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How to Answer ‘Where Do You Want to Be in 5 Years?’


There are many usual questions that are probed at times of interviews. In that manner Where Do You Want To Be In 5 Years? is a common question. These dreadful long-term goals interview questions about yourself must be understood initially and answered appropriately to its motive.

The main aim of the interviewer with such question is to test the candidate about his goals and his plan for the job position. The interviewers are more concerned about the objectives and they wanted to make sure if they are picking an appropriate, hardworking, motivated and proactive individual. Let’s run through a few for the usual question where do you want to be in 5 years and 5 year career plan?

where do you want to be in 5 years

Reason for asking “Where Do You Want to Be in 5 Years?”

The hiring process of companies differs in various ways but the solo aim would be to select the perfect candidate for the job role. The selection process can also vary depending upon the niches as the requirements of the niches will be different.

But one thing that can be common be it related to any industry are the type of questions that help the employer understand the behavior and attitude of the candidate. One such question is “Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?

The employer would be having 2 main objectives for asking this question and they are,

  1. To know whether the candidate would be with the company for a long time
  2. To check whether the candidate’s goals match with the vision of the company

Though mentioned above are two main reasons employers expect from the candidate but many candidates out of nervousness or lack of preparation answer this question in a wrong way which makes them lose their chances of getting a job.

Some of the answers if given in an interview which can backfire are,

  • No idea
  • Have not thought about any
  • Can’t explain or reveal
  • Getting a promotion in the organization
  • Consequent hikes (SIN)
  • Being on the other side of the table

A bonus tip which I would like to provide here to all job seekers is to here the question asked by the interviewer clearly and only then, come up with a convincing answer. You can also ask the interviewer to repeat the question if you did not get it for the first time.

Also “Where Do You Want to Be in 5 Years “ question can also be framed in different ways, some of them are as follows

  1. Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?
  2. Where do you see yourself five years from now?
  3. Where Do You Want to Be in 5 Years?
  4. Where do you expect to be in 5 years?
  5. What do you want to be doing five years from now
  6. Where’s Your Career Taking You in 5 years? 10 years?
  7. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
  8. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
  9. What specific steps are you planning to take to achieve your vision in the next 5 years?
  10. What’s most important to you in your career 5 years from now?
  11. How do you define success?
  12. What are you looking for by applying for this job?
  13. What is your ideal job at the peak of your career?
  14. What are your long-term professional goals?
  15. What are your goals for the next 5 years?
  16. What are your short-term professional goals?
  17. Describe your career goals for the next 5 years.
  18. What are your career goals for the next 5 years?
  19. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

How to Prepare for the “Where Do You Want to Be in 5 Years” Interview Question?

Preparation is one of the important practice that should be done by every job applicant before attending an interview. This makes them prevent the nervous break down which is very usual at interviews.

Though there are many things but the initial step is to research about the company. Doing this can help you craft an effective answer to this interview question.

Reviewing better about the company and job description would help you get details like

  • Job role duties and responsibilities
  • Company’s training program
  • Growth opportunities
  • Interested projects etc

With all this information, you can easily create a better answer to the interview questions. Now if you did not get any of such details, then you can assess yourself on the professional front and prepare a basic yet unique answer to the question.

Tips to Answer “Where Do You Want to Be in 5 Years”

The only thing as a candidate you need to keep in mind is to answer the interview questions in a confident way. Focus on only what you have prepared and speak in a positive and optimistic manner.

By this, your manager will surely get impressed and you can increase your chances of getting employed. Some of the tips that you need to consider while answering are

  1. Let them know that you are interested in the job role
  2. Show them your enthusiasm
  3. Brief them that you are ready to settle down and grow with the company
  4. Share your interests
  5. Do not prolong too much
  6. Keep your answer crisp and simple

How Not to Answer “Where Do You Want to Be in 5 Years”

  1. Do not speak about irrelevant long term plans
  2. Avoid speaking unconventional things
  3. Avoid being too specific
  4. Do not take too much time to answer
  5. Make your answer look realistic.

How to Answer Where Do You want to be in 5 Years Interview Question:

The following mentioned are few tips on where do you see yourself in 5 years answer and what are your career goals.

1. Do not opt for non-answer:

For such questions, it is mandatory for the candidate to take up time and offer a thoughtful reply which will benefit both the candidate as well as the employer. Presetting company goals and having a clear vision about the organization culture would be good.

Most candidates make the mistake of landing up answering for some common position which may not be present in the organization. In the same manner, vague answers can be avoided as they may end up with a disaster.

2. Attributes for the answer:

When “where do you see yourself five years from now”  question is shot, the candidate should make sure to have the following aspects in the answer which the employer looks out for. The answer should reflect a good attitude, the candidate should have understood the position and what it brings about, is the candidate dependable, is the candidate a perfect social as well as cultural fit for the job role, utilization of the candidate’s strength for the job role.

