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Published on March 9, 2020

How to Answer: Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?

How to Answer: Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? You don’t need to be a fortune teller with a crystal ball to find the answer. Although it may sound like a trick question, it’s not. The only trick in answering it is to try to align your own ambitions with a given company’s.

Let’s say you’re interviewing for a job at a start-up. A good goal may include growing as the company grows and learning about the space from the most ambitious people in the business. Then, you can answer the question “Where do you see yourself in 5 years” with a solid response: In five years, I hope to be leading a team of my own within the company.

Your answer should be forward-looking and optimistic. That said, you don’t want to come across as so ambitious that you would steal your interviewer’s job from under her. Think of your answer as a litmus test for how long you will stay with the company. However you answer the question, your interviewer’s takeaway should be that you want to stay at the company for many years.

The Psychology and Subtext of the Question and Answer

Why do interviewers ask this age-old question? Simple. The company does not want to go to all the effort and cost of training you, only to have you leave — taking everything you have learned with you.

Bringing on new employees is both time-consuming and costly. The subtext of your answer to “Where do you see yourself in 5 years” should be to allay your interviewer’s fears that your only interest in the job is as a conduit to a better job elsewhere.[1]

How to Answer It Well?

Coming up with a good answer to this question can be complicated as it forces you to think of a future that is currently a complete mystery. However, there are some ways you can prepare a reliable answer that will satisfy any interviewer.

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1. Consider Your Five-Year Plan

To help you navigate the right answer, try jotting down a road map of where you actually see yourself in five years before you go on any interviews. Don’t worry about the exact title you’ll have (unless it helps you plan your future). Instead, think about the tasks you’ll be doing each day. Taking this one simple step can help you answer with conviction.

Plan to answer this question since it’s a perennial favorite of interviewers, and whatever you do, don’t show a lack of ambition by answering “I hope to be in this same job.”

2. Beware of Being Too Focused on the Future

Think of the “Where do you see yourself in 5 years” question as a shiny object. The interviewer wants to distract you from the present interview by asking you this question. Why? She asks you about the future to see if you can use it to draw a straight line back to the present.

For this reason, a two-part answer often works beautifully. “I want this particular job…,” you might say as a way to reinforce your desire for the position. Then, in part two, explain your future plans: …“because it will help me build the outreach skills I will need as a foundation for a successful career in marketing. Your company has won numerous marketing awards, and I know I will be learning from the best in the business.”

Keep it short and sweet, but also include details that show you know the company you want to work for.

3. Walk the Same Career Paths That the Company Offers

When someone asks “Where do you see yourself in 5 years,” should you answer with absolute honesty? Yes, of course you should. Your answer should also reflect the research you put into the company.

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You never want to say anything about your plans to retire young. Never suggest that you’re independently wealthy and therefore won’t need to be working in five years.

Before you go to your interview, do as much homework as you can on the probable career path you will take. How does this job give you the entrée to that path?

For example, if you are applying for a receptionist position at a dermatologist’s office, do not say that you hope that this entry position will help you secure a job as a nurse at the same office. Instead, if you dream of becoming a nurse, learn the degrees and licenses you will need to earn to become qualified. If, indeed, becoming a nurse is your dream, it makes more sense for you to apply for a medical aid position instead of a receptionist so that your career path aligns with your goal.

One way to plan out your short-term career ambitions is to look up online job descriptions of the position you hope to attain and scrutinize the qualifications. In doing so, you will about realistic goals to bring up when you answer.

For example, if you aspire be a financial analyst in the investment firm where you’re interviewing, but you are currently applying for a finance program associate position, make sure you can attain the needed qualifications while working full-time. If you haven’t already earned the necessary degree, your interviewer may infer that you’ll be going back to school — and therefore either leaving your position or cutting back on your hours to attend part-time. That answer could backfire.

Better still, find out what training programs are offered through the firm or that can be reimbursed through the firm while holding down your full-time job. Reference your desire to hone your skills and learn more, and you’ll impress your interviewer with your future-focused aspirations.

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4. Don’t Fight the Question

The “Where do you see yourself in 5 years” question forces you to peer into the future. Sometimes this can feel frightening, but fighting the question will not help you secure the job. Lean into the question, instead of away from it.[2]

For example, do not say, “I can’t possibly know where I will be in five years from now. In the last five years, I got married, divorced, and remarried. Whew! Life’s a whirlwind.” Do your best to answer the question, and don’t be defensive.

If you are truly just trying to land a job and haven’t given much thought to what long-term career path to pursue, you may want to answer in a broad, nonspecific way while still showing an upbeat attitude. For example, you may have decided your major in college isn’t your passion after all, and you are interviewing at the company because your roommate works there and flagged your application.

