So this question can come in a few varieties, 5 years, 10 years, etc. But the most commonly asked would be 5 years. When you get asked this question, if you are anything like me you are probably thinking of great achievements like running your own business, a top management position, retired! Or you could have no idea where you want to be in 5 years time.
Either way, best to be mindful of how you answer.
This question can have a big impact on their consideration of employing you. If you are wanting to progress through the business, especially to a high ranking position, this might not be something they have considered as yet and could have more of an impact than you realise.
Here you need to find balance between showing your prospective employer that you are here for the long run, that you are the best candidate for the job but at the same time that you respect this is their business but have your own goals and targets.
If your end game is to work in a certain industry, it can take a lot of experience to get there. Starting at the bottom is not a bad thing – in fact it’s the perfect way to gain the right experience to ensure you succeed at the top. One thing I love is that I have started at the base of a few companies and worked my way through different positions to where I am today. This has taught me so much, given me the opportunity to work with many different people and shown me that everyone makes mistakes to learn from.
If you asked me 5 years ago where I see myself now, I wouldn’t have been able to answer. If you ask me now, I have big dreams, big goals and I am working on achieving them.
Don’t come unstuck in the interview by not preparing for this question. Spend some time thinking about what you want to be doing in your future and how you might do that. It’s not set in stone, if your goals and plans change along the way that’s great! Your interviewer just wants to know that you will fit in to their business for the long run and that you wont just do a job, you will OWN that job.
1. Show them you are looking for a long term career within their business (or industry).
2. Find balance between specifics and generalisation. Don’t be so specific it scares them, but don’t be too broad that they don’t trust your commitment to the position and business.
3. Show you are motivated and enthusiastic about the position and opportunities.
4. Mention the goal of progression through their ranks.
5. Don’t name positions, or people you want to replace.
6. Write it down! Jot down notes for prep and memory.
7. If you feel confident enough, you can bring some humour in to the answer – just be mindful of your interviewer – try to identify if they can handle humour first.
Whatever your plans or goals are for the future, and the next 5 years, I hope you reach them or start taking the necessary steps to start on that path.