Most interviews are no walk in the park on a sunny day. They’re more akin to battling torrential downpours with no umbrella. The days, hours and minutes spent leading up to an interview are spent stressed out, critiquing answers to probable questions, cleaning up your resume, and determining which shirt looks professional while still being comfortable. Getting through the basic interview questions is hard enough on its own, but if there’s one question that makes most interviewees start sweating like crazy it’s usually the dreaded, “So, where do you see yourself in five years?”.
This question is a tough one for many reasons, but first and foremost because most people don’t have an honest clue where they’ll be in five years, much less where they want to be in five years. It can be hard enough just to settle on a college major without second guessing your decision one or two – or seven or eight – times. Secondly, most graduates don’t have a whole lot of “real-world” experience, meaning it’s probable that you don’t even know if you’ve picked the right field. So how do you answer that question when it comes up (and let’s be realistic here, it probably will)?
For starters, you have to realize what it is they’re actually asking. Interviewers don’t actually expect you to know exactly what you want to do in five years. They want to know if you’re committed to furthering yourself.
Don’t tell them that you don’t know. Saying something like this will only show them that you haven’t given much thought to your career or the potential positions within their company. Companies want to hire people that have a clear idea of where they want to go in life.
Conversely, don’t be so specific that you dig yourself into a hole. You don’t want to tell your interviewer that in five years you want to be managing XYZ with 15 people working under you. This can make you come across as narrow-minded and result in them picking someone that has a more flexible approach to the position.
Being specifically vague is the best way to approach this question. Sounds like an oxymoron, right? It’s not – you want to tell them that you’re interested in advancing with the company and you’re eager to take on new opportunities as they arise – not that you plan to be managing a certain division. Being open is good, being narrow-minded is bad.
Everyone knows that there is no accurate way to predict what the next five years will hold. Interview questions like these are meant to draw out the individuals interested in and committed to furthering their opportunities with a company. It’s when you learn to embrace these types of questions that you’ll set yourself apart from the rest.
Melanie Slaugh is enthusiastic about the growing prospects and opportunities of various industries and writing articles on various consumer goods and services as a freelance writer. She writes extensively for internet service providers and also topics related to internet service providers in my area for presenting the consumers, the information they need to choose the right Internet package for them. She can be reached at slaugh.slaugh907 @ gmail.com.