Job Interviews: How NOT To Answer “Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?”

CN_Marc_v1_eAs a follow-up to How To Answer Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years, where I offer some hopefully helpful ideas about how to answer this notorious job interview question, I thought it would be fun to add a few thoughts about how NOT to answer the five-year question.

Of course, as with any answer to an interview question, there is no one-size-fits-all response that will make every interviewer happy. But the following answers probably are a good bet to avoid if you’re in an interview and asked where you see yourself five years from now:

10 not-so-good responses to where you’d like to be in 5 years

(1)   In the Bahamas.

(2)   Part of the Lottery Winners Hall of Fame.

(3)   Running my own online business from one of your cushy cubicles.

(4)   Dating that hot receptionist. Great hire, by the way!

(5)   Do you think this place will still be around in five years? Really?

(6)   I’d LOVE to work my way up so I can get myself a job I really want.

(7)   On tour with my rock group.  Oh man, that would be sweet!

(8)   I’d like to learn my job well enough to be able to sneak out to play golf.

(9)   Well, if we’re dreaming … I want your job. How much do you make?

(10)  Interviewing candidates and asking stupid job interview questions.

A few more thoughts on the five-year question

Ok. I don’t really expect anyone to give these answers during an actual job interview. This one is mostly for fun. But then again, they do convey an attitude that you want to stay away from when answering this question.

Best advice is to come up with an answer that fits the employer and job. One that shows you have what it takes to learn your job well, look to contribute above and beyond whenever possible, and plan to grow into an essential, loyal, well-respected employee who is willing to hang in through highs and lows, and take on more responsibilities as opportunities arise.

If there is a specific skill and / or area of responsibility you’d like to work toward (based on your research of the company), great to mention. Just don’t try to fix the place before you even get there, don’t act as if this job is just a stepping stone (they want someone ready to commit), and definitely don’t come on like you know it all. No one does.

NOTE:  For more on this topic, see five years from now question article mentioned above.

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