The question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” comes up in many job interviews because it matters to potential employers to know about a candidate’s career-orientedness and goals. The question gives employers a peek into the psyche of the candidate. It will also align their offers with the goals of that particular candidate. It is a question that benefits both the employee and the employer.
The question gives the candidates a chance to show potential bosses that they have goals for the future and know how to achieve those goals. For employers, the answer to the question will provide them the means to understand these candidates better and, at the same time, align these goals with the mission and vision of the organization. The question more than gives employers an understanding of the workers’ plans. It allows them to plan if a particular candidate is in it for the long haul or not.
Positions to Offer
If an employee plans to go back to school to earn a master’s degree, employers will benefit from that plan. This means that they can offer them a better position in the company that aligns with the degree they aim to pursue. Those who took a technical-vocational-livelihood strand in senior high school may still plan to seek a college degree later on. This should give potential employers an understanding of what they can expect from you in the future.
Is their company going to benefit from your plans five years from now? Do they see themselves working for your company, or did they say something about building their own business? Can the employers expect these candidates to stay with them for the long haul? The candidate’s answer to the question of how they see themselves years from now will give employers information about what kind of position fits them best in the company.
Plans for Training and Promotion
Knowing about a candidate’s plans will also give employers an idea of how to train them for future promotions. For example, if they are very skilled and able in their jobs, should the employers give them additional training for promotion? Are they going to fit in a different position after the training and experience they gather from the jobs that they are applying for?
At the start of a job contract, most employers are not 100% sure about the position they’re offering the candidates. They rely on the candidate’s qualifications, skills, and job interview answers. They are relying on their gut feel and the way the candidate makes them feel during an interview. There is no actual formula on how one can determine that a candidate is great for the position he/she is applying for.
Prepare for Short-term Goals
More than anything, if an employer feels that the candidates are right for the position, but it looks like they have different plans for the future, then they can prepare to offer them a job that has short-term goals for the company. If the law allows it, the candidates can even be up for a consultant position and not a full-time offer. This empowers the organization to think of itself first and prioritize its needs.
The two parties can have a tryout of some sort, wherein the candidate will work on a contractual or project basis. If both of them decide to keep the working relationship, then that is the time they can talk about a full-time position. This brings back the power to the employers since most of them feel enslaved by job contracts and labor laws. At the same time, it also allows the employees to test the water.
Isn’t it bad for companies to prepare only for short-term contracts? Not really. In fact, this could be beneficial for the company if the candidate does not turn out to be the right fit for the organization. The candidates also do not have to spend years with an organization that does not boost their skills or makes use of their talents.
So the question, “How do you see yourself in five years?” isn’t just for the employer to get to know potential candidates. It is for the candidates themselves. It will stop them from wasting their time on jobs that will not benefit their goals. And for employers, it will give you a sense of timeline—how can you better utilize the skills of a candidate right now, and how can you ready the company if that candidate decides to leave?