Job Interview Question and Answer Guide

"Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?"

Prepare for this common job interview question and answer in a confident and winning way.

In almost every job interview you can expect to face questions that explore your future plans and goals including "What are your goals for the next couple of years?"

Use this interview question as an opportunity to demonstrate your motivation, self-awareness and focus. Use the sample interview answers to make sure you have a positive and convincing response ready.

How to answer "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?"

  • It is not easy to answer this interview question in terms of specific job or company expectations.
  • A person cannot accurately predict what the job or the company will look like in 5 years time.
  • You can only answer in general terms about the type of situation you would like to be in and the way you want to have grown and developed.
  • Avoid giving specific time frames or job titles.

3 top tips when describing your career goals

1. Focus on realistic career opportunities

Look at the opportunities you could expect in your industry and what you hope to have gained from these opportunities.

"It is an uncertain world and one can't predict what is going to happen. However, my hope is that I will have contributed to the success of the company and grown both personally and professionally within my position"

Your interview answer should relate to the job you are being interviewed for in some way. The interviewer does not want to hear that you hope to have published your first novel or be running your own business. This job interview question is designed to assess a number of things:

  • How long are you likely to stay with the company?
  • What is your motivation in applying for this position?
  • Do you look ahead and set goals for yourself?

2. Combine personal growth strategies with your commitment to the job

For example:

"I want to have developed new skills and abilities and to have made the most of my opportunities. This position will give me the opportunity to learn more about managing a work team, this is a goal of mine. I would like to be recognized as an individual who has really added value to the team and the company"

3. Define what success and reward mean to you

Demonstrate that you understand that reward (salary, promotion, responsibility) will be based on the quality and value of your contribution.

"I want to make the most of my abilities and potential. By always doing my best I can ensure that there will be opportunities to increase my value and to grow in ways that benefit both the company and me"

Align your success with the company's success

"I want to continue to gain experience and be a top-performing employee in a big company such as this one. I want to contribute as much as possible to the company's expansion and success"

The interviewer will respond positively if you present yourself, in this job interview question and answer, as a mature, insightful and self-motivated candidate who wants to make an important and constructive contribution to the company.

Job Interview Question and Answer Guide

Tell me about yourself

Why should we hire you?

Reason for leaving your job?

What are your strengths?

Preparing for this interview question will help you to answer the question "Why do you want to work for this company?"  You can refer to your future goals and demonstrate how the company is able to help you in achieving these.

Be ready for this related job interview question and answer with confidence and conviction - "What motivates you in your job?"

How to answer interview questions about handling conflict and difficult situations at standard interview questions

You can expect a number of behavioral interview questions in your job interview. Be ready for these behavior-based questions by going to answers to behavioral interview questions

How to answer those tough interview questions

Latest Update - What are your career goals?

what lies ahead
  • Recent research published in the Harvard Business Review suggests that individuals shouldn't just set goals. What they really need are "areas of focus".
  • Goals are the end point while areas of focus are the process and way to get there.
  • The key is to focus on what you need to do to reach your desired outcome, the activities you want to spend your time doing, rather than the goal itself.
  • The goal is the result, the area of focus is the road.

This is an impressive way to approach this job interview question and answer with a well prepared response.

For example: 

If your goal is to achieve X sales revenue, your areas of focus will include all the activities you need to concentrate on to get there - finding good prospects, developing your negotiating skills, improving your product knowledge, following up with clients and so on.

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