The question of ‘where do you see yourself in five years’ is a common interview question. It is extremely likely you will be asked this question in your next interview. This is why it is so important you are prepared for the question.

The interviewer is asking the question because they want to ensure you have thought about your future career and this isn’t a stopgap job for you. They also want to know how motivated and ambitious you are. If you have aspirations for a higher role within the company, this is a great opportunity to get that across.

It’s important that your ambitions align with the company. If you state that you want to be the manager of a team of 150 people, but the business is a very small family-run business, this could risk you the job. The business may not plan to become that size within the next five years, so what you’re saying is that you’ll be looking to work elsewhere.

Take the time to think about the career progression the company can offer you and how your expectations can align with this.

If you are applying for a low level or mid-level position you should focus on a natural career progression over the next five years. While it is important to be ambitious, you also need to be realistic. Explain to your interviewer the job you want to be in, in five years’ time. Tell them how you will get there and justify why you will get there.

Make sure you are clear about how you will support your career progression too. Think about extra responsibilities you could take on. Talk about any CPD courses or training you could complete to ensure you’re ready for career progression within their business.

If you are applying for high level management positions the interviewer will expect you to focus on the corporate strategy of the business. Talk about how your own career goals match and fit the corporate objectives of the organisation.

We would recommend that you do your homework and find out the objectives of the company before your interview. Make sure you are prepared with an answer. The question of ‘where do you see yourself in five years’ will be asked. It’s better if you are prepared instead of ‘winging it’.

Worried about your next interview? Check out our interview tips here or give us a call.