This question scares lots of people because it’s more than likely that you don’t have a clue how to answer. It is a very difficult question and you don’t have to answer it in significant detail (you’re not a psychic!) you just need to be sure that you provide the interviewer with an idea of where you would like to see yourself. You need to have a good think about where you do hope to be in 5 years, what you want to be doing and why. From there, you can decide whether that company is right for you and if you can see yourself staying there or whether you are treating it as a starting point. Remember to keep it work related too, there’s no use rambling on about how many children you hope to have, how much you want to weigh and so on.
Why do interviewers like to ask this?
This question is an attractive one to ask because it shows who has ambition and who can see their goals and dreams ahead of them. Aim to have a brief plan of what role you would like to be doing, what experience you want to have gained and how this role will help to fulfil these dreams.
On the other hand, If you are interviewing for a junior level job and you mentioned that you want to be doing the same job 5 years on, they may think that you have a lack of ambition and therefore, you aren’t right for the role. Perhaps you are just looking for any old job and that’s not what they are looking for in a candidate.
Recruiters like to see that you want to progress within their company. It’s a lot better for them knowing that you are someone who wants to stay for a while rather than someone who is planning to go away in 6 months. If you are interviewing for your dream job, this is a good sign to the interviewer, they know that you will work hard. If you do hope to be in a higher role within their company, explain what role that is. Giving a good in-depth answer will show your dedication to their company.
It’s important to make sure that you have done your research about the company and their culture. If you find out after the job offer that you don’t agree with their company culture then it’s unlikely you will want to stay there long at all. Don’t just say you want to progress for the sake of it, you’ll be making life harder for yourself and the employer.
By suggesting that you want to progress further in their company or that you are interviewing for your dream job they get the idea that they won’t have any trouble keeping you. For some companies, low staff turnover is what they aim for to save time and money and to keep their staff motivated.
For other companies, they prefer a higher staff turnover. This can be due to the role that you are applying for only being based on a 12-month basis or it is suggested that it is a good starting point for your career. In other words, there is no option to progress, someone who has dreams to move to a different, perhaps bigger company in 5 years time would be perfect for this role.
Preparing for this question won’t only help you during the interview, it will help you start planning your own career path and it could be very beneficial!