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Where do you see yourself in Five years?

Should hiring managers still be asking this question in 2022? And how should you answer it?

Tricky, isn’t it? Having recruited mid-level management roles and above for over ten years there isn’t much in the way of interview questions I haven’t heard; what superhero would you be? If you were a brick in a wall, which brick would you be? These types of questions may seem like they are designed to trick you, however the questions are asked to uncover qualities less likely to surface in your usual interview process.

My advice would be to have a bit of fun with them as no decision on whether a candidate is the best person for the job relies on their ability to calculate how many LED lightbulbs it would take to light the city of London.

These types of questions are still extremely rare whereas one of the most common questions that seems to have lasted the test of time is ‘Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?’ As simple as it seems, this is one of the hardest questions to answer and you may find yourself second guessing what answer your interviewer wants to hear.

Recruiting top talent

Over the last 12 months we have seen record vacancies across most sectors, coupled with a lack of talent in the market this has driven the importance of employee retention to an all-time high across all businesses in 2022. Recruitment and Attrition are now at the top of the agenda in thousands of boardrooms up and down the country.

The aim of an interviewer asking this often-misunderstood question is all about where do you see yourself with us and our business, they want to know that the position will satisfy you and that longevity within the role is on your mind. Remaining engaged and happy with the company will be on the forefront of any hiring manager’s mind.

What’s the right answer?

The correct way to respond to this question is all about balance; show that you will be content in the position however, you are equally motivated to progress in a realistic way with the business - however that may look.

You also want to show that your mid-long term aspirations align with the companies vision; if the advert or job spec discusses a long term management training programme then expressing an interest in that would be music to the hiring manager’s ears 😊

What not to say…..

I have seen some great candidates fall at this step of the interview, here’s a few examples the incorrect answer:

  • You see this role as a great stepping stone in your career to the next role

  • You want to be the next CEO or nothing

  • You want to move abroad in the next couple of years

Your answer needs to be both indistinct and realistic, while remaining truthful. There is never a one size fits all for this type of question, share your progression desires while tailoring it to the advertised progression/development that the business is offering.