Help on answering "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?"

There are dozens of possible questions that the interviewer may ask you at a job screening. You're going to have to come prepared, because the professional tasked with vetting you and your credentials is an expert at penetrating beneath the surface to reveal the real you. We at help clients prepare for their job interview by going over the kinds of sample answers that the HR person is looking for. But before we do that, we like to dissect a question to locate its standalone parts. This helps us to visualize the purpose of the question, consider its wording, and propose appropriate responses.

Breaking down "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?"

To understand the question, let's deconstruct it into two components. The first component is reflexive because it asks you to talk about yourself. How you approach such a question makes all the difference in the world. If you respond too assuredly, it can come off as pompous. If you respond too haphazardly, then it may seem like you're not trying. The key is to find the comfortable medium, the space where you portray yourself as having a good head on your shoulders. The second component is the forward-looking aspect of the inquiry. Professionals who are not thinking ahead are not very professional. In a job interview, it's crucial that you display a tendency to think of your future in progressive terms. Never lie, but tell the truth in a way that highlights your ability to grow into positions, and surpass expectations.

Why do they ask it?

The hiring manager wants to see if you'll be a good fit for their plans in this position. Perhaps you're dealing with a contractual, limited agreement. Maybe you'll be an FTE (full-time employee). Perhaps this position is meant to test whether you're liable to succeed elsewhere in the company. The point is that they want to see whether you are malleable. How you answer is also interesting to them. The best answer leaves no room for their interpretation of your motivations. You want to move up in the world, and this position is the vehicle to do so.

Appropriate where do you see yourself in 5 years answer examples

Just to give you an idea of what can do for you, we'll talk briefly about distinct ways in which you may respond to this particular question. Imagine you are applying for a mid-level position as an account manager. This question arises. You respond by highlighting what you've done already, where you've been, and where you perceive yourself to be going. "I have successfully overseen the accounts in my last firm, and with a more experience I see myself graduating to a managerial role wherein I can bring value to multiple projects at once." This response is on-point, and clearly illustrates a progression. In a job interview, this answer might be standard, but it's effective. Now, you also want to stand out. So to give a further example, say you respond with the following: "I feel that in 5 years I will be able to look back on a portfolio of successful accounts that have met and surpassed client expectations which I managed, and that I'll be able to look forward to greater responsibility in the organization that takes advantage of my tailored skillset." This response gives a clear idea that you're thinking across time. It connects the past, present, and future, and positions you as a forward-thinker with a transparent outlook on what you're capable of. We're ready to help you succeed at the interview. Give us a call.

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