Daily English
Cultural English
Practical English

4 Where do you see yourself in five years?

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SUMMARY OF TIPS:

Your Goal: To assure the interviewer that if the company hires you, you will
continue working for them, and that you have given careful thought to your future
career plans

! Reassure the interviewer that you are not a “job hopper” by telling the interviewer that you plan to stay and grow with the company.
! Research the company to find out the logical next positions to move up in the company.
! If there is more than one direction you can move in to move up in the organization, name these paths and talk about your options depending on your future interests and performance, and the company’s needs.
! Show that you are motivated and have definite plans about doing more in the company.
! Avoid naming a specific job or position or you will seem too narrow or inflexible.
! Do not talk about personal goals or plans.
! Questions about marriage, babies, and childcare are illegal, but if you don’t plan to make any big personal life changes soon, you can volunteer that information.

Sample Answer 1:

My goal is that in five years, I will be working in a managerial position in this company. I see the next few years here at Lotadoe as an opportunity to gain the
skills and knowledge to run one of the departments in this company. One of the reasons I am applying for this position is that this is a large company with a lot of opportunities for advancement. If I continue working in the department where this position is, I hope to be a senior manager with a hand in shaping the strategic plans for development in this area of technology. Another possibility in five years is to transfer to one of the regional offices, where I would oversee local operations.

Ultimately, the direction I would take in this company depends on many factors, such as the changing priorities of the market, the expertise I will have gained at the end of the five years, and the changing needs of the company. I have worn different hats in the company I’m working for now, and my flexibility has
allowed me fill the needs of that company. I hope to have even more opportunities to learn and advance here at Lotadoe, and to contribute to its future growth.

Sample Answer 2:

At the end of five years, I intend to be a leading expert in the field of marketing, working with some of the largest accounts in the country. That’s why I want to work for Michmuney. As a leader in the industry, Michmuney has the resources, talent, and the vision to be the best in the business.

Working for this company is an ambition for many people in this field, and I’m no different. If I’m hired, I plan to cultivate new accounts in industries that Michmuney has not yet explored, including the automotive and healthcare fields. By doing this, I hope to break new ground for this company and to expand its influence in the marketplace.

I see being here at this company long term, not only to continue to build my expertise, but to influence the direction that this company will take in the next ten years. I could do this in any number of official roles in the company, such as managing a region or heading one of the main offices.

I’ve had the opportunity to work all over the country, but I consider this city my home. Working with Michmuney would allow me to come back to my hometown, where I’d plan to stay for a long time. I can’t think of a better place to call my new professional home than Michmuney.

GLOSSARY

managerial – related to a manager or management; related to a high-ranking supervisory position within a company
* All of the managerial offices have windows, but the rest of us have to work in the central part of the building.

to run (something) – to manage something; to be in charge of something; to be responsible for a project or program
* Since Beatrice started running the department, sales have doubled.

senior – high-ranking; superior; someone who has worked in an organization for a longer period of time than the other employees
* This company has seven senior vice-presidents and one president. That’s a lot of management staff!

to shape (something) – to develop something; to have influence over how something is made or done
* That company’s robots are shaping the future of how cars are made.

strategic – ideas and ways for achieving a long-term goal or purpose
* The board of directors is looking for strategic projects that will make the company better than its competitors.

to transfer – to begin working in a different office or department within the same company
* Timothy’s family was angry when his company transferred him to the office in Los Angeles because they didn’t want to move to California.

regional – relating to one place, area, or region of a company’s business; not national
* Denise is responsible for regional sales in the southern United States.

operations – the activity and work that is done in an office or by a company
* What do you think of the company’s decision to move its call center operations overseas, where labor is cheaper?

ultimately – in the end; eventually
* Whether I can afford to study for a master’s degree will depend ultimately on whether I receive a good scholarship.

priority – something that is more or less important than something else
* Lily’s top priority is to find an interesting job. In her opinion, the location and the salary are less important.

