How to Answer: Where Do You See Yourself Five Years From Now?

“Where do you see yourself five years from now?”

If I were to answer this truthfully, I’d say,

Five years from now, I’ll live in a tiny house at the top of a mountain overlooking a meadow, cooling off the summer with a freshly squeezed pineapple juice from my own garden, a steaming native chicken tinola every lunch, work whenever and wherever I want to, sleep whenever I’m tired and watch my money grow everyday in the bank.

This would be one hell of an honest answer. Unfortunately, this wouldn’t make the interviewer very happy. How about this?

Five years from now, I’ll have enough to save for my boarding house business, finally leave my employee life behind and start my own family.

where do you see yourself five years from now

Try again.

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The problem is…

as truthful as these answers are, companies don’t want to hear this from their applicants. Leaving the company after five years? It’s like telling the company, I’m gonna resign anytime soon so you better prepare for another training cost, and look for my replacement now before I even start.”

True, in five years, they will have already profited a lot from you. But why hire an applicant who openly says he/she won’t be there it in the long run when they can hire the one who promises to stay? The fact that you’re already thinking of leaving the company before you’re even employed potentially means you’d resign as early as one month, after your second payday.

The companies’ goal is to gain more profit. They don’t want anything less; they want more. So give them that. Or at least make them hear and believe that.

Does that mean it’s ideal to stay in the company instead of leaving someday? No. You won’t sign such contract. The point is, if you plan on leaving the company someday, make no mistake of letting them know about it. It’s a recipe for disaster.

Here’s how to answer: Where Do You See Yourself Five Years From Now?

Make a strong point of telling the interviewer that staying and climbing the company ladder is your main goal. That’s another way of saying, “I’m gonna stay here ’til I’m old and will bring you profits forever.” That’s what they wanna hear, so don’t spoil it.

How to sound convincing

They’ve been burned many times. Some applicants only stay until their first salary and quit without notice. Therefore, delivering your answer as convincingly as possible gives you a better chance of landing the job.

1. Be specific

Don’t just say you want to climb the corporate ladder. It’s very generic which doesn’t sound convincing. Be specific. As detailed as you can get, the better.

Example:

If I’m lucky to be a part of [company name], five years from now, I’d like to see myself promoted to a higher position, probably become a team leader to ensure the quality of work from my team. I find that I get along with any types of personalities so I’m definitely looking forward for a position where I constantly interact with people. But I also do great with tasks that require me to sit alone in a cubicle. So basically, I could accept  just about any position. The only thing for sure is I want to advance my career here at [company name], and not just in any other company. Your company is definitely my first choice.

Let’s break it down:

First, the type of position is specific- team leader:

If I’m lucky to be a part of [company name], five years from now, I’d like to see myself promoted to a higher position, probably become a team leader to ensure the quality of work from my team.

This sentence emphasizes the skills necessary for the position, which strongly supports your claim about wanting to become a team leader

I find that I get along with any types of personalities so I’m definitely looking forward for a position where I constantly interact with people.

But what if you’re promoted to position very opposite from being a team leader instead? A position that requires you to stay in the cubicle typing in the MS Office for the whole 8 hours? Well, this third sentence is your safety net.

But I also do great with tasks that require me to be alone in a cubicle. So basically, I could accept just about any position.

Lastly, this final sentence seals the deal:

The only thing for sure is I want to advance my career here at [company name], and not just in any other company. Your company is definitely my first choice.

2.) Make the interviewer feel good about herself for working there.

The last sentence of the sample answer above is very important. (“Your company is definitely my first choice.”). Not only does it give the impression that you admire the company but it also strokes the interviewer’s ego. This is so basic.

where do you see yourself five years from now

Think about it. How do you feel when a foreigner praises the town where you live for being the best tourist destination in the Philippines? Or when our own Pia Wurtzback won the Miss Universe crown? Proud, right? We can’t avoid it. It’s called being human. And knowing this fact before your interview will work like a charm. So put it to good use.

3.) How you say it is more important than what you say.

At the end of the day, the fact remains that “what you say” won’t matter much if you fail in the “how you say it” department. I’m talking about delivering your answer with confidence. To be confident doesn’t mean getting rid of anxiety 100%. Confidence has a lot to do with solid preparation before the interview. I’ve written a whole post with clear steps on how to show and practice confidence during your interview. Feel free to check it out by clicking here: How to be Confident During Your Call Center Job Interview.

In short, remember this:

Companies hire employees who bring them the biggest profits. Make them believe that you can give them that. Tell the interviewer that their company is your first choice. If hired, say you won’t remain at the bottom but will climb your way up the corporate ladder.

Finally, make it credible and convincing by highlighting your strong work ethics and skills. If possible, provide scenarios, stories, and proofs of those skills. The interviewer might ask you follow up questions so it pays to prepare for battle.

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