ringier home icon

How Not to Answer "Where do You See Yourself in 5 Years?"


Getting and keeping a job in this century is nothing short of an ingenious ability to see things before they occur and spin them in your favour or at least avert risk. Welcome to a world where talent and foresight are the most sought after characteristics in today’s jobseeker.

In this competitive job market, you don’t want potential employers to think you only applied for a job at their organisation to fill space or  hang in till something good comes your way. For one, it makes them look incompetent for lacking the capacity to rightly judge your level of qualification.

This interview question is ambiguous much as it is mind-boggling. You know you can do the job, you are almost certain you are a good prospect, and you have plans to excel in your performance but how do you prove that you won’t jump ship when things go south or when you find a better opportunity elsewhere? The best place to tie that loose end is at your job interview.

The key to answering this somewhat annoying question is to translate this question into what you want the interviewer to know about you.
See this question as the interviewer’s indirect way of saying “tell me more about yourself”, you don’t need to get all tensed up when you hear the question.

Most job seekers are quick to assume interviewers ask this question to determine how much they’ll be committed to the organisation. Turnover incurs a lot of cost and interviewers don’t want to look bad to their bosses for making a wrong choice of  you as the perfect candidate for the job; regardless, your career goal is as important as your choice for a life partner – you don’t want to wake up to the reality that you’ve been in the wrong job all the while.

Do not try to brown-nose your interviewer – interviewers want to know how the role fit into your career goal but if you can’t link it to your big career picture then come up with a reason why you think the job would be beneficial to you and how you think your stay in the organisation would make a difference.

Not many employers want you to spew out the “I’m here for the long-term” response; for as much as they can tell, it’s a lame response and really doesn’t add up.

In a typical interview; you could simply respond saying – “I hope to handle various tasks and challenging projects that’ll set me on a trajectory to succeed in my career; I feel this is the best place to help start off on good ground and I look forward to taking on management responsibilities as I climb up the ladder”

This is just a suggested example, you can come with many others as they relate to your career goal and the job in question.

What would your answer to this question be in a job interview? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Now Read: The Interview mistake you don’t know you are making.

Nathan Jeffery
Notification Bell