What do you think are your main career options for the next five years?

  | James Innes

What do you think are your main career options for the next five years?

Alternative and related questions:

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
How long do you plan to stay/would you stay in this job if we offer it to you?
How far do you feel you might rise in our organisation?

The meaning behind the question:

This question is very closely related to my top 10 question, covered in Chapter 2, "Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?" but is sufficiently different for us to cover it separately here.  The interviewer is specifically asking what you see your 'career options' as being.  They want to know how long you feel you might stay in their organisation, how this new job fits into your career plan and how you envisage you will progress in their organisation.

Your answer:

The answer to this question is really quite simple.  In most cases, you will simply want to demonstrate that you are committed to this new job for the five years ahead (whether that's true or not!) but that, naturally, you don't want to just stand still; you expect to be able to progress and move upwards in their organisation – to their benefit as well as your own.  To put it another way, you see them as your preferred career option for the whole five years ahead and aren't currently contemplating any other options.  In reality, five years is a long time and you may well intend to consider other options before those five years are up – but telling the interviewer this isn't going to support your case for them to hire you.


I see myself remaining with your organisation for the next five years.  I feel that's my best career option at present.  Naturally, I will be hoping to progress significantly over the course of those five years and, having proved myself, would expect to be entrusted with greater responsibility and a higher level of autonomy.  I can see that there are plenty of opportunities for promotion and for ongoing professional development within your organisation and I am keen to take advantage of them and to become a greater asset to your organisation.

Word of warning:

In most cases, you should avoid being too specific and stating, for example, a particular job role you hope to be able to get in, say, three years' time.  You are being recruited for a specific job and that must remain your current focus.

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