// Questions in Focus: How to respond to "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?"
by Linjie, 29th June 2016
Picture this, sitting across from your interviewer at your dream company and they ask the dreaded question: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?. However, there is no need to fear, no interviewer expects candidates to know exactly what they are going to be doing in 260 weeks. All they want to know is how the position you are applying for fits into your plans. In view of this, this question is actually easier than it seems and here are three things you should keep in mind while answering.
1. Avoid specifics
Keep your answer general, especially if you do not know a lot about the typical career path at the company. For most interview questions, we would recommend being as specific as possible - especially when it comes to competency-based questions. However, this is the exception. Make your answer truthful, but broad enough that it does not raise doubts about whether you would be a good fit for this position at this organization.
2. Interest in the company
Stress your interest in a long-term career at the company especially if it is your first job or you are from outside the UK. Your interviewer wants to know that you are ready to settle in and grow with the firm. Answering completely truthfully would be a mistake as anything could happen. The company could go out of business or you could change your career path. However, remember that the organization is going to be investing considerable time, energy, and money in hiring and training someone for this job. You must at least show an honest intention to stay long enough to be a good investment. Especially if you have not spent a long time at your previous jobs, it is important that you stress your commitment to this one.
3. Passion for the position
Demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job as an exciting next step for you. Most importantly, make it clear that you are motivated to take on this opportunity right now. As you have hopefully done some research before the interview, make sure to include some in-depth details about the company and how your future fits into its values and development.
Some questions are not as direct and cliche as the ‘5 years’ one so make sure you have a stock answer for the following questions:
- What are your long-term career goals?
- What is your ideal job at this stage in your career?
- What are you looking for?
- How do you define success?
- What’s most important to you in your career?
If you need more advice on how to face specific interview questions, head over to our blog. We also recommend getting in touch with one of our qualified coaches in order to receive some more tailored advice.