Where do you see yourself in 5 years? That's the question!
One of the most famous questions in job interviews is: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? I don’t know about you, but I’ve done a lot of job interviews during my career, and in practically every job interview I got this question: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
And then I always thought: In five years from now? Who can look so far into the future? I even don’t know how my next week will look like, let alone my future in 5 years from now! And by the way, dear interviewer, do you know yourself where you will be in 5 years from now? And do you have any clue whatsoever where your company or your department will be in 5 years from now?
Later, I came to understand that this particular interview question had a goal. As soon as I realized that, my response to the question "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?", became totally different.
So, why do interviewers ask you this question anyway?
And how can you benefit from this question?
Please read on to discover the 4 magic ingredients which will help you in answering this question in a way that will make you stand out from the crowd!
Why interviewers ask you: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
As I came to think of this question, which at first I found foolish, I thought: while every interviewer is asking me this very same question, there must be some overarching goal.
But what is it?
Well, my take on this is that the interviewer wants to see if you are capable of thinking more strategically. Like a chess player, are you able to think two or three steps ahead? And at the same time, the interviewer likes to understand if you understand both the roles of the company and department you are applying for and how you will fit into that. Furthermore, the interviewer likes to know if his company and department are playing a role in your future or not. Why invest in someone who is not interested in working for the company?
Succeeding in the role you are applying for means that you have to fit into the organization’s objectives as well. So, the better you are aligned with that, the better candidate you will be for the interviewer.
Other variants you might hear the interviewer ask you might be questions like:
* How does success looks like for you in this position?
* What are you looking for in a new job?
* What is important to you in your career?
* What are your long-term career goals?
In essence, these questions come all down to the question: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hiring managers are looking for possible red flags when interviewing candidates. If they only would ask about familiar situations which play a role in the job right now, then it is easier for job candidates to give standard routine answers which every candidate would give. This provides the recruiter with a good idea, of course, about how capable you are, but not about how you think about your job and about what drives you and motivates you. That’s why they ask you questions like "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” because this will force the candidate to talk about his vision for the future.
While this question is more abstract than the standard interview questions, it will reveal more of the internal drives and motivations of the job candidate. And this is what recruiters want.
So, how do you answer this question in the best possible way?
By the way: a job interviewer doesn’t expect you to have psychic powers or so. He or she very well knows that no one really knows how the future will look like. So, important in answering this question is more the way you answer the question than the actual content of your answer.
How to answer the question: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Before you go to the job interview, already start thinking about how to answer the question Where do you see yourself in 5 years with regards to the company you are applying for. The vital key to answering the question is that it will feel natural for the recruiter that you belong to the company, that you are part of its future.
You do this by helping him to create this picture in his head.
Follow these three guidelines to help you create an answer which will be compelling in the ears and eyes of the interviewer:
It’s no coincidence that most recruiters will ask the question “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” It’s a great question to test a couple of things at the same time. Does the job candidate have a vision? Does he fit in the company? What are the possible red flags?
At the same time, this question gives you as the job candidate a wonderful opportunity to stand out from the crowd. Picture a compelling future scenario where you are part of the company fulfilling the needs of the company. Bring it with enthusiasm and authenticity, and you will be the one who the recruiter will remember at the end of the day.
Over to you
Please, leave a comment below by telling us how you deal with answering the question where do you see
yourself in 5 years from now? Thank you already in advance for sharing your thoughts and insights!