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Certain interview questions are favorites among hiring managers, leading candidates to encounter them time and time again. “Where do you see yourself in five years” is one of the tried-and-true favorites, as the seemingly simple inquiry can actually be very revealing.

Many job seekers struggle when faced with this interview question, especially since generic responses like “moving up the ladder” won’t leave the most lasting impression on hiring managers and answers like, “I want to be in your position,” can actually seem somewhat threatening to the interviewer. Additionally, saying you are hoping to secure a position elsewhere, such as with your dream company, during that time may leave them wondering whether you’ll be around for the long haul.

To answer this interview question well, you need to make sure the hiring manager gets the information they need in an ideal way. Here are some tips for crafting a strong response based on the creation of a five-year plan.

Be Realistic

While people can progress along their career path at different rates, saying you expect to be managing the department in five years during an interview for an entry-level position isn’t going to be seen as anything but unrealistic by someone who only knows you on a basic level, as a hiring manager would. To avoid this issue, take some time to research the role you are interviewing for and how it fits into a standard career progression.

Use online resources to determine how long people tend to stay in these jobs and where they head off to when they leave. Once you identify some trends, you can use that information as a guide when creating your five-year plan.

Consider Your Goals

Once you understand what is attainable within five years, you can use that information to align the position with your larger goals. Maybe this job is a logical step along your ideal career path or provides you with access to refine your skills in key areas, letting you move towards your chosen destination.

Understanding how the pieces fit together makes it easier to develop a solid plan of where you can go and how you can get there. Additionally, expressing your excitement for the job more naturally as you’ll have a better grasp of how it can assist you in reaching your goals.

Don’t Hide From Uncertainty

In some cases, you won’t be entirely sure where you want to be five years down the road, and it’s perfectly acceptable to say as much. However, the discussion shouldn’t end there.

When you don’t have all of the answers, cover details about how the position can help you figure out your next steps or help you determine where you would like your career to go. This approach can be ideal for entry-level roles as you are likely still exploring what the field as to offer. Make sure your answer focuses on the competencies and skills you hope to gain if you get the job and make sure your excitement about the opportunity shines through.

By following the tips above, you can craft a memorable answer to the quintessential five-year interview question. If you’re interested in finding a new position, the team at TempStaff can connect you with leading employers. Contact us today to see how our services can help you.

 

 


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