This is one of the common and most important question candidates are asked in an interview. When you are interviewing for a new job, it can be hard to put in words where you would like to be in your career the next year let alone five years in the future. Though you know, or do not know it’s important to be careful how you respond because you’ll need to tailor your response to the job for which you are interviewing.
Why this question is asked? By asking this interview questions interviewers and hiring managers try to sense how your career path and goals align with the company’s goals and whether you are likely to fit into the long-term goals of the company or leave after a few months or a year.
Questions about as such can be tricky to answer – you need to be honest with your answer, as well as keep it relevant to the job interviewed and industry you are in. Giving a vague response could make interviewers believe that you’ve not invested much in your career, aren’t a good fit for the company, or are disguising something.
Here are few tips outlined for giving correct responses to questions about the future stages of your career, while maintaining your interest in the role you are being interviewed for.
Prepare Well & Research a Career Path
For answering this question, research and identify a career path which will flow from the position you are applying for. This is key for answering this question. Try to get answers like how long you are going to spend in the same position, and what path you could take up the career ladder after you have achieved the best accomplishments in the role.
Check what could be the next steps you could take within next five years?
Some employers will clearly outline pathways in the career section of their website. However, you may need to approach professionals in the field through alumni, family, friends, or professional associations to gain an accurate picture.
Underline Your Interest in This Job
It is often advantageous to emphasize your interest in thoroughly mastering the initial position before moving on. If it seems like you are rushing past that first job, employers might question how motivated you are to carry out those duties.
After all, the hiring manager will probably want someone who will be happy and competent in that role for at least a year or two. Integrating a clear rationale into your answer regarding how your interests and skills equip you to do the job you are being considered for can help to alleviate any concerns about how long you will want to stay at the job.
When There is No Clear Career Path
You should remember as a job seeker that not all jobs are pathways to higher positions. For example, positions like sales, event planning, teaching, and computer programming, development, pharmacist, it is appropriate to highlight proficiency in that job as your five-year goal. Think about specific parts of the job in which you can master. For example for a programmer job: “Within five years I would like to be recognized as an expert in terms of my programming language, have developed many applications with the tool, have gained highly significant proficiency and have created many useful and efficient applications to my clients. I would like to recognized a go-to person for that application or in respect to that programming language”
State You Goals
Stating your goals in terms of results which you would like to produce is another angle for responding. So, for example, a prospective teacher for a district which is trying to upgrade performance on standardized tests might say “I would like to significantly increase the percentage of students reading at or above grade level through creative instructional methods.” Of course, you would need to be able to share some examples of how you would achieve this.
Moving Up the Career Ladder
There are a few jobs where you are expected to move on after a couple of years, including some analyst positions in investment banking and consulting, as well as legal assistants and scientific research assistants (for new college grads). In those cases, you will have more leeway in your answers, but you will still want to establish how the job at hand makes sense given the skills and interests you would bring to the employer.
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