In today’s crazily unpredictable time and world where you cannot guess about what’s going to happen in the next 5 minutes clearly the interview question ‘where you’re going to be in next 5 years sounds ridiculous. Well, kind of ridiculous! While asking this question, interviewers don’t really expect you to exactly describe your next 5 year plans. This question is basically asked to gauge if you have any personal insights, whether you have spent some time to reflect on your goals and also to check whether the job you’re interviewing for fits into your overall life plan.
Unless you are someone whose future is all mapped out, this somewhat tricky interview question can be tough to answer. And how you choose to both handle and respond to it can speak volumes about you. While answering it from a personal point of view, your answer might be candid and reflective. However, while answering it in an interview; you might as well answer keeping in mind things your prospective employer wishes to hear.
So let’s see how to give a winning yet truthful answer:
Understand what employers are looking for:
There are several reasons why employers ask this question. Besides being interested in knowing your career plans, they are also keen to find out whether you are focused, self-driven and a goal-setter. So grab this opportunity and tell them about your interest in the industry, company and the position. Avoid being too specific in naming the promotions you hope to win someday as you might sound arrogant. Also, don’t sound too vague, you’ll seem confused and incoherent.
Normally, it’s ok to assume that interviewers look for a comprehensive answer, but one that visibly validates your ambitions. They want to see that you can envisage possible career paths, plan ahead and most significantly, that your goals match with the objectives and goals of the company and job you are interviewing for. So design your responses to show you are impeccably appropriate for the role. It’s the perfect opportunity to lay emphasis on your core skills, strengths and experience. Start by talking about your recent work history, then project forward into the next 5 years. This will also demonstrate how far you’ve come. Show them you are devoted and committed and what all you’ll bring to the table. Talk about your biggest strengths, something which you have which no other candidate has. Use these to press their impress button!
You also have to assure the interviewer that you’re all set to for longstanding commitment and will grab all opportunities to grow within the organisation which come your way with both hands. This will not only show your enthusiasm but will also project you as a determined candidate. A lot of companies have a clear growth structure which you might learn while doing your research. It’s great to know this information and use it in your answer.
Some great answers:
So what would some good answers sound like? Here are few examples: “In my last organisation, I grew sales revenue from 10% to 20% in just a couple of months. By bringing the same drive and focus to this role and organisation, I believe I can increase the sales of your company five-folds over the next 5 years.” Or maybe something like, “Going by what all I know about the role and the organisation, it’s exactly what I have been looking for and what I am trained to do. Regarding my future career plans, I’m pretty confident that opportunities will come my way as I am dedicated and focused. It’s always been like this for me professionally and I see similar prospects here for my growth.”
At the end of the day, following any example or script won’t give you that “wow” element. Roles which let you discover your passions and help you grow professionally are organically going to produce the finest answers to this question. So whether you’re preparing for an interview or not, you should reflect on your next 5 year plan and use it as a “filter” while thinking about your next job options.