During job interviews, it can sometimes be challenging to put certain things into words, including the question: where do you see yourself in 5 years? Even in cases when you know what you want to be doing, you must respond carefully, tailoring your response to the specific job you are interviewing for.

If a hiring manager asks you: where do you see yourself in 5 years, you may be thinking multiple things, such as being in charge of the company, working my way up the ranks, or working for myself. The important thing to remember, however, is that whatever the answer is, you need to ensure it is tailored to the job and improves your chances of landing the position.

Why Do Interviewers Ask This Question?

When interviewers ask where you see yourself in five years, they are trying to figure out your career goals as well as how the job works with your overall plan. The interviewer wants to know your career goals as a way of ensuring you are proactive, motivated, hard-working, and will stay with the company.

The employer will tend to believe and expect your good performance when the success towards this position is essential to your long-term plan. Although an interviewer may not ask the specific “five year” question, they may ask these variations:

● How would you define success?

● What do you value most in a career?

● What are you keep pursuing?

● What type of job is ideal for you?

● What long-term career goals do you have?

Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?

Here are some specific factors to include in your response to the question: where do you see yourself in 5 years. The exact components involved in a response will vary based on your experience and the position you are applying for.

Plan a Career Path: Take the time before the job interview to find a career path that would logically continue from this particular position and then outline the steps for the next five years. In some cases, you will find a clear outline on the company website. Also, you will need to ask professional associations, friends, family or alumni for an idea.


Begin with Why This Job Interests You: Before moving on, you should clearly explain why you want to succeed at and master the particular job position. If you give the impression that you want to move on from the current job right away, an employer may doubt your dedication and motivation. Most interviewers want to fill a position for a minimum of one or two years. To relieve any worries the interviewer has, be sure to mention how your skills and interests will help you fill the job description.


If There Isn’t a Clear Career Paths: You will notice that not every job has an ultimate career goal. If, for example, you are looking to teach, plan events or do counseling, you will not be using the job as a stepping stone. Instead, your five year goal should be related to the position. A sales position, for example, can aim for product knowledge and close client relationships.


Goals Lead to Results: Another way to respond is to mention your goals as ways of identifying results. Here is an example, a teacher applying to work in a district that wants to improve standardized tests performance can answer this question by saying: I want to spare no effort in the following 5 years to increase the number of students reading at grade level with creative instruction.


Advancing in Your Career: In some cases, a job recruiter will expect you to keep moving for the next few years. Some examples of these are new college grads as research assistants, and jobs such as consulting, banking or legal assistants. These positions give you more in your responses, but still ensure you state how the job makes sense for your interests and skills.


Other Interview Questions About Your Future: There may also be other related questions concerning the future like: What things are important for you? What do you want out of your next job? What goals do you have for the following five/ten years? How will you achieve those goals? Some general questions concerning your career goals also can be asked in an interview.

Sample Amswers


“My goal at the moment is to find a position which allows me to discover new challenges as time passes and grow. Ultimately, I would like to take on more management responsibilities, including those involved with product strategy. The most important factor for me is to work for a company that lets me build a career.”


“I always strive to be the absolute best at any task and would like to work at a company that gives me opportunities to work on interesting projects, develop my skills, and be part of a team that includes people I can learn from. I would love to start a career here because some of the thinkers with the most innovation in the industry are here.”


If you are looking to become an expert in your field:

“In five years, I see myself making progress in the industry as well as the company, gaining new skills which help the company. I find this position to be extremely motivating and interesting. I see multiple challenges ahead and I am looking forward to experiencing these. Therefore, I want to invest my five years in learning every aspect of this job and hope this job will help me advance professionally.”


If you would like to take on a management role:

“In five years, I picture myself taking on a senior position (mention a specific one), coaching employees, managing more people, and of course having more responsibilities. I would like to pursue my career with the company’s goals. I feel that learning about the company’s environment as well as investing in business education will be in the interest of the company as well as my.”


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