“Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?” is a common job interview question asked to job seekers. The hiring process is costly, so potential employers want to choose new employees whose career plans are a good fit with the job description and who will stay with the company long term.
Here are ten great answers to this common interview question that will impress the hiring manager in your next interview.
5 Tips for Your Answer
- Convey that you still see yourself working with their company in five years.
- Demonstrate confidence and enthusiasm in your answer.
- Refer to your professional goals.
- Discuss progressing your career path with the company and acquiring new skills in the role.
- Communicate that you have the drive and determination to become a valued and respected team member.
5 Mistakes to Avoid
- Avoid a vague answer.
- Do not say “I don’t know” or anything similar that indicates you have not thought about your future.
- Don’t give a specific title or particular role.
- Do not be unrealistically ambitious.
- Do not say anything about your next job outside of the company, or moving to a particular company or competitor.
10 Best Example Answers to “Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?”
Example #1: For College Graduates or Entry-Level Positions
While none of us have a crystal ball, I have given my career a lot of thought and have a good idea of where I want to go. The first thing I did when I saw this job advertised was to research the specific position and your company. I only applied after determining that this is a great job for my career path and that your company is a good place to work where I can see myself in the coming years.
Short term, I want to learn the new job quickly and develop the relevant skills to be a productive team contributor. Long term, I want to develop my technical and soft skills and become a respected and reliable employee who can one day take on further responsibilities and assist in teaching new team members.
Key Takeaways: This answer is good because it shows ambition for progress without stating the specific time frame in which you hope to progress. It also clearly states that you have researched the role and plan to be with the company long-term. Finally, it shows that you understand your first priority is to learn skills and become a contributing team member.
Example #2: For Technical or Specialized Job Roles
I am a detail-oriented and analytical person, and I get a great deal of satisfaction from creating value for my employer by solving difficult problems. As a professional in my field, I am always seeking to learn new things from others and gain a better understanding of my field. I actively welcome training sessions to increase my value and efficacy, and when not offered within the company, I seek out technical courses, professional certifications, and industry seminars to stay at the top of my game.
I would like to progress to a more senior position on the technical team, train and mentor new staff, and become a highly respected subject matter expert who can be trusted by the company to take on any challenge.
Key Takeaways: The best answer for any job interview is an answer that addresses the job description and selection criteria. For any technical role, this will be the willingness to learn new skills and the ability to actively stay at the top of the field. This answer shows a commitment to long-term technical skill development and a desire to contribute to the business.
Example #3: For Sales Professionals
I am a very ambitious and results-focused person, and I have a lot of personal goals and career ambitions. I have a clear idea of where I want to go and what I want to achieve for myself, my family, and my company. I know that the only way to realize these ambitions is through delivering excellent results in the role.
I am always looking for a way to increase the value I bring to the company and raise my productivity to the next level. My ultimate goal is to become one of the company’s most valuable assets and a leading salesperson for the business. I am here for the long haul, to learn new things, to develop my sales skills, and to hit any target that my manager gives me.
Key Takeaways: For sales roles, this is a great way to demonstrate your worth among potential candidates. It directly states that you are there for a long time, that you want to increase your worth, and that you are willing to take the time to do it. It is also clear that you are motivated to deliver results.
Example #4: For Customer Service Roles
I am a real “people person” in that I am an upbeat extrovert who genuinely enjoys interacting with others. I have taken a lot of pride in my career progression to date, in which I have developed a strong set of customer service skills. I want to continue to develop my value professionally and am looking to work on my professional soft skills and communication skills.
I have researched your company and believe this is the logical next step in my career because this opportunity is a good position where I can become a better person professionally. I look to take on new challenges and build new skills with a view to being trusted with new responsibilities as I grow with the company for many years to come.
Key Takeaways: This answer directly addresses the value of communication and soft skills in customer service. It also discusses taking on responsibilities and seeking the opportunity for advancement into a different position without laying out a concrete timeline or job title.
Example #5: For Changing Careers
I am at a point in my life where I am looking to make a change. I have worked hard in my current field for many years, and although I have been successful, I am not passionate about it anymore. I want to move into a career that is more fulfilling, and that will make better use of my skills and talents. Your company is one that I have been interested in for a long time, and I believe this role is the perfect fit for me. I am excited to learn new things, develop my skills in a new field, and contribute to the company in a meaningful way.
Key Takeaways: This answer is perfect for anyone who is looking to change careers. It shows that you are willing to learn new things and that you are excited about the opportunity to do so. It also demonstrates a commitment to the company and a desire to add value.
Example #6: Seeking Progression into Junior Management Roles
I am very ambitious and built my career plan around moving into a managerial position. I have taken on several leadership positions in my current role and worked hard over the years to hone my interpersonal, time management, and communication skills. I am looking for a place where I can take what I have learned and further develop my management skills over the long term.