expertise – specialized knowledge and experience about something
* How did you gain your expertise in finance? Was it by studying finance at the university, or by reading articles and working in the finance industry?

to wear different hats – to work in many different positions; to do different types of jobs; to have many different types of duties
* Melanie is a mother, a wife, a performer, and a volunteer. She wears so many different hats!

flexibility – willingness and ability to adapt to change
* His manager was impressed by his flexibility during the company’s recent reorganization. No matter what they asked him to do, he did it without
complaining.

leading expert – the most knowledgeable person in a field or industry
* This textbook was written by the nation’s leading expert on chemistry.

ambition – a desire to achieve something; a professional desire for something; wanting to have or to be something
* Her greatest ambition is to write a best-selling book.

to cultivate – to care for something so that it develops and grows; to try to get someone to like you or to think of you favorably
* Finding new customers is important, but cultivating relationships with old customers is the key to maintaining high sales.

to break new ground – to expand into a new field or area; to try something new
* The company broke new ground when it developed a car that ran on solar energy.

long term – for a long time; not temporary
* In the short term, going to school at night while working full-time is very stressful, but in the long term, it’ll improve my chances of making more money.

role – position; function; job
* In his role as the committee chairman, Terry is responsible for coordinating meetings and leading the team’s discussions.

COMPLETE TRANSCRIPT

ESLPod.com presents "Interview Questions Answered," episode four.

Hello, I'm your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

This series is designed to teach you the English you need to know to have a successful interview. We'll first listen to some tips on how to answer the
question, and then we'll listen to and explain two sample answers for the question.

Our question in this episode is: "Where do you see yourself in five years?"

There are two main reasons why companies ask this question, and it's a very common question. One reason is that they want to be sure that you are going to
be continuing to work for them in the future. So, one of the goals that you have in answering the question is to make sure that they know that you want to
continue working at the company in the future, in five years or in ten years or in fifteen years. You also want to show them that you have thought about your
future - you've thought about your future career plans, what you plan on doing in the future. This shows that you are a person who thinks ahead - a person who plans, and companies want people who are thinking about the future, not just about what is happening right now.

So, the first tip we have in answering this question is reassure the interviewer that you are not a job hopper by telling them that you plan to stay with the
company for a long time. To reassure means to make the person feel comfortable - to make them believe that everything is going to be okay. So,
you're saying to the interviewer "I'm going to stay with this company." You want to give them information that shows that you will continue with the company. You don't want to be considered a job hopper, someone who moves to a different job every year. Companies, of course, don't want to hire someone who is going to leave in a short amount of time, especially if they have to train this person to do
the job that they are going to do.

A good way to answer this question is to do some research in the company and find out what the next possible position - higher position - would be for the job that you are taking. If you want to be promoted - if you want to have more responsibility, what would that be? Perhaps it would be a manager or perhaps it would be a supervisor. You want to know that so that when you think about where you are going to be in five years, you can show that you want to do better - you want to be ambitious.

If there's more than one direction you can move in, in terms of getting a better job in the company, you should talk about the different possibilities. Let's say you find out that there are a couple of different ways that you can move up or get a higher position in the company. You can talk about what these possibilities are and that it will depend on your future interest and performance and what the company needs. So, you're showing that you're also a little flexible - you can do different things.

Show, also, that you are motivated and have definite plans about doing more in the company. In answering this question, you want to make sure that the
company knows that you've thought about where you will be in five years, and that you want to be doing good things for the company. You are motivated and you have definite, or real, plans about things that you can do.

You want to avoid giving a specific job or position in the company. It may be better not to say, "I want to be supervisor of my department in five years." You
don't want to seem too narrow. You don't want them to think that you can only do one or two things. Instead, you want to talk about the different possibilities where you could be in five years in the company.

This question is not about your personal goals or your personal plans. They're not asking you if you're going to get married or have children or take a nice
vacation to Los Angeles; they're interested in what your plans are for the company - for your job.

