So, you’ve prepared as much as humanly possible for the upcoming interview for a job that you’ve had your sights on since graduating.

You’ve done all the research about the company, job description, and its past works;

Put together a portfolio that does justice to your capabilities and competency for the job opening;

Picked out the best interview outfit that exudes professionalism and confidence, and;

Watched enough job interview guides and motivational videos to put yourself in the right mindset.

After considering every single possible outcome and preparing in every way possible, you head into the interview office feeling confident. Once you fill out a few forms and hear your name called, you sit in the interviewee’s chair and exchange a few pleasantries with your assigned interviewer.

Everything seems like it’s going according to plan. You’re answering questions with confidence, highlighting your best attributes, and asking all the right questions. Suddenly, you get hit with this question:

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Why it’s difficult to answer this question— and everything you should know about it.

Admittedly, many job aspirants find themselves lost for words when the “five-year” topic is thrown at them because they aren’t looking any further than getting the job after a few weeks of deliberation.

The sad truth about answering this interview staple inquiry is that you’re likely to have no idea how to answer it because of how open-ended it is. As opposed to other questions, this long-term one can be a sort of Achilles heel for even the most prepared interviewees because it entails sharing a highly personal matter with a stranger.

Why do employers keep asking this question in the first place?

What you need to know about this interview question is that it isn’t some kind of ice-breaker that potential employers throw for “fun”. Rather, it’s a full-fledged insight into the more profound qualities you have, which aren’t on paper.

By asking this question, employers and interviewers seek to sift through all the available details so that they can fully gauge whether or not an applicant is worth bringing on board. Here are some of the crucial insights that an asking party often looks for in the answers given for this question:

  1. The presence (or absence, thereof) of a candidate’s intention to stay with a company in the long term. This is something crucial to consider when it comes to turnover rates and consistent work.
  2. A candidate’s dedication to abiding by and striving for company goals. Employers usually seek people who are worth investing in because they want to grow with the company, rather than use it as a stepping stone to the next stop on their career path.
  3. The willingness of an applicant to work hard enough to stay in a company and their motivational drive to achieve a lasting position. Some jobs can be stressful, and it’s crucial that an applicant shows a drive to work hard through the bad days.

A few tips for answering this question better.

During your next interview, you’re far more likely to be answered this question as more and more employers are shifting their focus to investing in high-quality talent and commitment. If you’re looking to ace your next scheduled session and make sure that you impress the interviewer, here are a few tips you can use when responding to this question:

1. Emphasize your commitment to the company: Remember, this question is often asked because employers want to learn more about whether or not you’re looking to stay in the company and dedicate your talents to their cause for a long time. Take this opportunity to display and emphasize your goal of growing and staying with the company in the long run!

2. Link your long-term goals to the position you’re applying for: Before you head into the interview room, it pays to learn more about a company’s mission, vision, and target goals and start tying them with various compatible points in your exact long-term plan. By taking the time to match your long-term goals to the company’s position, you can present an answer that’s as impressive as it is authentic. Remember, nothing drives conviction better than sincerity!

Conclusion

As difficult as it may seem to answer the all-imposing question of “where do you see yourself in five years” at your next job interview, it’s best to know everything and anything about this inquiry before you head in the room. With this guide’s help, you can come even more prepared for your next job opportunity and pass an employer or HR head’s assessment with flying colors!

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