I chose your company because of your strong reputation, and I wanted to learn from the best managers in the industry, add my skills to the business, and make a meaningful contribution to the company. Eventually, once I have proven myself and when my skills are ready, I would like to continue to progress in my management career.
Key Takeaways: When seeking to move into a management role, you need to provide a strong business case for why you are an ideal candidate. This answer highlights the main reasons why you would be an ideal management candidate, including explaining what you have done in your current position to move towards your grand plan of becoming a manager.
Example #7: Seeking Senior Management Roles or Leadership Positions
I have been in a management role for several years and have gained a wealth of experience leading teams, developing strategies, and delivering results. I am seeking the opportunity to progress to a higher position where I can take on more responsibility and become a valuable asset. I have been interested in your company for a long time, and I believe this role is a great fit for me. I am excited about the opportunity to learn more about your business and further hone my skills while contributing to the continued success of this company.
Key Takeaways: This answer focuses on what you can bring to the company in a management role. It is important to show that you have the relevant experience and that you are enthusiastic about the chance to use your skills to make a difference in the company.
Example #8: Seeking Internal Progression in Your Company
I have been in my current role for several years and have worked my way up from an entry-level position. I have demonstrated diligence and hard work in everything I have done and take on roles with increasing levels of responsibility. I love the company, and I believe in what we do. I want the opportunity to demonstrate the professional skills and worth I have developed and apply them to a different area of the business. I plan to be with the business for many more years to come, and I will continue to apply the same level of dedication to continued professional and personal development.
Key Takeaways: When applying for a better opportunity in the same company, it is important to draw attention to everything that you have achieved so far. In this example, you use the fact you have been at the company a long time to show that you will continue to stay with the company. You can also mention your past skills development to demonstrate that you will continue to grow and provide value to the business. This sample answer discusses an array of advantages you provide, against which external job candidates cannot compete.
Example #9: General Catch-All Answer
I am very ambitious and have always been driven to achieve the best results possible. In my current role, I have taken on extra responsibilities and looked for opportunities to go above and beyond what is expected. I am always looking for ways to improve my skills and contribute to the company. In the next five years, I see myself continuing to develop my skills and taking on more responsibility. I am very excited about the opportunity to progress in my career and contribute to the company’s success.
Key Takeaways: This answer is great for candidates who are looking to move up quickly in their careers. It shows that you are ambitious and always looking for ways to improve and contribute to the company. This is the type of employee that companies are looking for, as they can depend on you to take on more responsibility and contribute to the company’s success.
Example #10: Conveying a Specific Long-Term Goal
I have always been interested in this field, and I have been working towards a career in it for a long time. I have developed a range of skills and gained experience in this and related areas through my current role and in previous positions. In the next five years, I see myself continuing to develop my skills and experience in this area so that I can eventually move into a role that is focused on this area. I am very excited about the opportunity to develop my skills further and become a valuable member of your team.
Key Takeaways: This answer is great for candidates who have a clear long-term goal in mind. It shows that you have been working towards this goal for a long time and have the relevant skills and experience. If you use this example answer in an interview, a good thing to do is to refer to your industry or field, specifically anywhere that this sample answer generally refers to “this field” or “area.”
Other Ways This Question Might Be Asked
Other ways that interviewers ask this same question include asking about your long-term career goals, what type of roles you are interested in, or what companies you are targeting. Watch out for any question that asks about long-term goals or plans, motivation or progression, or career planning, for example:
- What is your dream job?
- What are your long-term career goals?
- What do you define as success?
- What is your dream job?
- Where do you see yourself professionally in the future?
- What are your plans for the next five years?
- How do you plan on achieving your long-term career goals?
- Where do you want to be at the end of your career?
- What kind of position do you eventually want to hold?
- What sort of company do you see yourself working for?
- What kinds of responsibilities would you like to have in your next role?
So be prepared for this question and have an answer ready! Your answer should reflect your long-term goals, what you hope to achieve in your career, and why you’re interested in the specific role with the company.
When asked about your future plans, a good answer will do two main things. First, it shows that you have a five-year plan or long-term career goals, such as a leadership role or developing a specific skill. This is important because people with long-term goals are more likely to be successful. Second, it will state that you want to be with this company for a long time and that it is part of your future goals. The best way to have a good chance of success is to give a brief answer that is not too detailed but still shows ambition and a career plan for more than a couple of years.
Keith Miller has over 25 years of experience as a CEO and serial entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, he has founded several multi-million dollar companies. As a writer, Keith's work has been mentioned in CIO Magazine, Workable, BizTech, and The Charlotte Observer. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our content editing team a message here.