Ever had to answer the question: “Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?” during an interview?
It’s a question that people predict they will be asked, but for some reason, it’s the one that is often overlooked when preparing. So, to make sure you are on your ‘A Game’ when interviewing here are some tips on how to manage it.
The ‘5-year question’ is asked because the interviewer wants to understand more about your career goals. They want to hire someone who is motivated, proactive, and likely to stick around and work hard if hired. The question comes in several disguises by the way, like:
What are your long-term career goals?
What is your ideal job?
What are you looking for?
What’s most important to you in your career?
An employer wants to hire someone who is excited about the job at hand, someone who sees it as a great career move and will work hard to do a good job.
Hiring managers know recruiting, hiring and training new people is very time-consuming, so your interviewer wants to avoid investing time and effort into someone who is already planning to leave for something better as soon as it comes along.
In reality, you are probably considering a few different potential career paths – and it’s wise to keep your options open to a certain extent – however, you don’t have to advertise this fact in your job interview!
And to be clear, we’re not talking about fibbing during a job interview – we are talking about being forthcoming- but you don’t have to be 100% candid about all the options you are investigating. Here’s how:
1. Keep it general: Where most interview questions require specific responses, this one is the exception. Make your answer truthful, but broad enough that it doesn’t raise doubts about whether you would be a good fit for this position at this company.
2. Stress your interest in a long-term career: Your interviewer wants to hear that you’re ready to settle in and grow with the firm.
As we know anything can happen; the company could go out of business, there could be restructures, or you could be lured away for a better opportunity. However, given the organisation is going to invest considerable time, energy, and money in hiring and training someone for this job, you need to show an honest intention to stay long enough to be a good investment.
NOTE: if you have some job hopping on your CV, it’s particularly important to make the case that you’re now ready for a long-term role.
3. Show your enthusiasm: for the job as an exciting next step for you. Make it clear that you are motivated to take on this opportunity right now.
4. Avoid the Non-Answer: keep your answer general. A lot can happen in 5 years, so don’t be too vague since a non-answer will make you look like you are not taking your career — or your job — very seriously, and that’s a turn-off for employers.
5. Mastery: Sometimes, the position you are applying for isn’t necessarily a stepping stone to higher positions. For example, counselling, sales, event planning, teaching, and computer programming, so here it’s a good idea to emphasize the expertise of that job as your five-year goal.
Finally, remember the three points recruiters are looking for in your five-year plan answer:
Motivation for the job
A willingness to commit to the company.
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