"Where Do You See Yourself In 5 Years": Key Tips & Samples

5 min

Generally, common generic interview questions appear to be the most confusing for specialists. The reason is that applicants want to make their answers unique yet not clash with the company's job vision. However, instead of trying to compose a profound and explicit response in advance, experienced job seekers try to understand what such questions imply and how to choose the best approach in different situations — which is not that challenging! Keep reading to learn more on how to answer "where do you see yourself in 5 years" the best way possible during the interview.

Why recruiters keep asking this question

It shouldn't be surprising that hiring managers look for candidates with a high level of self-understanding who know what they strive for and are ready to continue their professional learning process in the working environment to achieve their goals. Prioritizing stability is appreciated as well because companies try to make sure that potential employees will effectively contribute to their development. The "where do you want to be in 5 years" question is super effective for spotting all these traits and assessing the potential of a candidate in this company.

So, to nail the answer, you should demonstrate your competence in terms of understanding a standard career path within the field while sharing some of your ambitions for desired skills and directions of self-improvement.

5 tips for answering the "how do you see yourself in 5 years" question

1. Clarify the plans personally

No doubt that if you aren't sure what you are pursuing in your professional life, it will be almost impossible to formulate and convey this to the hiring team. If you don't want to feel uncomfortable during interviews, answer yourself about what made you take up working in the field and what you hope to accomplish with such experience.

2. Decide your ambitions

Different people prefer differing development directions, so try to understand what would make you feel well about your career accomplishments. Then, what about you? Would you like to grow within a specific industry or expand your competence to multi-professionalism? Where the highest would you put yourself in the industry vertical? There is much to think of for a candidate.

3. Describe the role of the job

Your primary task in the "where do you see yourself in five years" type of question is to convince the company that applying to work in their company is compatible with its development vision and your personal aspirations. To succeed in this step, clearly define this particular job's place in your plan. 

4. Stick to the realistic view

Knowing your worth always works when it comes to balancing our wishes, goals, and current circumstances. Set challenging yet realistic future checkpoints for yourself while taking into account the working environment around you, especially what is beyond your control.

5. Complement other information

Try to polish your response by avoiding information that might sound off, irrelevant, or does not match your CV and other answers. Making such mistakes may make your professional vision seem a bit inconsistent, affecting the impression of your technical competence.

"Where do you see yourself in 5 years": sample answers

Example #1

As a project manager with six years of experience behind me, I am eager to continue developing professionally in the field. At this point in my career path, I am confident with internal company projects or projects for the domestic market, so in 5 years, I aim to be leading the work on the international level. In fact, this aspiration was the reason I decided to apply for this vacancy, as the company's approach implies combining both directions. So, I believe this working environment will provide enough space to improve what I already do well, gain the necessary skills, and learn new tactics for reaching my professional goals.

Example #2

I started my journey as a designer only two years ago, so I still have a lot to learn and discover, being a relative beginner. However, in 5 years, I will have figured out my professional goals by getting to know the industry way better. Besides, I am sure that a significant improvement in my technical competence, especially client management, will allow me to think about senior job positions. As for now, I am convinced that growing together with this company will set a lot of exciting challenges for me, and I look forward to using them as opportunities to invest in my proficiency and contribute to the company's work.

Example #3

Having begun in the sales manager position, I had never planned to change my job, but working with many people made me understand that I wanted to sway from sales to human resources. As a result, I have three years of sales experience and two years of HR. However, I never wanted to burn bridges, so in 5 years, I picture myself leading a big team, employing my knowledge from both backgrounds. I also seek to advance my competence, so I am here to dive into learning the company's toolkit of leadership and managing so that I can grow as a specialist.

DON'Ts for answering the question

  • Don't avoid responding! As mentioned before, asking this question is rational, so laughing it off, delivering a poorly-sustained answer, or simply admitting that you haven't thought about your goals yet will make the hiring manager doubt your motivation for the job.
  • Don't be too precise! The future is highly unpredictable, so avoid putting your prospects under strict limitations. Besides, demonstrating your ability to adapt will show your stress resilience and high professional level one more time.
  • Don't rush to extremes! Neither underestimating nor overestimating your capabilities will work well during the interview, as both ways of describing what you aspire for in this position. Instead, it would be more practicable to play somehow safer in order to stay down to earth.

Ready for successful interviews? Then, you should check Hirin.co — a cool job searching site where all salaries, vacancies' range, and candidate expectations are shown to everyone.

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