Where Would You Like To Be In Your Career Five Years From Now?

This question is commonly used to find out about your goals and aspirations. Your answer can reveal that you have planned a path for your career, and the position you’re seeking is a logical step on that path.

This is really a question about your enthusiasm for the job in question. It’s a way for the interviewer to determine whether you have a career plan or are simply taking whatever comes along. Your answer could unwittingly make you less attractive as an employee, so think this one through before you speak to it.

Points to Emphasize

Above all, demonstrate that this job is a good fit for your aspirations.

  • Throughout your answer, stress your strong desire to work for this company in this role.

  • Show that you know something about the company’s advancement structure and that it aligns with your ambitions.

  • Articulate how the current opportunity serves your career plans and interests.

  • Stress points that align with the company’s values and mission.

    Express excitement about this position and leave the interviewer feeling confident about hiring you.

    Mistakes You Should Avoid

    It’s not necessary (or always advisable) to be completely forthright about all of your hopes for the future. Here are some responses to stay away from:

  • Don’t suggest that you would leave the company for a better opportunity.

  • Avoid being too specific, but don’t be vague or wishy-washy.

  • Try not to overthink your answer. It can be hard to pinpoint your exact future plans, but saying so can make you seem lacking in confidence or direction.

  • Your answer shouldn’t sound unrealistic given your qualifications and the job you’re currently seeking.

    Anything you say that suggests that other opportunities may be more attractive than this one could detract from the impression you make on the interviewer.

    Sample Answer

    Spontaneity and flexibility are great character traits, but a sense of aimlessness or a lack of goals won’t get you hired. Here’s a possible answer that strikes a balance:

    My plan for the next five years is to expand my skills by working for a dynamic company where I can learn and grow. I would like to take on more responsibility and move into a managerial role in a marketing department. I hope to get there by working in a position like this one that allows me to take on challenging and interesting projects that help to define the firm’s brand identity. I see a lot of exciting possibilities for growth in this company and the opportunity to work with industry leaders to reach my goals.

    This question and others like it offer a pathway for you to promote yourself as a great fit for the job.

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