On average, employers spend £3000 and take 28 days to recruit a new hire. These figures demonstrate just how important it is to appoint the right person for the role.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years is an important question to help employers get an understanding of your future goals and how those goals align with the position you’re applying for.

Why do employers ask, “where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

Employers may have several reasons for asking candidates about their mid-term plans.

Your intentions to stay with the company.

Hiring a new employee is both expensive and time-consuming.  Employers need to know if their hire will be a return on their investment.

Your answer will help determine if you have the potential to be with the company for a time that is valuable.

If your goals align with what the company can offer.

It’s probable that you have set yourself a few professional goals in terms of what you want from your career.  For example, if you are just starting out, your answer to “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” may involve securing a management role.

Your interviewer needs to determine if your ambition matches with what’s on offer at your target organisation.

Your answer will uncover if you’re a good fit for the company and if the organisation is a good fit for you.

Your interest in the role.

Your interviewer will ask “where do you see yourself in 5 years?” to uncover more about your interests and if this role is just a springboard to a job that truly interests you.

Your motives and passion for what is on offer NOW are critical. It provides them with an assurance that they can offer you a rewarding professional experience and want to stay with the company long-term.

How to answer, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

Preparing considered answers to interview questions is important, and this one is no different.

Here are some tips to help you create an answer to “where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

Know your career goals.

Getting clear about your career goals covering the next 5 years is important. Try to be specific. For example, you may like to ask yourself

  • Do I want to gain new skills? What would these be?
  • Do I want to work on particular projects? What might these be?
  • Do you want to work toward professional qualifications, or hold a particular job title?

Connect your goals to the job description.

It helps to create a connection between your goals and the job you’re applying for.

Read the job description carefully and identify the skills you already possess as well as those you want to get more experience in.

This will help you link your ambitions to the job you’re interviewing for.

Connect your interests to the job’s potential.

Growth and professional development are desirable traits in an employee. Likewise, an employer that offers its team opportunities to learn and grow is a deal breaker to candidates.

If you have a particular interest and you can see how you can explore this within the job on offer, then you should aim to mention this as part of your answer.

For example, you may be a software developer with ambitions to progress into working with a new tech stack or work with a particular technology. If you can see the potential for this within the job description, mention it. Your interest in it won’t go unnoticed and will demonstrate that the job will challenge you and fulfil your interests.

Be enthusiastic.

Positivity and enthusiasm for what’s on offer demonstrate that a candidate will have a good energy and be an effective and productive team member.

Positive language and an upbeat tone will promote your passion and offer the motivation behind your application.

two casually dressed women sit talking across a table

Consider if the company can help you achieve your goals.

Research the company and those who work within it. Use the LinkedIn profiles of existing employees and track the career progress of those who once held the position you are interviewing for.

This will help you determine if the company really can help you meet your 5 year goal.

If, after your research, it appears that the role and the company can’t meet your plan it may be a good idea to be upfront about this from the offset. However, if you do have to go down this route, make sure you’re professional and positive when giving your answer.


“Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” is asked to discover if you intend to stay with the company and if it can meet your professional ambitions.

  • To prepare your answer, think about
  • Your career goals.
  • Your interests, versus what’s on offer.
  • Be enthusiastic and positive
  • Be realistic and honest in your response.

Do you need more help getting the offer of that dream job? Our blog is full of career advice, as well as guides on interview techniques, writing a great CV and more.

Head over to the Employee Advice section of our blog.

About the author: As a founder of Ignite Digital Talent, I lead our brilliant team to ensure we deliver time and time again for our clients. I also stay closely networked with industry influencers to ensure we are well placed to understand the issues and challenges our clients face.

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