I’m going to focus on the question, “Where do you see yourself in five years time?” Usually, most people don’t think past five days, let alone five years, and we’re actually all guilty of this. Future orientated questions actually test your ambition and this is really what the employer is looking for.
Step one in this question is never actually say that you want the interviewer’s job. So that’s number one. That always makes interviewers feel uncomfortable, and while it represents ambition, it can be perceived as being quite aggressive. So just be aware of that one. There’s nothing wrong with ambition. It’s just the way you actually deliver it. So step one is avoid saying “I want your job.”
What the interviewer is looking for is, as they say, thinking. That you’ve actually thought about where it is that you want to be in five years time. They don’t want to see a detailed step by step plan for the next five years. They don’t want a 900 page guide on what it is that you want to do. What they’re looking for is just an overview, just a summary. I would say a minute summary of what it is that you want from your career, what it is that you want from that organization, and addressing the question “Where do you actually see yourself in five years time?”
So what I’m going to do now is give you an example. This example is going to be a poor answer to the question. This answer is actually a sales example somebody would say in a typical interview. So a poor answer would sound something like this, “In the next five years, I see myself in a management position. I want to lead a team and maybe work abroad. I want to achieve targets and help my team progress.” Now the reason why it’s poor is because it’s just generic. It’s just another answer that interviewers get so often where it’s just off the top of someone’s head. It’s just saying “Yeah, in five years time I want to be in a management position.” Okay, that’s fine, but how are you going to get there? What are you going to do? What are the next steps? How are you going to achieve that goal? And as I said, they’re not looking for a 900 page guide. They’re looking for, maybe, four or five different steps of how you plan on achieving that goal within five years time.
So hopefully, that gives you some more information to go away and prepare. So if you can answer that question or if you want to practice, just go and give five simple steps of where you want to be in five years time.