'Where do you see yourself in five years?' is a popular job interview question, and a tough one. Who can predict the future? What do they want you to say? Many job seekers think that 'I see myself in your job' or 'I want to move into management' are good answers because they show that you are ambitious and want to grow and move up. However, this isn't always the best answer to give. If you're interviewing with a large corporation, this upwardly-mobile answer may be OK—because (depending on your job level), there's probably room for you and your future boss to move up. However, if you're interviewing with a small company, your boss may not have room to move up, so 'I want to move up' may be a threat to their job. Always factor in the company's unique situation.
So what's the best way to answer this '5-year' question?Remember that they understand that you can't really predict what will happen in five years. But, they do want to know how this position fits into your long-term goals:
- Are you interested in this job/industry for the long term? Or are you planning to be somewhere else entirely five years from now?
- Once they make an investment in you (in terms of onboarding and training), will you be there long enough for that to pay off for them?
- Are you interested in growing into another kind of role or broadening your skills, or is this job exactly what you want to do for the foreseeable future?