“Where do you see yourself in five years?”

It’s one of the most common questions asked during job interviews, as potential employers assess candidates’ long-term plans and fit with their organization.

You can’t blame them: It’s very costly to rehire if someone leaves after a short tenure, so employers ideally like to land new talent that will stay at their company for the long run. Their hope is that your longer term career growth will be with them.

Of course, you don’t have to commit to that – or to anything uber specific. What a hiring team is also looking for with this question is someone with the right level of confidence and commitment to add real value to their company, as well as their ability to think on their feet.

So, how should you handle this question if it’s posed in your next interview? Here’s how to be prepared for it:

Be honest.

Don’t feel pressured into a reply that’s unrealistic or makes it seem you’re on a career trajectory that’s simply too good to be true. Instead, take a breath and honestly discuss your professional goals and how you’d like to see them unfold over time.

  • Think first. In advance of your interview, reflect and be honest with yourself about what you want out of this job and what it would mean to your future.
  • Demonstrate a desire for growth – for both yourself and the employer’s company. As you do so, be sure your answer illustrates your understanding of the organization, its challenges, and its industry – and how you can contribute.

Display confidence through your body language.

Non-verbal communication can be just as powerful as the words you use. If you’re hesitant or unsure, it will hurt your credibility and undermine what you’re really trying to say. Keep your answer straightforward, and reflect this through your body language, as well.

  • Look the part. Sit up straight, but not ramrod stiff. Maintain eye contact and a confident tone of voice. Practice this dialogue ahead of time with a trusted friend, family member or coach – as you should with other anticipated interview questions.

Take the opportunity to toot your own horn.

When you describe your five-year plan, back it up with reasons why your talent and previous accomplishments will help make it happen – and how you’ll be a value-added employee at every turn.

  • Here’s where it pays to be specific. Be prepared with examples of your past relevant achievements. Tell compelling stories without rambling. Use as many statistics and details as needed to drive your point home.

Being ready to ace your interview is critical to your job search success – as is finding the right opportunity and landing that interview in the first place. Let the experienced career coaches at PrideStaff Northern Kentucky work with you throughout your search, from start to finish, so your ideal job becomes reality and your long-term career plans stay on target. Contact us today to learn more.

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