There is a select group of common interview questions that can stump even the most experienced candidate if you haven’t planned your answers prior to the meeting. “Why do you want to work here?” “What are your key strengths and weaknesses?” and “Where do you see yourself in five years?” all perfect examples of interview questions that need to be prepared for.

So, how should you prepare to answer, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” ready for your next interview?

Answering the question in full

In the lead up to a job interview, it is best to aim to prepare for a whole host of questions so that your answers can overlap between multiple questions. It is impossible to prepare for every possible question. However, covering the basics and writing sample answers will stand you in good stead when you go in for an interview.

For all interview questions, it is important to structure your answer in a way that ensures you answer the full question. When describing where you see yourself in five years, aim to plan out the following ahead of the interview:

  • Where you are currently in your career and life.
  • What your future plans are and overarching career goals (relating it back to the organisation you are applying for).
  • Why this is your next step.
  • How you think the role you are applying for will help you to get there.

If you are early in your career, or if you simply do not know where you picture yourself in five years, it is important to answer the question as fully and as related to the role you are applying for as possible. Remember, they are asking you where you see yourself in a professional sense. You can add in points about your personal life to offer more information on your background. But do not talk about your life outside of work too much in your answer.

1. Think about your career goals

If you are attending interviews, it is probably because you want to progress or develop your skills and career in some way. It is important to display your short and long-term career goals. Before the interview, write out your career goals and make sure they are realistic. Speaking through your goals and aspirations methodically will help them to see your drive and enthusiasm to develop yourself at work.

2. Show interest to progress in their business

When talking through your career goals, be sure to reference the business and role that you are applying for. Highlighting to the interviewer how the role, organisation, and your goals align will show them that you are keen to excel in the position and that you are joining the business for professional development.

3. Be enthusiastic

When discussing your career goals, you should aim to be enthusiastic throughout the entire interview, but during this question, it is extremely important as you will be seen as enthusiastic about work and your development. If you don’t, you risk coming across as disinterested in your future career and the hiring manager may not believe you are a good fit for the position.

4. Tailor your answer

Make sure you are tailoring your answer to fit your current situation and job description. Talk about your current position, as well as the immediate and distant future.

Key things to avoid

  1. Try not to talk too much around your smaller goals and aspirations. Look to discuss your broader career goals and maybe talk about some key areas of development that you think will strengthen your abilities in the workplace.
  2. Speak broadly about your goals. Discussing specific roles, titles, or salary aspirations can be too much detail for this question.
  3. Do not worry if your answer is not on one clear path. You will not be expected to know exactly where you want to end up in a certain timeframe. Still, structure your answer in a way that shows you are keen to develop. Plus, you can always change your mind later down the line.

If you are keen to learn more about how to answer interview questions, why not follow the link to our career advice section to browse our informative content that will help you to prepare for an interview.

Alternatively, if you are looking for a new opportunity, get in touch with one of our specialist recruitment consultants today to find out more about our available positions across a wide number of industries. Furthermore, join MyPage today to make use of our Job Match tool, upload multiple CVs, and easily apply to jobs that match your skills and experience.

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