A job interview is not only to assess a person’s ability or knowledge related to the role that they are expected to perform in the organization. As a candidate, you are also judged on parameters such as behavior, social skills, interpersonal skills, and thought processes.
This is why almost every interviewer asks questions such as ‘where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?
As a candidate, a question like this might appear to be an irritant. However, you know that self-introduction for interview is an essential part of the process of a candidate and you are expected to give smart answers.
This leads us to think – where do I see myself in 5 years?
You might be a travel lover and your vision for the future could be embarking on a world tour in five years, but, you are not supposed to say, “I will be boarding a flight to New York and go hopping from one country to another for the next two years.”
It would definitely be a bad idea to say, “I will be sitting in your chair 5 years from now!” (Yes, people have actually done that.)
You might be wondering why hiring managers need to ask such a question anyway. Nobody can predict what will happen after an hour so how would you tell anyone where you are going to be in five years from now?
Well, let’s tell you the good part. Nobody is expecting to hire a fortune teller with a crystal ball. You can quickly and easily answer this question in a manner that doesn’t require you to actually make future predictions and still make a positive impact with your reply.
Before we discuss what could be the right answer for this question, it is important to understand the reason why interviewers ask this question in the first place. There are two primary motives behind asking about your vision for five years from now.
The time you will spend with the company:
A company invests a lot of time and money in hiring a new employee, training, and ensuring that they are able to perform the assigned duties well. Thus, by asking this question, they want to assess whether you are considering the job opportunity as a short-term assignment or are aiming to deliver consistent performance and make a career with the company.
Your long-term goals:
An employee can contribute to the organization’s success in a meaningful and sustainable way only when their individual growth aspirations are in harmony with the company’s growth plans. By asking you about your five-year future vision, the idea is to understand how well your long-term goals align with the company.
Apart from the above two reasons, the interviewers also assess one’s interpersonal skills, behavior, and mindset based on the answer to this question. The question is like a window to understanding what are your weaknesses or strengths.
Having understood the reasoning behind the question, we are now back to finding the right answer.
While they are not going to be impressed by an answer like, “I will continue to serve dutifully in the role given even after five years from now” (simply because they expect you to expect promotion and growth), you can still offer a balanced insight into your vision.
Let them know that you have realistic and tangible expectations in terms of your career growth, and you are ambitious as well as adaptable to synchronize your aspirations with the company’s goals.
Give yourself a moment to visualize where you can reach by successfully performing the tasks given in the role on offer. Think of the possibilities in light of your own overall professional goals and the prospects for the industry.
Let’s say you are joining an online education platform! In that case, your reply could be “I am quite upbeat about joining the New Horizons platform because I believe the future of education lies in online education. I have good expertise in the field and look forward to taking up greater responsibilities in this field with New Horizons.”
The key is to remember that it doesn’t really make a difference if the role on offer is not the ultimate solution or the path to your actual dreams. You have to let the future unfold with time, but, only see the current opportunity as a step in the right direction!