One of the most common (and most dreaded) interview questions has to be “Where do you see yourself in five years?” or “What are your short and long-term goals?”

It may seem like a tricky question, but there is a reason why interviewers ask it.

Why do interviewers want to know your five-year plan?

There are a couple of different reasons why interviewers will ask this question.

Firstly, they want to get more insight into your career goals and how they align with their plans for the business and the role you have applied for. They want to ensure you are a good fit for the company in the short and long term. Your answer to this question will show whether you have thought about your career path and how this role and company will fit into it.

They may also want to uncover more information about how you approach your learning and development and if you wish to grow in a role. What do you want to accomplish in this role, and how are you hoping to grow beyond it? Your interviewer may also want to discover what value you will bring to their business and what kind of person you are – a great team member who wants to learn how to be a fantastic manager, for example.

How to answer the question, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

If you want to impress at your next interview when this question comes up, then think about the following things in advance:

#1 Review your career goals

Think through your short and long-term career goals concerning the role and the company you are applying for. You should consider the job type, the company you want to work for, and the environment you want to work in. Then work out how this role will help you reach your goal – is it your dream job or a stepping stone to your dream job? Will you be able to develop yourself through certification, continued education or on-the-job experience?

#2 Convince them that you are interested in this job

Interviewers are looking for candidates who can show them how the role they are interviewing for fits in with their long-term professional goals – and this question is perfect for that. Show them how you want to understand and grow within the company and be successful by building a career in a particular skill set within a specific industry.

#3 Don’t be too specific

Don’t be too specific about your responses regarding job titles and timelines. Make your answer more about the experiences you hope to have, the skills you want to develop and the impact you wish to make on the business. The more detailed your five-year plan is, the less likely the role you are interviewing for will be able to accommodate it. Interviewers don’t want to hire a candidate who wants something from a job that it doesn’t provide – so show intention with your career direction, but be flexible on the details.

#4 Focus on your skills

The best way to answer this question is to focus on the skills you hope to improve on and learn. Take your long-term vision and break it down into the skills you need to get there – bonus points for incorporating some language from the actual job description into your answer.

What should you include in your answer?

Interviewers generally want to hear the following critical pieces of information in your answer:

  • Do your goals fit with the job being offered?
  • Do you have the necessary skills for the role?
  • Do you see yourself remaining at the company for several years?
  • Do you have ambition and drive?
  • Are your future goals beneficial to the company?

Whether you are looking for a new job or have a vacant position in your company to fill, Agile Recruit is here to help. You can contact the team at Agile Recruit today at 0330 335 5545 or at

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