Interviewers want to know if you have goals, because it is a sign of a motivated, hard-working individual. Therefore, projection type questions, such as, “Where do you see yourself in five years” are common interview questions.
When asking this question, interviewers are really asking what your career goals are. Your answer to this question can affect how you are perceived by the interviewer and therefore have a strong affect on the outcome of your interview. For these reasons, it is important that you provide the best answer possible.
Points to Emphasize
When answering this question, there are a few points that you should emphasize.
- Clearly state the position you would like to hold in five years.
- Highlight your skills, training and character that will help you to get there.
- Detail the steps you plan to take in reaching your goal.
- Show enthusiasm in reaching your goal and understanding and willingness to alter or adjust your plan as life happens.
The best way to answer this question is to be prepared with a plan, and be able to explain it in an intelligible manner.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
Along with things that you should mention, there are a few mistakes and pitfalls that you should be aware of and try to avoid as well.
- Do not give a vague answer or state that you are content where you are; this can make you seem unmotivated.
- Stay away from mentioning any plans that are clearly not related to the position you are applying for.
- Do not show any distain for the work that will have to go into reaching your goals.
- If you do not have a five year plan, do not just make something up that you cannot support.
A proper answer to a question related to your future goals might sound like this:
In five years I see myself as an assistant HR manager of a company. As a recent graduate with my Human Resource degree, I believe that I am qualified for an entry level HR position such as this. Once I have secured a position I plan to work my way up to an assistant HR position. With your company’s tendency to promote from within, I am very interested in the position because I see the propensity for growth and possibility of attaining my goal.
It is important that you not only share your goal, but be sure to describe it clearly and show how the position fits into your plans.