Let your interviewer know that you’re excited by the opportunity and why, and that you are ready for a long-term role. In this case, you may simply answer, “This is a field I’m excited to explore for its growth opportunities and cutting-edge advances. I’m hoping that in five years I’ll have the expertise to help move the company forward and keep it competitive.”

5. Be Realistic

You may be particularly ambitious, and your plan is to climb as high and land as far up in the company as possible, as quickly as possible. Still, tamp down your determination to unseat the CEO in five years (unless you’re entering upper management). If you shoot too high, instead of impressing your interviewer, you will raise eyebrows and come off as over-eager, callous, or even unrealistic.

Root your answer in reality, realizing that advancing one or two positions above the one you’re interviewing for is the most likely scenario. If you can use a past job advancement experience as an example, you will show that you are advancement-worthy.

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For example: “My summer job in college was at a vacation resort where I started in the restaurant as wait staff, but after one summer, I was promoted to restaurant manager, and the next summer I became an assistant to the general manager. My hope is that in five years I’ll again be able to advance two positions above where I’d be starting in your company by showing my ability to learn quickly and gain others’ trust.”

6. Prove Your Staying Power

As today’s job turnover rates become as commonplace as upgrading your iPhone, employers are trying their best to discern which candidates will stick around and which will quickly become antsy and want to move on. In fact, applicants with a job history of changing jobs frequently may not land the interview at all, regardless of their qualifications.

Try to demonstrate that you see yourself staying within the company, learning and adding value as you go. If you then end up staying with the employer for five years or more, chances are it has turned out to be a positive situation for both you and the company — and the answer you gave to “Where do you see yourself in 5 years” may actually have been realized.

More Tips on Interviewing

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Journal of Applied Psychology: The Situational Interview
[2] Language in Society: Answers and evasions

More by this author

Vicky Oliver

Author of 6 best-selling books on job-hunting and job interview questions, business etiquette, frugalista style, advertising, and office politics.

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Last Updated on June 26, 2020

9 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track in 2020

9 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track in 2020

The success of our day is largely dependent on the quality of our planning. Not to miss out anything in their to-dos, some people prefer to make a list of upcoming tasks in a notebook, while others have long started using digital technology solutions.

Calendar applications are some of the main tools that are worth using to organize our life and plan your time carefully.

Many people have switched to specific tools; however, there are still some who do not use calendars on a daily basis. They may find some applications uncomfortable to use, non-functional, or expensive.

In this article, we are going to check out the best calendars apps to help you stay organized.

1. Any.do Calendar

    This calendar has direct integration with Any.Do To-Do List, which gives you a unique tandem of two applications.

    Apart from its extended functionality, Cal Calendar is easy to use. The creation of events is very simple and fast.

    What is more, depending on the name of the event, the application automatically adds contacts and geolocation data to the entry description. You can even import your lists and entries from Any.do.

    Any.do Calendar is a great option for any type of user. It is very convenient and doesn’t overcomplicate the mode of display.

    Another good thing is that this tool is available for free, so you can use it without spending a dime for the software.

    Download Any.do Calendar here!

    2. Google Calendar

      Google Calendar is the official calendar for Android devices that has been tested out by many users around the globe. If you are right now trying to get away from it, consider changing your mind.

      Since this application is installed on most Android devices by default, many users think that there is nothing special in this program. They are wrong.

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      Google has been updating its calendar for quite a few years, and now it comes in Material Design with advanced event features, direct integration into other Google services (for example, supports reminders and Google Now), and comes with Exchange support.

      The program is super easy and will not cost a dime for you. It is a good thing, right?

      Download Google Calendar here.

      3. Jorte Calendar

        Jorte Calendar is one of the most popular calendar applications in the Google Play store.

        The program features a wide range of configuration options, with many design alternatives. You can adjust display mode to your needs and view calendar entries sorted by month, week, or day (by hours). It is convenient for quickly picking the desired date, using task bars, and setting reminders.

        Apart from its ordinary information storing function, this application can be a special cloud service, Jorte Cloud, allowing you to synchronize calendars, schedules, and task lists on multiple devices. The application also supports data importing from Google Calendar.

        For those paying attention to the program design, there is also Jorte Store, where you can buy styles and icons to personalize the calendar. This feature makes Jorte is one of the brightest calendar applications.

        A basic version of the app is free of charge, so if you do not want to spend money on a calendar application, it is a good option.

        Download Jorte Calendar here.

