How to Answer “Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years”

One of the questions often asked by interviewers during interview sessions is “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” This interview question is not meant for you to become a prophet and start prophesying about your future. Again, the interviewer is not expecting you to start describing the details of what you will be doing in the next 1, 826 days. No, no one is looking for such dramatic details. Rather, the interviewer wants to test your psychic powers and your ability to think on the spot.

Recruiting and training of new employees can be time-consuming and energy-sapping. Hence, hiring managers often look for red flag in candidates’ responses that may reveal whether they won’t be willing to stay around for long. With this question, the interviewer aims to pick your thoughts about your career goals and how the position you’re being offered would fit into your grand plan.

The essence of the question is for the interviewers to hire someone who will be highly motivated in the offered position with enough enthusiasms to act proactively, as well as be ready to stick around with the company for some years if hired. Your response to the question will definitely give the interviewer some hints about your ambitions for the next few years. So, they will have to consider if such ambitions fit into the overall objectives of the company. If your success in this role aligned with your long-term career goals, then there is a higher likelihood you’re going to perform well on the job and may be considered for the position.

In reality, a question about where you would want to be in the next 5 years could be tricky. If you decide to be out rightly truthful in your response, you may be shooting your on the foot and may lose your chance of getting the job. Yet, it’s against employment ethics to lie to your potential employers. Therefore, your response must be honest, but diplomatic enough to protect your own interest. Here are tips on how you can provide a modest answer:

Give a fairly generic response

You don’t want to say something that will be counterproductive by being too specific in your response. Thus, it will more reasonable to keep your answer fairly general. For instance, you can say: “This position with your company will motivate and expose me to the tools and skills needed for me to become top 3 professional in this industry in the next 5 years.”

Express your interest in a long-term career at the company

The interviewer wants to know if you’re going to settle in and grow with the firm. Truth is, you can’t tell exactly what the future has in stock for you. You could be offered a better opportunity after few years in the company. Of course, you can’t tell your interviewer you won’t be staying for long after they must have invested a considerable amount of time, energy, and resources in hiring and training you for the position. You must at least be honest enough to show that you’re going to be a good investment by assuring the interviewer that you will use skills acquired on the job for the betterment of the company.

Show some enthusiasm

In your response, you must show that you will be highly excited if offered the job. Let them know in your response that you’re ready for a long-term role that will make their investment in you worthwhile. Make it clear that you will be motivated to grow your career in their company.


Today, the job market is highly competitive. Hence, interviewers are always on the lookout for any red flag they can use as an excuse not to hire you. Thus, you shouldn’t allow yourself to be unfairly eliminated from a job for which you’re qualified. So, we recommend you leverage the tips discussed above when preparing for your next interview. You never can tell your last question at the next interview could be: “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

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Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels

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