Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

This is the third installment in the “Interview Series”. In the last two posts we covered best ways to respond to Why do you want to change jobs? and Why should you hire me for this job? In this post, let’s look at this other often asked question — Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

The real intent behind this question to understand your purpose, passion, career plan, and what excites you the most. It is also a window to your ability to plan long-term. Your response to this question must evoke — Energy, Enthusiasm, and Excitement.

#1. Energy

As you frame the response to this job, the most important element is to demonstrate Energy. Energy comes from three things — Purpose, Passion, and Plan.

  1. Purpose can be articulated in a more generic form. “I want to be make a difference” is a very generic purpose statement. It should clearly show what motivates you.

  2. Passion should articulate that element for which your heart beats. “I want to be a leader” is a non-passionate version of your purpose. “I derive immense satisfaction when I make a difference” (or) “My eyes light up when I see an opportunity to make a difference” brings in the passion.

  3. Plan should clearly articulate your plan (duh) to bring your purpose to life. “I want to be the CEO of this company” is a very target and the role should be a stepping stone to that plan.

As you outline your response, dig deeper to bring in the energy and clearly connect your Purpose, Passion, and Plan.

#2. Enthusiasm

Your response to clearly articulate your enthusiasm for the role. After you’ve clearly articulated the Purpose, Passion, and Plan, you should very quickly go back to focusing on why you are enthusiastic about the role. All big dreams are earned one step at a time.

Note that you are interviewing for the role in hand and not for the role of your dream.

#3. Excitement

Lean In, Feel it, and let your eyes have the sparkle. If you do not feel goosebumps, responding to it you probably could do better. All of us have that one story, one moment, one relationship in life that gives us goosebumps. Your response should do that.

One way to get there is to visualize it as an object and simply feel it. Assume it is day 1 as the CEO — how would your parents feel? Assume you win that award, how would your kid feel? You need to feel the emotion and then propagate that energy to the Interviewer.


It is time for the next P — Practice.

Try framing your response:

The ability to “_______ (your purpose)” gets my adrenalin flowing. I simply love it. My big dream is to be “_______ (your plan)”. I am very excited and energized about this role because “_______ (state why)”. This role really means a lot to me. I want to “_______ (win this role)”, and work smart and hard to get to that goal.

I truly believe your heart has to beat for something other than pumping blood and oxygen. It is truly important to identify that, communicate that, and infect others with enthusiasm. This question “Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?” is your way to assert yourself as a person who dreams passionately and purposefully, and has a plan to get there!

So what does your heart beat for?

#InterviewQuestions #Career

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