Each one of us has been through situations where others, be it your family, relatives or interviewer have asked you the troubling question, "Where do you see yourself after five years"? While everybody knows the answer to the question, it becomes a bit tricky for us to answer it in a manner that should convince the other person totally. This question becomes very life-threatening when asked in the interview. This is also one of the frequently asked and a favorite question of the interviewers and the most hated one by the employees.
The problem in this question lies in the fact that you are never completely sure about what the next moment will bring for you, let alone what 5 years from now will bring in your life, be it professionally or personally. Everyone has ambitions in life. They also have the ideas and the goals as per their areas of interest for the future and are even focused on them. However, not all of them have a roadmap in their minds to accomplish that purpose. They are focused on their goals but believe in going forward step by steep. They believe in the fact that it is always better to go with the flow and then let things unfold one by one. As one progresses in life, opportunities and timing affect our decisions. Everybody wishes for a bright future but it is not easy to be completely certain about it. This makes the question, "Where do you see yourself after 5 years?" difficult to answer, be it in personal space or a professional set up.
The reality is that most likely there is a possibility to be in a situation where you have to answer this question at least at some point of time in your job interview. If you are young or a fresher, then the interviewer's chances of asking this question rise more. Despite the fact that most of the people hate answering this question during an interview, one cannot really deny the significance of this particular question. By asking you, where do you see yourself after 5 years, they want to get a sense of whether you have goals and ambitions in life or not. They also want to check if you have the requisite drive to attain those goals or not. If you answer their question stating your goals after 5 years very clearly then they feel that you tend to plan things in the long run. Instead of running after short-term goals, you have a clear vision in your mind and think of accomplishing bigger goals in the long run. This quality is usually fruitful for organizations, and therefore interviewers prefer to judge you on this aspect to get an idea of your take on this.
Let us have a look at how one should answer "Where do you see yourself in next 5 years"? :
#1. Be Careful
If you wish to answer this question correctly and most convincingly, it is very important to prepare things in advance. You should realize that there have been so many employees who must have applied for this particular job and if you want to land this job, then you need to be fully prepared. You need to be careful that your answer does not imply that you are planning a short-term tenure in the company. Every organization invests time and energy on its resources. They would always like to see the resources they have invested in with them in the long run. Be careful that you avoid statements that give them a sense of you not being serious about the job and your life, in general. They should never get this implication that you have casually applied for the job and have come for the interview for the sake of it. They would always like to hear about your goals and ambitions with your prospective company. They want to see the preparation you have done for the interview, and you plan to do in future for the organization. Therefore, one needs to be very careful when it comes to planning your answer to the question. It is always better to prepare the answer in advance.
#2. Understand The Motive Of The Question
If you feel that this question is useless and is being asked in the interviews only to mess things up for the candidate, then the chances are you might not be able to answer it properly. This question serves a very important purpose for the interviewer. He wants to get an idea about your seriousness and dedication about your goals in life and towards the company. They want to see the level of excitement you have in you to join the company as an employee. Usually, people who are very set towards their goals and come for an interview only after doing enough research about the company and deciding that the company will serve their purpose or not, have greater chances of being selected. If you have worked on all these aspects and have incorporated them in your answers, then the chances are that you are more likely to answer the question properly. The interviewers, who are sitting there are experienced people. Neither they have enough time nor are they interested in asking anything that does not solve their purpose of hiring the best employees for their organization.
#3. Write Out Your 5 Year Plan
Although it might be a bit difficult to work out a 5-year plan, this is the best way to answer the question, "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" You can try to visualize the scenario after 5 years and think about the situation where you would like to be, the jobs and the goals you would like to accomplish, the type of position you would like to be, the type of experience you would like to have had after 5 years from now. Think about all these items and then try to make a roadmap out of it. This will help you to get a sense of how to answer the question in a very realistic manner, and you will be able to provide a thoughtful and honest perspective.
#4. Be Specific And Keep It Work-Related
This is quite evident and common sense that if you are going for an interview, the interviewer might not be very interested in listening to where you see yourself after 5 years on a personal level. He or she might not be interested in getting to know about your plan to have 2 kids or to get married after 5 years from now. When you talk more about your personal life rather than keeping it to the point and confined to professional life, it gives an impression to the employer that you are not very serious towards your work. Work is not your priority, or if you get to choose between your personal and professional life, you would any day choose the former. However unfair it might seem, but this is what is the harsh reality. The interviewer is any day more interested in your professional life, and your goals and ambitions on a professional front. Therefore, you really need to carefully curate your work-related goals and then include them in your answers. If you plan answers in this way and deliver them in front of the employer, he or she would consider you as an asset to the organization. Be as specific as possible and answer only what is being questioned. Do not beat around the bush and try to get friendly and all personal with the interviewer. In the end, you have come here to grab the job, and he or she is the one who is going to decide it for you in the long run.
Once you have understood the motive of the question and have prepared your answer well, then comes the time of practice. It is very important to deliver your answer in the best way. You can call one of your friends and say the answer aloud in front of him or her. In this way, your friend will help you in analyzing your response and point out the mistakes you are making. While you are revising your answers, you need to keep in mind that the interviewer wishes to know your ambitions, work-related goals, the kind of positions you would want to take, training, etc. If you have done enough practice, then you will be able to provide quantifiable answers to this question of the interviewer. Keep your tone high enough that the interviewer could hear your answers properly and not that high that your tone starts irritating him or her. While practicing, you will be able to identify these small flaws and work on them instead of just going for the interview straight away without any preparation. Practice as much as you can, and then nobody will be able to stop you from grabbing that job and presenting yourself as an asset to your organization.
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