Candidates who take up more time in learning their position and preparing goals and objectives are ones who will be able to advance their interview and communicate their strength and weakness and their potentiality in the right manner. Though qualification and experience can be the biggest strength for the candidates, employer’s look for ones who fit themselves best in the organization.

3. Focus on the position:

To answer this category of position, focus on the gratefulness of the position. Consider the feelings of the position inside yourself for the job role and for the employer. The work-life balance is also an aspect to be looked into for answering the question.

Will the candidate’s strengths be identified and valued in the work environment. Will the candidate be offered with more of job opportunities and will his values enhance in the job market. All these hints are to be used for answering the question.

4. View of the employer:

Here are few aspects that the employer looks out for in your answers. The employer looks out if the candidate possesses the potential for future enhancement in growth and would they be the perfect contributors for the organization, and hence your answer should be shaped in that manner.

Accompanying the above, the employer also looks out if the candidate holds a clear mindset and is capable of achieving their goals and objectives.

5. Required answer by the employer:

The employers look for certain valuable points in the answer being answered by the candidate. They see if the candidate is highly motivated for the offered position.

They also find out if the candidate could take the job offer seriously and focus on his objectives. Would they able to be in more value to the company? For the same reason, the answers should be formulated with all these aspects in it.

6. Appropriate answers:

The precise answer for that particular question should be designed with a clear career vision. The candidate can mention that in the next few years he would like to progress in the organization and update himself with new skills.

The candidate can also add up that the position and the organization seem to be interesting and motivating and can vision the challenges ahead. So the candidate can mention that he is waiting for professional advancement.

7. Have realistic goals:

It would be absurd to mention that you wanted to become the CEO of the company in 5 years while applying for an entry level position. David Wishon who is a senior director of monster talent Fusion mentions that promotions within the organization can be mentioned but over optimistic views can kill your answers.

8. Make appropriate answers:

For candidates who are unaware of the career path can make sure to provide general answers. But it is always good for the candidates to provide specific answers for such question as general answers always are bland and forgotten which is one of the thousands.

Make sure that the answers are broad enough, truthful and also avert the doubtfulness whether the candidate fits the position.

9. Show for a long-term commitment in your answer:

By hiring any candidate the organization invests time, energy, training sessions and money on the candidate. The interviewers will also try to find out from the answers if the candidate would stay for the long term in the organization.

Your answers should be honest for that manner and should show that you’re intended to stay for a long time in the organization and present yourself as a good investment for them.

10. Answer according to the market conditions:

The answer for the question should show that the candidate is aware of the job market and unavailability of job opportunities. The candidate can show that they are fortunate about the opportunity and would like to be stable as per the job market outside. The employer should know that you have less interest in leaving the job.

11. Enhancing the career ladder:

There are few job positions where the career ladder can be climbed just after a couple of years. When its analyst position, scientific research, legal assistant and more it would be appropriate to offer more leeway in the answers and also open up the skills and importance about the position.

12. Formulating goals as answers:

When probed with such a critical question, the candidate’s goals can be formulated as answers. The candidate can share with the interviewer a few examples about achieving his goals in the next few years and succeed in his career.

13. Jobs with less career path:

It is also to be accepted that not all the jobs lead to higher job positions in few years. When jobs like sales, counseling, computer programming and more are taken into account, the answer can be designed to master the job in next 5  years from now rather than giving irrelevant answers. Become skilled at and learning more from the job can be the right answers for such job roles.

14. Show your willingness to work in your answers:

It is true that getting to a higher position requires more time and hard work. The candidate should ensure to bring in his answers the willingness to work on personal and professional advancement and move on for career advancement. The answer should well highlight all these aspects.

15. The role and long-term plans should sync:

It is mandatory that the role and the answer you provide are appropriate to achieve long-term goals. The answer should mention the long-term goal to be achieved by making use of performance in the job role.

The candidate can also mention their contribution and growth towards the organization for the next few years. The progression and timeline can thus be concluded.

16. Show that you are excited about the job:

Apart from showing the employer about the long-term plans and its aspects, it is also vital to show the employer that you’re enthusiastic about the job role and not likely to leave the job as author Alison Green agrees. It is mandatory for the candidate to sound passionate about what he has to achieve.

17. Realistic view:

These are a few hints or tips to answer the most critical question probed in all interviews. But the truth is that people who have clear and well-written goals can achieve their target in a shorter period of time than others. This tricky question is asked to know if the candidate is looking for a clear career or a job, it would also predict if the candidate’s goals are appropriate with the organization’s goals. The answers should also open up realistic views for their future.


As per an executive coach of New York Dale Kurow mentions that the answers mentions should show and tell the company about the candidate’s requisite work ethic, loyalty and attitude to be mentioned as a good hire.

Companies usually make huge investments by hiring an employee and so presenting personal aspirations for this question can be averted. Job questers can run through these tips and prepare answers as per the companies they are called for. Excellent and simple answers can also be found online which offers great help. On that note “best of luck”