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How To Answer ‘Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?’

  • By Kamlesh Ranjan
  • May 9, 2024
  • 5 mins read
See yourself in 5 year
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    I’m positive you have heard this during your screening process. I don’t know if each hiring manager is asking these sorts of questions, but some do, and for those folks, this guide to answer, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years,” will be charming. Most hiring managers want to understand what goals you set for yourself. What methods do you use to solve problems? Are you interested in a professional career or not? Can you turn your plans into reality if you receive an offer? But this question can be a trickster if you’re a newcomer. So, we are here to help you out with a sweet guide.

    You know, how you plan your career shows not only how serious you are about your work but also your IQ, your focus on working in a team or autonomously, and many personal qualities. That’s why recruiters always try to ask this question. A short answer is enough to get a pretty accurate picture of who-you-are. But, it’s very significant how well you answer. Some job seekers may feel irritated by this question, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” Because when you’re actively looking for a job, you can’t say with absolute certainty which company will give you the “yes” you covet. You know what I mean, right?

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    Why does a recruiter ask, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years”?

    Checking the ability to plan 

    If you think recruiters don’t have enough questions and are just asking to kill time, then you’re wrong.  Recruiters want to know if you are thinking about the future or if you’re just here to hang for a while.  Do you prefer to anticipate risks and draw straws, or are you used to solving problems as they arise? They want to know your plans and whether you will adapt to unforeseen circumstances. You need to plan long-term and think about risks—the ability to plan in any situation is necessary. Fast-growing companies want candidates who can plan and provide immediate solutions; in this era, you don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

    What’s your career goal 

    Do you know where you want to go and why? It becomes crucial to have such a goal, as it already has a positive impact on career development. Without this, it would move chaotically, precisely like the streets of New York City these days. When you have a goal, you will consciously move from point A to point B, making you more likely to end up in the right place. 

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    Check the adequacy of self-esteem, goals, and plans

    Let’s understand this with an example: Let’s assume you’ve been planning to be a chief accountant in five years. Still, all this time, you’ve been at an associate level in a small firm in Atlantic City, never attending a webinar or talking to your boss about your goals. Or, suppose you are at the beginning of your career, looking for a job as an assistant finance manager with no work experience, and in a few years, you plan to become a finance director in a large company. In that case, your goals may be too ambitious. Or maybe you have dreamed of moving to another country since childhood but do not know how; your plans may be too vague. So, the adequacy of self-esteem, goals, and plans becomes significant, and HR wants to know about them, whether you are thinking in a limited way or have an “out of context” plan. 

    Test of stress resistance

    Suppose you’re surprised by the question, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” it could be a stress test. After all, recruiters know how much applicants hate this question, so they often use it promptly, for example, to test stress tolerance. Will you be confused, furious at its inappropriateness, avoid the answer, or laugh? Or can you find your way right away and give a helpful answer? 

    So when a recruiter asks, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” He wants to know what motivates you, what you expect from the company, and what you can deliver to the company. For example, let’s say you want to be a programmer in the future, but you’re applying to be a refrigerator sales manager. The question is how this initiative will move you closer to your goals.

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    How to answer the question: “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

    When preparing for an interview, you often spend a lot of time looking at your appearance and reviewing your skills and abilities. Even if you look great at a meeting and have special skills, questions like these can ruin your entire persona. The funny thing is, there’s nothing complicated about this question; it just confuses many people. And we already see why interviewers ask this question. From a psychological point of view, everything is clear and on the surface. Every company is initially concerned with minimizing employee turnover simply because they spend money on employee training. And, of course, every manager wants to get the most out of it. Therefore, this question is asked to understand your interest in this position and the company. 

    Prepare in advance for the answer

    Now, let’s figure out how to answer this question correctly—plan for where you want to be in five years to give the correct answer. Before the interview, think about the tasks you will perform every day. These simple steps will help you answer with confidence. Plan to answer this critical question, as it’s a perennial favorite of interviewers, and whatever you do, don’t show a lack of ambition by replying, “I hope to work in the same place.”

    Don’t get too far ahead

    Regarding your future in 5 years, the interviewer wants to distract you from the interview. When answering the interview, try to be concise and clear while adding details that show you know the company well. And the fact that you know them means that you are genuinely interested in them, you have analyzed the place, and you treat their work the same way. Therefore, plan the answer in two parts. In the first part, state that this is the job you want, and in the second part, explain why and reveal your plans for the future. For example, if you want this job at this company, you can spend five years honing your IT skills because this company has consistently been a leader in this field. 

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    Be realistic

    You may be particularly ambitious and plan to advance to the highest possible position within your company as quickly as possible. However, don’t go overboard and try to replace the general manager with your ambitions. If you try to jump too high in an interview, it may be apparent to those listening to you. Ground your answer in reality, understanding that moving up one or two positions above the one you want to take is the most likely scenario.

    Show your endurance

    With employee turnover becoming as common as smartphone upgrades, employers are still determining which candidates will stay on the job and which will quickly become restless and want to move on. Applicants whose job history changes frequently are not interviewed, regardless of their qualifications. Strive to demonstrate your value within the company by learning and adding value. 

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    Don’t start resisting the question

    Being afraid to answer this question is a big mistake. The important thing is not to start a “fight.” There’s no need to laugh it off or make fun of it. Try to answer the questions without getting defensive. If you’re really just looking for a job but have no idea what career path to pursue long-term, you might want to be optimistic but give a rough answer.


    There is no standard answer to the question, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” You should state where you want to grow professionally during the interview rather than imagining yourself in 10 years. Planning your career path several years in advance requires correctly assessing your current skill level, setting goals, and thinking about what actions you need to take to achieve this goal. Recruiters want to know precisely about you because they spend money on your training. And, of course, every manager wants to get the most out of it. 

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