Interviewing Like A Pro – How to Highlight Your 5 Year Plan Even If You Don’t Have One

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Employee turnover costs companies a lot of time and money in hiring, training, and onboarding, which is why employers are looking for candidates who will stick around for the long haul. With this in mind, a hiring manager will typically ask you how long you see yourself staying with the company, or where you see yourself in five years. When they do this, they are testing you to see that you have your eye on the future, and that you see yourself sticking with the company for the foreseeable future. When answering these questions about your future, here are three important things to remember:

If You Have Had a History of Staying With Companies Long Term, Show It Off

If your employment history shows that you stay with an employer for several years at a time, highlight that and connect it to the long and productive career you see with their company.  For example:

“In my 12 years at International Co., I was able to start as a temp and work my way up to management.  I bring a lot of real world experience and expertise to Worldwide Widgets, and look forward to a long and fruitful partnership here.”

If You Have a History of Short Tenures, Talk About Why This Will Be Different

You could have a history of short employment tenures on your resume. Instead of trying to awkwardly avoid this fact, talk about what has changed so that you won’t be making frequent job jumps moving forward. For example:

“In the past my wife had a job where we had to relocate several times. Now that she is with another employer with a set location, I am now able to find an employer that I can plan to stay with long term.”

If it would suit the answer better, you can talk about your appreciation for the employer that would cause you to stay longer. For example:

“Worldwide Widgets has a stability which was lacking in a lot of former employers. I’ve read a lot about this company and everything I have seen has me believing that I would be here for a very long time.”

Show How This Job Fits In With Your Career Path

It’s always good to show that you are ambitious with realistic plans for how you see your career progressing with them. If they’ve laid out a likely career path for the job you are interviewing for, talk about how that meets your goals. For example:

“In listening to what you have to say about the job and the company, I have to say that it fits perfectly into my long-term career goals. I always like to be moving forward in my career, and this company seems perfect for that.”

On the other hand, if they have not laid out a career path for you in this job, take the opportunity to raise it as a question. For example:

“I’m very interested in staying with this company long-term. Do you have a defined career path for somebody in this role?”

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