In the United States, it is actually against the law - it is illegal - for a company to ask you if you are married or if you have any children or plan to have children,
how you take care of, especially, your younger children. However, you can give that information if you want to, especially if you don't plan on having any important changes in the next five or ten years. It's probably better, however, not to talk too much about your personal life, and it, again, is not required that talk about whether you are married or single, whether you have children or want to have children. These are things that are probably not important, and it may hurt you. Some companies may think, "Well, if he's going to have a baby" - well, if his wife or if she is going have a baby - "then maybe they won't be a good person for this job." That's why it's illegal to ask questions like that. So, only give that information if you are comfortable volunteering that information.

Now let's listen to a sample answer to the question: "Where do you see yourself in five years?"

[Start of sample answer]

My goal is that in five years, I will be working in a managerial position in this company. I see the next few years here at Lotadoe as an opportunity to gain the
skills and knowledge to run one of the departments in this company. One of the reasons I am applying for this position is that this is a large company with a lot of opportunities for advancement. If I continue working in the department where this position is, I hope to be a senior manager with a hand in shaping the strategic plans for development in this area of technology. Another possibility in five years is to transfer to one of the regional offices, where I would oversee local
operations.

Ultimately, the direction I would take in this company depends on many factors, such as the changing priorities of the market, the expertise I will have gained at the end of the five years, and the changing needs of the company. I have worn different hats in the company I’m working for now, and my flexibility has allowed me fill the needs of that company. I hope to have even more opportunities to learn and advance here at Lotadoe, and to contribute to its future growth.

[End of sample answer]

In our first sample answer, the woman said that her goal in five years is to "be working in a managerial position in this company." Notice she does two things with that first sentence. She gives a very direct answer - she says here is what I want to do in five years. She also says I want to work in this company - I want to continue to be here five years. She's reassuring the interviewer that she wants to
stay with the company.

She also gives a general idea about what she wants to do, but not necessarily a specific job. She says she wants to be "in a managerial position." Managerial, "managerial," comes from the word manage or manager, someone who is a boss - a supervisor. Managerial is an adjective; it's the kind of position - the kind of job - that would be like a manager or a supervisor - a boss. It's not a specific job; there are lots of different kinds of managerial positions at different levels in the company. So, this is a good thing to say. It says I have ambition, I want to have more responsibility in five years, but I'm not sure exactly what - you're not giving the one job or one position that you want to have in five years.

She then continues to talk about how she is going to continue working at this company. She continues her answer by saying that she sees "the next few years here at Lotadoe" - at this company - "as an opportunity," or a way, "to gain," or get more "skills and knowledge to run one of the departments in this company." To run a department means to manage it - to be in charge of - to be responsible for that department. She doesn't say which department, but she does say that she wants to be in a manager or supervisor position. She emphasizes that she will continue to get this company after she has gained more skills and more knowledge, then she hopes to be in a managerial position.

"One of the reasons," she says that she is "applying for this position is that this is a large company with a lot of opportunities for advancement" or promotion. "If I continue working in the department where this position is," she says, "I hope to be a senior manager with a hand in shaping the strategic plans for development in this area of technology."

She's saying here that she wants to be involved in the management of the company, and she gives some specific things that she might to do. She says, "If I continue working in" this "department," and maybe she will, maybe she won't, but if she does continue working, she hopes "to be a senior manager." A senior, "senior," manager is one of the higher level managers. The lower managers might be called junior managers. Senior means older, junior means younger.

Here it means more experience and less experience. Higher level - senior; lower level - junior.

So, she says she wants to "be a senior," or a higher level "manager with a hand in," meaning with some participation in "shaping the strategic plans for
development." To shape something means to change it - to somehow be involved in the way that it will be in the future. So, she wants to change or have
an influence in the strategic plans of the company. Strategic, "strategic," means the important future plans of the company - the plans that will be most important in the long term for the company - the future of the company.

