Answering the Future-Oriented Interview Question

Eddie writes:
I’m currently working temporary jobs and am seeking a permanent position. I’ve been to several interviews and two potential employers asked me “Where do you see yourself in the next several years.” Basically I responded by saying “As long as I have a steady income that I am satisfied with and allows me to be financially independent….” I’m unsure if that was a satisfactory response. I’m somewhat “green” as to how to respond to such a question. Maybe you can give me some advice?

The Career Doctor responds:
The_Future_-_CanvaI think you have two different problems with your interviewing situation. First the employers are probably asking this question partly to see if you truly are seeking a permanent position or whether you really prefer temping. Second this question is one of the most popular for employers to ask because it’s a way (they think) of understanding a potential employee’s drive and ambition.

Unfortunately your answer to the question probably makes the prospective employers uneasy – because you really raise more questions than answers and because your answer does not show much ambition or planning.

You don’t want to answer that question too ambitiously – “I plan to be running this company” or “I plan to be your boss” but you need to show some direction and ambition.

A good answer would be something like: “I would hope I am still with this organization in a position of increased responsibility making a vital contribution to its success.” You could also add a statement about professional career growth to your answer: “I hope to be in a position of increased responsibility that allows me to continually sharpen and grow my career skills while making a significant contribution to the success of this organization.”


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