You are now going through your job interview, you probably went through other questions like can you summarize your experience or what are your strengths and weaknesses.
Once those questions are answered, you will most likely experience the following question: Where do you see yourself in 5 years ? You can have different variants such as where do you see yourself 5 years from now, where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time.
The objective of this 5 years from now interview question?
The objective is for the recruiter to understand what your expectations are. The recruiter will have to ensure it is aligned with what the employer can provide. It is also to understand what you have for ambition.
What are the elements you can bring forward in this type of questions?
We will see here few “where do you see yourself in 5 years example and aspects that you can use to articulate your answer. You need to focus on making the hiring manager feel no doubt about your intention to stay and grow in the company.
When you start building your answer, you don’t need to tell exactly where you see yourself in 5 years but instead you can describe the environment and the function you hope to conduct and be involved in within the next 5 years.
If you are applying for a customer care position, as an example, you can say: “I am not 100% sure where I will be in 5 years as many factors can play a role but I am hoping that within the next 5 years I will be able to develop my competence as a customer care agent, having opportunity to become an expert in my field and support the team with the knowledge I will have built.”
You can continue by telling the type of responsibility you’d like to endorse as you grow, for instance: “As I will have built strong knowledge being in my role for 1 or 2 years, I am hoping to become a strong asset for my manager, for instance helping her or him in leading the team during absence or supporting her or him in management task.”
As you continue building the feeling of making the hiring manager ressent that you are applying for the right position, you can continue to mention the opportunity you hope to have.
“My hope is to have the opportunity to grow in my role as a person and as a professional. With the time and opportunity, I could see myself leading a team and learning how to become a people manager.”
What to avoid mentioning
Remember that the hiring manager wants to be sure that it will be worth investing in you and that your ambitions are either to grow in your career or want to stabilize your knowledge and your job in the company.
This question is not the right place to speak about the project or dream you have about travelling the world, starting up a company. Ensure your response does not open up for doubts and questions on your long term vision to stay in the company.
Don't forget that sometimes the company and the job you endorse can also bring you up to speed, for instance if you dream about traveling or if this is a strong desire of yours, why don't you tell the hiring manager that within 5 years, you'd like to have a opportunity to combine your job and some traveling to expand on your international knowledge.
Both personal and professional ambition sometimes can be a good fit for one another.
What to focus on
If you are not sure what the exact path you want to follow within the next 5 years is, focus on the environment and stay consistent with the role you are applying for. As an example you may create some instability in the hiring manager mind if you apply for a marketing role but you speak about your desire to develop your financial knowledge.
Try as much as possible to stay consistent with the environment you want to engage with.
Focusing on professional growth in the environment you are applying for does not prevent you from being honest and genuine from where you want to be in 5 years.
Let us look at another example on how to articulate this where do you see yourself in 5 years answer:
For instance, if you are applying for a project lead position, you can say with always focusing on the professional growth and the environment the following:
“As I genuinely embrace the responsibility of leading projects and bringing people in the project journey, I am hoping that I will first consolidate and strengthen my skills in this field and gain significant experience. Then once I have consolidated my skills, I hope to be challenged by more and more important projects that will have an impact regionally but ideally globally as well on either the productivity of the company or the customer journey. I am not sure how many years would I need to accomplish my desire to gain regional and global experience but the final goal is to become a go to person, a mentor, an inspiration for others to grow in the same field of project management. "
Make sure that in the rest of your interview you don’t go against what you are saying in your answer. Stay consistent also when you speak about yourself. Each question of your job interview should be articulated and consistent one with another.
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