She continues by saying that "Another possibility" for her "in five years is to transfer to one of the regional offices, where I would oversee local operations." She's not saying there's only one job for me in five years, she's saying well, there are a couple of ways that I could be promoted - that I could advance in the company. Another way "is to transfer," or to move, "to one of the regional offices." Regional is related to the idea of a region, "region," which is a smaller area - part of a larger area. So, the opposite of regional may be national or international. National would be the whole country - the whole nation; regional
would be just part of the country. So, if it's a big company - a national or international company - you could transfer to a specific area - a specific region in
the country or, of course, to another country.

She says that she wants to "oversee," or be in charge of, "local operations." Operations refers to all of the work that a company or an office of the company or a department of the company does. Those are its operations, everything that it does - all the work.

"Ultimately," she says, meaning in the end or eventually, "Ultimately, the direction I would" like to "take in this company depends on many factors, such as the changing priorities of the market." So, she's saying here well, here are some ideas about what I want to do, however, I need to know what is going to happen in the company, and the company may change its idea. It may change its priorities. A priority, "priority," is something that is more important or less
important than something else. Your boss may say, "This has priority," that means this should be done before the other things. Priority comes from the word
prior, which means before; in this case, before other things - more important than other things.

She goes on to say that it will also depend on "the expertise" she "will have gained at the end of the five years." Expertise, "expertise," is the experience or special knowledge that you have about a specific thing. The word expert, "expert," is a person who knows a lot about a specific topic. So, she's saying well, I want to work somewhere depending on my expertise - how much knowledge and skills I have.

She goes on then to talk about her own experience in her company where she works now, and how this will be something that will help her in her future. She says, "I have worn" many "different hats in the company I'm working for now." Hats, "hats," is what you put on your head, but the expression to wear different hats means to have different jobs - different responsibilities - different positions.

She says that her flexibility - her ability to change - to do different things - has allowed her to do the things that her company wants her to do. So, what she's saying is that she can be flexible - she can do different things.

She ends her answer by saying, "I hope to have even more opportunities to learn and advance here at Lotadoe, and to contribute to its future growth." She ends her answer by, once again, saying that she wants to continue working for this company; she's not going to leave the company in the next five years.

Now let's listen to this first sample answer at a normal speed.

[Start of sample answer]

My goal is that in five years, I will be working in a managerial position in this company. I see the next few years here at Lotadoe as an opportunity to gain the
skills and knowledge to run one of the departments in this company. One of the reasons I am applying for this position is that this is a large company with a lot of opportunities for advancement. If I continue working in the department where this position is, I hope to be a senior manager with a hand in shaping the strategic plans for development in this area of technology. Another possibility in five years is to transfer to one of the regional offices, where I would oversee local operations.

Ultimately, the direction I would take in this company depends on many factors, such as the changing priorities of the market, the expertise I will have gained at the end of the five years, and the changing needs of the company. I have worn different hats in the company I’m working for now, and my flexibility has allowed me fill the needs of that company. I hope to have even more opportunities to learn and advance here at Lotadoe, and to contribute to its future growth.

[End of sample answer]

Now we'll listen to another sample answer for the question: "Where do you see yourself in five years?"

[Start of sample answer]

At the end of five years, I intend to be a leading expert in the field of marketing, working with some of the largest accounts in the country. That’s why I want to work for Michmuney. As a leader in the industry, Michmuney has the resources, talent, and the vision to be the best in the business.

Working for this company is an ambition for many people in this field, and I’m no different. If I’m hired, I plan to cultivate new accounts in industries that
Michmuney has not yet explored, including the automotive and healthcare fields. By doing this, I hope to break new ground for this company and to expand its influence in the marketplace.

I see being here at this company long term, not only to continue to build my expertise, but to influence the direction that this company will take in the next ten years. I could do this in any number of official roles in the company, such as managing a region or heading one of the main offices.

I’ve had the opportunity to work all over the country, but I consider this city my home. Working with Michmuney would allow me to come back to my hometown, where I’d plan to stay for a long time. I can’t think of a better place to call my new professional home than Michmuney.

[End of sample answer]

In the second sample answer, we see many of the same important parts of the answer that we saw in our first sample answer. The person here tries to tell the interviewer that he wants to continue working for the company, and gives some specific things that they might do or want to do in the future.

