There are a number of interview questions that we can expect to run into during any job search. While some of them may seem simple or routine, they are not to be taken lightly. Each one is an opportunity to show your problem-solving skills, thought process, and even motivation.

One such question is, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Whether you already have a go-to answer for this question or it completely stumps you, be sure to bear these things in mind the next time it is posed to you.

Answer the Question in Full

For all interview questions, it is important to structure your answer in a way that ensures you cover all bases of the topic. Remember, they are asking you where you see yourself in a professional sense. You can add in points about your personal life to offer more information on your background but avoid oversharing.

When describing where you see yourself in five years, plan out the following ahead of the interview:

1. Think About Your Career Goals

If you are attending interviews, it is probably because you want to progress or develop your skills and career in some way. It is important to display your short and long-term career goals. Before the interview, write out your career goals and make sure they are realistic. Speaking through your goals and aspirations methodically will help them to see your drive and enthusiasm to develop yourself at work.

2. Show Interest in Their Business

When talking through your career goals, be sure to reference the business and role that you are applying for. Highlighting to the interviewer how the role, organization, and your goals align will show them that you are keen to excel in the position and that you are joining the business for professional development.

3. Be Enthusiastic

When discussing your career goals, you should be enthusiastic throughout the entire interview. It is extremely important during this question, however, to come off as passionate about work and your development. If you don’t, you risk coming across as disinterested in your future career and the hiring manager may not believe you are a good fit for the position.

4. Tailor your answer

Make sure you are tailoring your answer to fit your current situation and job description. Talk about your current position, as well as the immediate and distant future.

Key Things to Avoid

  • Try not to talk too much around your smaller goals and aspirations. Look to discuss your broader career goals and maybe talk about some key areas of development that you think will strengthen your abilities in the workplace. Discussing specific roles, titles, or salary aspirations can be too much detail for this question.
  • Do not worry if your answer is not on one clear path. You will not be expected to know exactly where you want to end up in a certain timeframe. Still, structure your answer in a way that shows you are keen to develop. Plus, you can always change your mind later down the line.

If you’d like to read more about best practices during your job search, please browse our Michael Page advice section. You can also learn about how we can help you in your search by reaching out to one of our expert consultants, submitting your resume, or applying to one of our open positions.