Job Interview FAQ: ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’

Job Interview FAQ: 'Where do you see yourself in five years?'

Certain interview questions crop up time and time again to leave candidates flustered or glowing from success. One of the most common and difficult job interview questions is the infamous ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’ Like any part of the process, your future aspirations should link in some way to the company and role in a concise and well-presented way – often easier said than done. Here are a few suggestions on how to form a response that any employer would want to hear.

Do your research

View every interview question as an opportunity to display your knowledge of the company. Centre your research on company schemes, senior figures and website content that discusses company progression to answer this particular question. You can also use this slot to utilise your industry knowledge by predicting which technologies you will likely use and the new skills that you would like to develop over time. Your research may uncover certain business directions or target markets which you can develop into a response that relates to you and what you hope to do.

Keep a level head

You want to appear ambitious but not unrealistic. Your research will help to structure your future goals within the company, for example when to lead a team or become a manager. Every employer would prefer to sit opposite a keen and enthusiastic candidate but bold claims mixed with a lack of knowledge may be perceived as arrogance. For instance, if you claim that you would like to be a manager within a year, you should probably rethink your career timeline.

Stay professional

If we were all completely honest, money and company perks play a large part in our career choices. Every employer will know that money is a motivation for us all, however, it’s your professional credentials and attitude that they want to discover. Rather than discussing the possibility of a company car in the next five years, answer in terms of the skills that you have and will work to have in the future, the qualifications that you possess and the ones that you would like in years to come. A good candidate will also discuss the additional responsibilities that they would like to have in the workplace and how they would work with their team.

Keep calm

If you feel yourself getting a bit flustered during the trickier stages of an interview, it is important to take a step back and keep a sense of perspective. Yes, this is your time to shine and the pressure is definitely on, however, if you treat the situation like a meeting rather than an interview, this small adjustment could help to diffuse tension and the connotations that are often attached the word ‘interview.’ Remember that your CV and cover letter stood out from the majority and that your skills and experience have gained you an interview over others. Stay positive when faced with difficult questions and you will remain articulate and polished.

Emphasise your interest

If the question has been asked during the later stages of the interview, use this time to reiterate your interest in the company and the position before your time draws to a close. Explain how you would like to make a difference within the company in five years’ time and how you will be an asset to the team. Which goals would you like to reach? What marked differences would you like to personally be involved in? Last but not least, avoid vague responses such as ‘Oh, hmmm, I’m not sure’ at all costs. An employer must be sure that you’re planning to remain at the company for a worthwhile period.


Whether you’re a school leaver, someone looking to get back into work or just simply looking for a new opportunity, we have the information and expertise that will help you. Call 01273 651100 or email to receive advice and more top tips from our team. 

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