He begins by saying that "At the end of five years, I intend to be a leading expert in the field of marketing." An expert, we already know, is someone who knows a lot about something. To be the leading expert means to be one of the best people. So, he's showing his ambition - his desire to be successful. "That’s why I want to work for Michmuney," he says, because he wants to work with some of the biggest accounts - some the biggest companies in the country, companies that Michmuney works with. He says they're "a leader in the industry," they're one of the best companies in this area.

He says, "Working for this company is an ambition for many people in this field." Ambition, "ambition," means a desire to achieve something. We've talked about people being ambitious. He says many people have an ambition to work in this company, and I am the same as them. He says, "I'm no different," meaning I'm just like them.

"If I'm hired," for this job, "I plan to cultivate new accounts in industries that Michmuney has not yet explored." To cultivate, "cultivate," here means to try to get other new business for the company - to care for something that it develops - so that it gets bigger. Cultivating new accounts means finding new business for the company. He's showing that he wants to contribute - he wants to give something to the company. He wants to make the company better, and he,
personally, will try to get new business for the company. He mentions two areas, "the automotive and healthcare fields." Automotive is car, healthcare is
hospitals, doctors, that sort of thing.

"By doing this," by getting these new accounts, he says, "I hope to break new ground for this company and to expand its influence in the marketplace." The
expression to break new ground means to go into new areas - new things. So, if you've done research on your company, and you know that they are a company that likes to do different and new things, this would be a good thing to say, "I want to help the company break new ground" - do something different.

He then says again that he plans on being in this company for a long time. He says, "I see being here at this company long term." The expression long term
means for a long time, the opposite of temporary. Short term would be temporary, long term means for a very long time. So, he wants to be with the
company long term because he wants to continue his knowledge - continue his education - to build his expertise, but he also wants "to influence the direction
that" the "company will take in the next ten years." Just like the first answer, he's showing here that he's interested not just in working at the company, but giving the company new ideas - being involved in how the company grows and where it grows.

Just like our first answer, he doesn't give a specific job; he says, "I could do any number of," meaning I could do many different "official roles in the company." A role, "role," here is the same as a position or a job or a function. So, he says I could do many different things, and then gives an example of a couple of
possibilities: "managing a region" office - a regional office, "or heading" - being the leader "of one of the main offices."

He ends by saying that he has worked "all over the country," but he wants to come back to this city - to this town - because it's his hometown. This is an
example of some personal information that he doesn't have to give the interviewer, but it helps him because it shows that he wants to stay in this city -
he wants to stay living in this place, and that is going to be a positive thing for him in the interview because they'll think, "Oh, well, this person is serious. They want to stay here and that will make it more likely that they will stay in this company."

Now let's listen to this sample answer at a normal speed.

[Start of sample answer]

At the end of five years, I intend to be a leading expert in the field of marketing, working with some of the largest accounts in the country. That’s why I want to work for Michmuney. As a leader in the industry, Michmuney has the resources, talent, and the vision to be the best in the business.

Working for this company is an ambition for many people in this field, and I’m no different. If I’m hired, I plan to cultivate new accounts in industries that
Michmuney has not yet explored, including the automotive and healthcare fields. By doing this, I hope to break new ground for this company and to expand its influence in the marketplace.

I see being here at this company long term, not only to continue to build my expertise, but to influence the direction that this company will take in the next ten years. I could do this in any number of official roles in the company, such as managing a region or heading one of the main offices.

I’ve had the opportunity to work all over the country, but I consider this city my home. Working with Michmuney would allow me to come back to my hometown, where I’d plan to stay for a long time. I can’t think of a better place to call my new professional home than Michmuney.

[End of sample answer]

That concludes episode four of "Interview Questions Answered."

This course has been a production of the Center for Educational Development, in beautiful Los Angeles, California. Visit our website at eslpod.com.

This course was produced by Dr. Jeff McQuillan and Dr. Lucy Tse. Copyright 2006.