The Results Are In: What Do You Look for in Response to the Question “Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?”

When searching for the perfect job candidate, hiring managers and decision makers tend to ask specific questions to help differentiate applicants.

According to a survey by Indeed, 47% of employers only ask 5 – 10 questions during an interview. With so few questions to determine if the candidate is right for the position, the answers given are incredibly important. One of the most commonly asked questions during the interview process is “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

In October, we asked our readers what answers they look for when asking candidates where they see themselves in five years, and as you can imagine, the answers were across the board.

One respondent explained that a candidate who demonstrates future thought is key:

“A definitive answer that demonstrates thought given to future goals! Whether it be charging up the chain of the position they’re interviewing for or gaining the experience to ‘go it on their own,’ just to know that they have dedicated some time to beyond the moment makes a difference.”

Another Refresh Leadership reader likes interviewees who give personal goals:

“A path. A general idea of what they see in their future and then find out what it takes to get there. An answer like, “buy a house, have XYZ in savings, and rescuing dogs” tells me there’s something more than what they have now and something for them to strive for.”

Embracing a future with the company is what this reader looks for:

“I look for their answer to include that they plan to still be with our company if hired. I am not as concerned about if they are looking to stay in the position we are hiring for, but I am looking for a long-term employee. I want to know that my training will not be in vain!”

This respondent looks for answers that show a candidate is fully invested:

“That they will be invested in our organization and also that their expectations for moving up the ladder are not too aggressive as our employees stay for many years – highest has been 30 years – so progress can be slow in some departments.”

Here are a few other answers from our readers:

  • Optimism, emotional intelligence
  • Ambition
  • Growing within this company if hired here
  • To see if they have a career plan in mind

To learn more about hiring the right team and interviewing tips, check out these Refresh Leadership articles:

What other tips would you give hiring managers conducting interviews? How has your company structured interview questions? Let us know in the comments section below!

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