The “where do you see yourself in 5 years?” interview question is one that has stumped quite a number of candidates over the years. It is however important to keep in mind that this is a trap and can be handled tactically.
Here are a few tips to help you avoid getting stuck when asked the dreaded question.
- Don’t overthink it
First thing to do is to remember that these employers are not looking to test your divination abilities, they’re just trying to assess how well your plans are in line with their company’s goals.
This means that your interviewer is not expecting you to have divination abilities
oshey Sybil Trelawney. Avoid overstressing yourself trying to “see” into your future. Take a minute to gather your thoughts, consider your goals at the moment and what you would want to have achieved in a few years.
- Visualize yourself in the company
Since we already mentioned that these employers want to see if you’re a perfect fit for their organization, you should tailor your answer to the role you’re applying to and visualize how you want to have grown in a few years.
Carry out adequate research on the organization so that you can speak about the company and your role with a little more familiarity. Talk about how you see yourself growing with the company, what contributions you would love to have made to their success. Please, do not try to be funny, don’t go telling an interviewer “I would love to have your job in a few years”. Not. Funny.
- Emphasize your interest in a long-term role
You should try to avoid not parading your plans to consider several potential career paths as opportunities come your way. Emphasize on your plans for the present position you’re applying to and like we mentioned earlier, express your interest in growing with the company.
You could consider talking about how you would love to be a mentor and trainer for new recruits as you improve your expertise over the years. Companies do not want to hire someone who would abandon ship, avoid portraying yourself as a job hopper.
They are trying to decipher if you would have a career with their organization or you’re just looking for a job. If at this point, you do not know the difference between a career and a job, you should find out.
- Never say “I don’t know”
Never, please. If like me, you never have a prepared/well-rehearsed answer, take a moment to get your thoughts in order before proceeding. Keep in mind that there is no truly right answer in the book, your answer should however never be “I don’t know”.
- Don’t lie.
This should of course go without saying but we decided to mention it anyway. You should keep your answer as honest as you can. It is easy to get carried away trying to impress but if employers suspect you are not being truthful, it does nothing to help your cause.
Overall, the mission is to make these guys see that you are the perfect fit for their organization. This means that you should have tried to answer this question beforehand to avoid being caught unawares.
All the best!