Answer for “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

“I see myself in a leadership position, helping to lead and develop a productive and successful team. I believe I’m uniquely positioned for this career path I’ve consistently met or exceeded sales goals in every position I’ve held.

I would also like to continue developing soft skills and technical skills by taking on additional training opportunities. I think that being in a management position will give me the opportunity to do both of these things.”

Answer for “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

“In five years, I see myself as an integral part of the company who has helped contribute to the growth and success of the organization.

I would like to continue developing my skills and knowledge in order to be able to take on more responsibility within the company.

I’m also looking forward to taking on more leadership roles and mentoring other members of the team by utilizing the leadership and mentorship certifications I’ve completed.”

Answer template for “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

In five years, I see myself continuing to develop my skills and expertise in [list skills related to the role] in a [name future position] contributing to the growth and success of the organization.

By leveraging my [x years] of experience in [field/industry/discipline] I believe I’m uniquely positioned to excel in the [role you’re interviewing for].

(Optional) I’m also planning to start/grow my family over the next few years so I’m committed to doing whatever it takes professionally to see that my family is supported.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

If you’re a job seeker thinking about how to answer the question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” it is important to consider your professional and personal goals.

Your answer should show that you are ambitious and have a clear plan for your future. It is also important to demonstrate how your future career plans align with the company’s mission and values.

With the right approach to this question, you can make it clear to employers that you are committed to professional growth that will support the short and future goals of the company and ultimately land you the job you’re looking for.

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