How to Answer “Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?” Interview Question

We’ve all sat through an interview and answered questions that didn’t seem to make sense.

Employers have come up with a myriad of ways to try and get you to talk about yourself.

Not who you want to project, but your real self.

But, there’s one question that has a defined purpose: “Where do you see yourself in five years?

What’s the point of this question, and how can you prepare your answer for it? We have some answers.

How to Answer the Question “Where Do You See Yourself in 5 or 10 Years?”

Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years


Questions Answered:

  • How to Answer the Interview Question

  • Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years Sample Answers

  • Variations of the Interview Question


Every question in an interview serves some purpose for the interviewer. When the interviewer asks what your five-year plan is, they’ve got two goals behind that question:

  • Will you stay in the position long-term?

  • Do your long-term goals line up with the company?

In other words, the interviewer is really asking if this position will be something you will enjoy doing long-term.

Hiring and training employees is expensive, so the fewer times a company has to do that, the better.

Also, most hiring managers aren’t looking to have a revolving door of people they interview.

Going through resumes, reaching out to candidates, and following up on interviews and evaluations is a lot of work compared to maintaining a consistent workforce.

Many hiring managers would prefer to place their attention on other tasks.

How to Answer “where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

Your Career Goals

The easiest way to prepare for this question is to ask yourself what your career goals are.

Do this by writing down the answers that come to mind. This action helps you see everything laid out in front of you and gets your thoughts organized.

Once you’ve written down some goals, see if the position you’re applying to has room for them to grow into reality. If they don’t, then the position might not be a great choice.When you apply to a company, you should have a clear idea of how your long-term goals align with the company.

Company Goals

It’s also good practice to review a company’s mission statement or goals on its website before applying. Doing this research and bringing the information to the interview with you can go a long way.

If you find something of interest on the company’s website, mention it in a way that makes sense at the interview. Whether it’s a specific program or project the company is involved with or a mentoring or networking program, relate it to your goals.

Whether you start with the company first and align your goals with theirs, or vice versa, the key here is to find some way to create that link when preparing your answer.


Where Do You See Yourself Meme - IMGflip

Where Do You See Yourself Meme - IMGflip


Where do you see yourself in 5 years sample answers

Your answer to this question should be brief and vague. You don’t want to go into the interview and come across as a know-it-all.

If you want some ideas of how best to answer these questions, here are a few examples you can base your response off of:

  • “I’m applying for this marketing position because I want to expand on my creativity. My background is in finance which I believe would help me keep budgets and metrics organized well during different projects. Since I still have much to learn, I can see myself both contributing to the overall success of the business while also learning the different aspects of the industry as I grow with the company.”

    • The above example would be great for someone who’s changing careers. By explaining how you believe your previous experience can help in the new job, you prove you’ve put thought into this change.

    • This example also frames your future growth around the company’s goals, showing dedication to the company.

  • “I saw on the website that this company has a training and mentorship program specifically for the sales department. I’d love to join those programs and develop my sales skills. I’ve also seen that your company makes frequent B2B sales, which is a market I’ve wanted to learn about for a while. I hope that in five years, I would have finished both of those programs and contributed to some of your new or ongoing B2B market pushes.”

    • This example answer is rife with examples of you reviewing the company beforehand. You wouldn’t know about the mentorship or training programs without having looked into them ahead of time.

    • Also, we see a continuation of framing the answer around the company, not yourself. Definitely be sure to state what interests you, but pairing that with the company’s mission is great.



Variations on the interview Question

Asking about your five-year goal isn’t always so directly worded. To keep interviewees on their toes, some employers will phrase the question differently to catch people flatfooted.

Here are some other variations on this question you might see:

  • Where do you want to be in five years?

  • Where do you see yourself in ten years?

  • What are your long/short-term career goals?

  • What is your ideal job at the height of your career?

  • How do you personally define success?

  • What steps are you taking to reach your ideal vision of your future?

There are plenty of other variations, too. As long as you’re listening for it, you should be able to tell when your potential employer is asking about your future.

Wrapping Up | Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years

Keep in mind that the interviewer doesn’t expect you to know exactly what you’ll be doing in five years - heck they probably don’t know either.

Instead, they want to get a feeling for how you plan to approach the job and your future with the company.

If they think you’re likely to stick around and grow alongside the company, that will do a lot to put the interviewer at ease.

Find ways to communicate your abilities and your ongoing development during the interview, and this question will never bother you again.

Good luck with the interview!


Title: How to Answer the Question “Where Do You See Yourself in 5 or 10 Years?”

Category: Interview

Tags: where do you see yourself in 5 years sample answer, where do you see yourself in 5 years best answer, how to answer the job interview question “Where Do You See Yourself in 5 or 10 Years?”


Author: Reid is a contributor to theJub. He's an employment and marketing enthusiast who studied business before taking on various recruiting, management, and marketing roles. More from the author.