The question of where you see yourself in the next five years is a good sign that the company is looking seriously at you. But what should your answer be? To figure that out, you have to understand what is hidden behind this question, so let’s see what this is really all about.
- Are we good enough for you?
It is a common scenario for applicants to feel over-stressed when they are on their way for an interview for a job they really want. Stress can be a bad advisor, and it often makes our judgment poor. What they are trying to prove the most is that they are good enough and basically more than the average applicant for this position. However, the company has firm and specific goals long before you enter the interview door. It is not a few cases where the company cannot provide what a career person is looking for. A part of the question has to do with what the company can offer you. Knowing what they can provide, they are trying to evaluate whether they will be able to manage your expectations too. They are quite aware that if the employees are not happy with their work, they do not feel they are learning things, and they generally lack motivation, sooner or later, they will leave the company. This is a tricky trap that the hiring department is trying to avoid. To save you from disappointment, they kindly ask you how high you want to go. It is a question to protect you and them from the trouble of going back and forth, changing your opinions about where you both belong.
- How serious are you about it?
The same question could also be asked in another informal way: ”Do you really want this?” Now because in the interview process, there are certain rules that all members must obey, the question must be established gently. Still, it does not leave room for doubts; the company wants to continue cooperating with you within the next five years. Perhaps they are planning to train you or want you to cover higher positions in the future. In any case, the question is a hint to let you know that they see a future between you two and want to make sure this works for you too. If you believe this is a silly question, we invite you to trust the statistics that show that 54% of the employees have stayed in a company for more than five years. The rest of the people around spend their career moving from employer to employer. Caring about your own career is a good sign, but the company needs to know they can trust you too. So if your plan is to leave them within the next three years, they want to know. Taking a job is, among others, a commitment from both sides. Sharing the same mindset is the key to a long-term relationship; you can’t blame anyone for wanting to reassure that.
- Are you ambitious at all?
It is not a secret that people who are in high positions are ambitious, and they are always happy to meet people who walk in a similar direction. The question of where you see yourself in the next five years is similar to the question of what you are planning to contribute to the company in a way that gives you a chance to clarify you did not apply just to get a salary every month. You have a goal, you have a willingness, and you have the power to claim for all these things. If you were not ambitious at all, what would you have to contribute in the first place? So, do you see the connection between all these and how you have to balance who you are, what you want, and what they offer? These are the three axes you have to combine to understand the people of the company you are trying to enter.
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