Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?

The most hated question on interviews, it’s one of the hardest one to answer when you are at the beginning of your career, but often gives the interviewer the response to whether you are a keeper or not. So let’s dig into this!


Some people think that it’s outdated to ask it, others think that it will actually help them since they will be expecting it, this is the golden/blue dress polemic of the HR people, but what for the rest of us?

As a junior, I knew that I always wanted to become a Project Manager, but I was told never to say that since I was told that the interviewer might have thought that I want to take his/her job, or that I think I am smarter than I am. So I gave the politically correct answer: I want to learn more on the technical side, even if that was a big fat lie. Now that I am on the other side of the table and I am the one to ask the questions I love to see someone who has high ambitions and I am not frightened by someone who knows what he/she wants.

Same as many others out there, we get prepared for the question with other peoples answers, we browse the web and we chose our words wisely, we want to be ambitious yet realistic, we want to be smart but not cocky, but we lie and unfortunately, most of us don’t lie very well, and we send the wrong message.

If I were to do it again, I would tell the truth, it’s my dream so why lie about it. So what if I fail in achieving it? Maybe I will not, maybe I will change my mind, the world is changing so fast that in 10 years there might only be robots working as PMs.

Below I will list a couple of other wrong answers that can make you kiss your job goodbye:

1. Never thought about this, I don’t even know what I will be doing tonight.

You need to expect these questions, it will pop at the first interview with the HR person or at the offer with the management, so do your homework.

2. Married with kids, all I want is to have a family.

Even if that is your biggest dream, it will send the wrong message, try to deliver it in a manner that is focused on your career, not on the personal side.

3. Leave the country and travel full time.

Showing no interest in the job you are applying for is a form of disrespect so try to keep this type of plan for yourself.

4. Have enough money to stop working.

Same as above.

5. I hope I’m not dying of cancer.

We all want to work with optimistic people, so this answer will qualify you for the other type. Avoid it.

6. That is an outdated question, haven’t you heard?

Even if you truly believe the question is outdated the fact that that you are required to answer means that the interviewer wants to hear it, so avoid lecturing him/her.

7. Work here

Don’t try to flatter the interviewer, we all know it’s hard to tell if you will like working in a place before starting to actually work there. So try to be truthful with the answer.

8. Hope I will not still work here

I don’t think I need to argue this one.

If you are waiting for a list of correct answers, I am going to disappoint you, is not on the web, on a blog or in a book, but in your mind. It’s impossible to never ever think about your future, so give the real answer in a polite way. Look into the mirror and ask yourself, what are your dreams, where do you want to be in 5 years? Do you want to have your own company, to be the manager of someone else’s, do you want to write full time or sing full time? Do you want to be a mom that has a maternity blog? Focus on the career path that you want to follow and try to deliver the message in an honest and positive manner, it will make a difference.

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