Where Do You See Yourself In 5 Years? 10 Years?

Points to Emphasize

Here are a few ways to show how your goals align well with the position.

  • Create a narrative that shows your preparedness for the position and how the skills you will gain from it will help you move forward.

  • Make sure to keep things open-ended, so the interviewer can see how the cultivation of those skills will also help the company.

  • Show how the company in general provides you with a path toward your goals, so they see you as a long-term investment.

  • Keep it motivational, but don’t be afraid to tell them what you want.

Mistakes You Should Avoid

Here are a few problematic moves that often set candidates back.

  • Never compete against the people in the room, even if you really want to. Remember that you’re not going for their jobs.

  • Don’t let your answer take you away from the job you want, even if you plan to let your ambitions do just that.

  • Avoid anything that puts a timer on your employment. Interviewers are typically not looking for temporary workers unless they advertise for them.

  • Don’t lose track of the fact that the people in the room are likely to be the people who can help you succeed in the job and with your future ambitions. Give them something to work with.

Sample Answer

Here’s a good way to walk the line on this question in a way that encourages your interviewer to think about your future with the company.

Well, in five years I hope to have moved into a position very much like this one, but with more of an impact on the department’s big-picture development. I’m not sure about what that will be, but I’m up for a challenge. In ten years, I’d like to find myself in a position to mentor others in the field, putting my experience to use in ways that help others achieve what I’ve attained.

Answers like that tell the truth, but they leave just enough to be considered at a future date.

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