        4. Business Calendar

          Business Calendar is geared towards people who use their calendar for work purposes and business task planning. It offers different modes with wide configuration capabilities.

          The application gives a default view mode by months, and events can be marked in different colors. Display modes/ sorting can be adjusted to your needs (by month, day, year, or events).

          You can also set a multi-day viewing mode to see how things look for the next few days. Scrolling up and down moves you by month, and if you check a few days, they will be shown in a more detailed form.

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          The day display mode offers hourly scheduling, and the schedule mode provides a detailed schedule for a single event.

          Business Calendar is a great tool for planning/ scheduling cases, tasks, and events. There is a support for recurring events, which can be set up in just a few clicks.

          Having purchased software, you can use it to import and export other calendars, delete, copy, or move several events at the same time.

          Android Business Calendar application may seem somewhat chaotic, but it works fine and is easy to work with if you play with it for a while.

          A full version of the application is available for $4.99, but you can also find a free version for the app test drive.

          Download Business Calendar here.

          5. Calendar

            Calendar is a relatively new app. It works as a web app and for both iOS and Android devices. It is an intelligent app that learns your contacts, schedule and tasks. It also helps you schedule and arrange meetings according to your available time slots.

            A good thing about Calendar is that it allows you to sync up with other calendars you use such as Apple Calendar and Google Calendar. And so you can manage all the calendars you have in one place.

            Calendar also gives you analytics of your meetings, giving you a clear picture on how you can improve your time management.

            Download Calendar: Meeting & Scheduling here.

            6. aCalendar

              aCalendar opens our collection of top 10 calendar applications available on the market today. With its appealing design, easy navigation, and great functionality, it is one of the most popular calendar apps in our list.

              Some of extra functions include color schemes for each case type (48 colors to choose from), different types of demonstrations, different widgets, moon phases, and much more.

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              Taking into account it functionality, aCalendar is a reliable calendar application that has an easy-to-navigate interface with three display options. Scrolling from side to side allows you to switch between the display modes of the month, week and day.

              When scrolling down and up, you are moving through the calendar at intervals in accordance with the selected display mode.

              Apart from its time planning feature, aCalendar synchronizes photos from contact lists or social networks to remind you about birthdays, anniversaries, or any other special dates.

              The program also supports data transfer through NFC and full-screen widgets, which eases your work with any data.

              The program is available for free, but you can also get even more features if you buy the extended version of software for $4.99.

              Download aCalendar here.

              7. DigiCal Calendar

                DigiCal Calendar is very similar to Cal Calendar in the fact that the application focuses on design more than on its functionality. However, this doesn’t mean that the application doesn’t serve the purpose.

                With this calendar application, you can synchronize all your calendars and view them in different ways.

                Along with the basic functions, this program comes with support for Google Calendar, Outlook, and includes some unique and interesting features. You can match keywords to the image or set up a dark theme.

                The app can even show you the weather forecast for three days. There are many other features that deserve the attention of people who really like to use calendar applications.

                Download DigiCal Calendar here.

                8. SolCalendar

                  SolCalendar can be called a universal application. It claims to be an all-in-one digital solution having a basic calendar functionality combined with some other advanced features, such as weather forecast for a specific day.

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                  The application supports Google Calendar, as well as tasks, widgets, lunar calendar and even Foursquare.

                  Those searching for a calendar application to cover just everything in its functionality, SolCalendar is a program to consider. There are a lot of interesting things in this application; the program does an excellent job working in “all-in-one” mode.

                  Test SolCalendar – the application is available for free. You can test it out without purchasing the service.

                  Download SolCalendar here.

                  9. Today Calendar

                    Today Calendar is one of the most hip and edgy calendars in our list. The solution was one of the first ones that really embraced Material Design and remains one of the few that adhere to the neat style.

                    The calendar application offers bold colors, simple controls, and great functionality. This is not as heavy an application as many others; it will not eat all the memory of your device.

                    If you are not searching for something complicated and over-functional, Today Calendar is what you need. You can always test the application before paying for it – the program is available for free.

                    Download Today Calendar here.

                    Our Verdict

                    Searching for the right application to manage your various calendars and plan your busy day can sometimes turn into a streak of obstacles.

                    Most of us need flexible applications that can be easily used to manage our tough schedule. The application should have all necessary time planning functions and be intuitive.

                    Stylish design and limitless compatibility also matter. It is not always easy to find such a program.

                    The above digital calendar solutions fall under the category “worth” of being used. They are modern, multifunctional, easy, and easy. Pick the one you like!

                    More Productivity Apps for Better Time Management

                    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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