Interview Questions: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Do you actually have a plan for your career or are you just gliding through life
Other versions of the question:
- What is your growth plan?
- What direction do you envision your career to take?
- What do you seek to achieve in the course of your career?
Important to note:
- The interviewer is checking to ascertain that you have a career trajectory planned out for yourself. They want to know that you are ambitious and that you seek growth, because growth for you means maximum utilization of your talents which will culminate in growth for their company.
- The interviewer wants to know how the position you are interviewing fits in your grand career plan. This means that if you hold the position you are interviewing for in high regard, it translates to you performing well in the roles assigned. It is a show of commitment.
- If the position falls in your great career plan, you are likely to be enthusiastic about it and excited by the growth opportunities it presents, hence you will be constantly motivated and are likely to face challenges positively.
- Therefore, the paths you have set out should be realistic and actionable in relation to the industry your career falls in.
- Your goals should also be realistic depending on the stage at which you are in your career. Where beginners straight from college may be forgiven for giving somewhat unrealistic projections, individuals who have been in the industry for some time will not be dealt with equal leniency.
- You goal should be targeted. Do not use tired lines like “I see myself in a management position”Your answer should be truthful, reasonable and fluid with departmental limits. This means that you should give a perception of flexibility and ability to take up more roles apart from those listed in the advert. Remember that your interviewer has their ideal candidate in mind and are looking for the closest match to that. You shouldn’t come across as rigid or being a round peg in a square hole. You will lose out in opportunities for growth and exposure.
Pitfalls to avoid when answering this question:
- Jumping to long term goals without stating the short term ones, such that you are viewed as building castles in the air. There is nothing wrong with you planning to be the managing director of the company. Unless you are already in a senior management position, mentioning that you would like to be MD may seem a bit far-fetched. Specifically state short term goals that will help build the long term ones.
- Giving goals unrelated to your career like telling the interviewer how many children you look to have in five years. Remember that interviews are always about the company and all your answers should be geared to how you are going to be value add to the company’s goals, vision and mission.
- Giving rigid plans and goals. When an interviewer gets the impression that you have a specific path that you have your mind set on, they think you cannot be persuaded to take on additional tasks and become wary.E.g saying “ I would like to be a CEO, with at least 5 people reporting to me, earning 200k per month, paid vacations, and a company car.
- Overthinking this question will make you nervous and you will end up with a blank head. Ensure that you have practiced answering this question ahead of the interview.
Sample response:I am keen on becoming the best I can be in what I do. I am seeking opportunities that expose me to further development of my skills, become involved in interesting projects and be part of a team that I can learn immensely from. Based on my research, your company is a force to reckon with in the industry and some of the biggest contributors to innovation in the industry work here. For