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The question “Where do you see yourself in five years?” is often asked during job interviews. It may sound cliché, but your response is important to employers as they seek to learn more about your career goals and whether or not they mesh with those of their organization. In other words, it can be a deal-breaker in terms of whether or not you’ll be the right fit for the role.

Here are some suggestions for answering this question in a way that will help ensure you stay in contention for the job:

Keep your response general, but not too vague.

Your answer should be truthful, but broad enough that it won’t raise any doubts about whether you’d be committed to the job and the company. This is especially critical if you have a history of short tenures with other organizations.

  • Convey the impression that you’re truly excited about the position, see it as a great career move, and will work tirelessly to contribute and do a good job. In reality, you may be considering other career options, but you don’t want to advertise this fact.

Stress your interest in a long-term career with the company.

Demonstrate your enthusiasm in the position as a good career step for you. Make it clear that you’re motivated and excited to take on the opportunity right now.

  • Emphasize growing with the company. You may want to say something like, “My goal is to find a position where I can grow and take on new challenges over time. Ultimately, I’d like to assume more management responsibilities. But most importantly, I want to work for an organization where I can make a tangible contribution and also build a career.”

What Not to Do

Here are some tips for how not to respond to this classic interview question. Don’t:

  • Be too specific. Steer clear of a response such as “I plan to be a vice president at a leading firm within the next five years, making a minimum of $150,000.” While ambitions are good, if you’re too specific, you risk stating goals that aren’t realistic in relation to the job.
  • Raise any red flags. For example, don’t say, “Well, I’m not really sure. I’ve always dreamed of going to law school or maybe even following my passion for becoming a professional dancer.” Of course, if you’ve already committed to another career path that would compromise your ability to do the job, it’s only fair to be open about it. After all, it’s your personal and professional credibility that’s at stake.

The career counselors at PrideStaff Fresno can work with you as you prepare for your next round of job interviews. In fact, we can help strategize your entire job search process from start to finish, including leads on current openings in your field, resume writing, and how to present yourself as a leading candidate and transition into your new role. Contact us today, so we can tell you more.

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