How to Answer – "Where Do You See Yourself After 5 Years?"

How to Answer – "Where Do You See Yourself After 5 Years?"

Jun 13, 2017

So, where do you see yourself after 5 years?

Well, this will be difficult to answer since you don’t have a time machine. You may also be tempted to share your wishful thinking such as, "I want to be the CEO of this company".

After this, you may start to gaze into the eyes of the interviewer to judge their reaction. You may be jumping with joy inside believing you have hit the bull’s eye.

"Sorry friend, we don’t believe you are that mettlesome." (The interviewer too could be certainly thinking so.)

Sounds disappointing, but it’s true.

In fact, hardly any employer thinks that you possess such extraordinary qualities (otherwise you would not have been looking for such a job in the first place).

The simple reason behind asking this question is to check whether your abilities and temperament are perfectly aligned with your goal.

Be careful, you can be trapped

Unlike many other questions we have explained so far in this series, this question is one that can actually trap you. And it is asked with this motive only.

Mike Simpson, a career counselor, writes: "Yes, the ultimate goal of any good hiring manager is to find an employee to fill their vacancies, but they’re not looking for just anyone.”

Tips for avoiding the 'trap'
  • While answering this question, you will have to keep in mind that your interviewers are interviewing you for a current and not for a future job. They would like to know about your ambition and drive for the job you have applied for; so, you will have to demonstrate that type of commitment.
  • A better approach would be to ask yourself about your career goals. And then research the company and find out a potential growth path for you. This should be the backbone of your answer. Make sure that your answers are broad enough and keep them tailored as per the position that you are being interviewed for.
  • Never try to push yourself into a ridiculous position of power that won’t happen. Keep your aspirations realistic. It is better to look at the restraints in job growth and judge how you might grow and develop within it.
  • If you just throw an imaginary title without caring whether such an advancement is possible or not, it won’t be helpful.
Answer in two parts

This question has two layers and you should answer accordingly. The first part of your answer should focus on the immediate position and in the next part, you should discuss your future plans and expectations.

Sample answer

“I would be glad to answer this. One reason I applied in your company is because of your reputation for helping your employees in their career growth by providing them suitable opportunities. Five years down the road, I see myself growing into a supervisor or manager.”

Summary

By now you must have understood the complexity of this question. However, this is not a very difficult question to answer if you understand the basic psychology behind it.