Job interviews can be a struggle. On one hand, you’ve successfully navigated yourself from the application stage to the interview. Chances are high you’ve made it considerably further than others who were vying for the same job. But, you still have to stand out amongst the other interviewees; you must prove you have the skills and experience you say you do to successfully land the job.
One question you may be asked is, “Where do you see yourself in “X” number of years?” It could be three, five or even ten years. The reason they ask you this question is usually to see how ambitious a candidate is; they want to know if you have realistic expectations for the job and their future.
How not to answer
If answers like, “Running the place,” or “In your job” come to mind, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. You may feel an answer like this shows you are ambitious and growth driven, but the hiring manager doesn’t have a lot to back this up. This is, after all, an interview to get to know a candidate better. The line between confidence and arrogance is a fine one. You don’t want to give an answer that leaves the hiring manager trying to figure out which one you are. Definitely never say something like, “Somewhere else.” If this is the case, why apply here in the first place?
The right way to answer
You should instead use a formula that conveys your goals and ambitions in a less off-putting manner, that communicates realistic expectations for growth, but expectation none the less. When practicing your answer, focus on where this role could potentially lead, and if that path is aligned with your own expectations.
For example, a candidate could indicate that five years is an adequate amount of time to gain a deep understanding of the industry. With this deeper understanding, they would expect more responsibility and potential leadership opportunities which is exciting because they feel they have benefited from great leadership themselves.
So, if you’re mulling over how to answer this question these are some great tips. And if you’re needing help on your journey to find a new position, reach out to one of our great recruiters here at JSG.