September 20, 2020

This common interview question proves difficult for many job seekers.  It can be particularly difficult for those who are still trying to figure out what they want in a career.

The Wrong Answers

There may not be a right answer to this question, but there certainly are some wrong answers. Let’s approach this from the employer’s perspective to help you avoid the wrong answers. They’re likely asking for your five-year goal because they want to know how long you will be with the organization. Will you be happy doing this job for five years? Do they have opportunities that match your long-term ambitions?

The interviewers probably don’t want to hear that you’re planning to go back to school or start your own business. If your five-year goal is not going to help the organization to reach their vision, they are not likely to move you forward in the interview process.

They also won’t likely be impressed if you tell them you want their job in five years. This canned answer may sound ambitious, but it shows a lack of preparation.  It also doesn’t speak to the corporate vision or mission.

Research the Opportunity

Think of this question as a chance to demonstrate your interest in the current job and in the overall organization. To do this, you will need to research the opportunity. Explain why you are interested in the company by referring to their culture, values, growth plans … all things you should have learned before the interview.

Option One: Be Vague

If you don’t have a clear vision of where you want to be in five years, that’s OK. It took me over a decade of work experience to realize I wanted to build a career in supply chain recruitment.

A perfectly valid approach is to be vague about your five-year goal, and instead outline what you are looking for today. Talk about the company culture, and how their values align with your own. Use the question as a chance to demonstrate your knowledge of the organization, and to express your interest in the job.

Option Two: Be Specific

If you have a clear goal of where you see yourself in five years, say so.

If you’ve done your research, you should know if this company values the same things you do. You should also have a rough idea of how the company is structured, and what the next logical steps should be in your own career development.  If your personal goals are in alignment with the corporate vision, this could be a match made in heaven!

If this organization can accommodate your ambitions, that would be amazing. But maybe your goals are not in alignment with the company’s, in which case it may not be the right organization for you. If you have a clear vision for where you want to be in five years, be transparent about it.  It’s better to find out it’s not the right company for you during the interview than after you’ve started working there.

Contact Us

Looking for more interview or resume tips? Check the blog at SCLSearch.com, or take a look at our jobs page to see what opportunities we have available. Connect with one of our logistics recruiters on LinkedIn. And let’s see if we can help you find that perfect opportunity in supply chain and logistics.

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