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Thilo Mohan, sourcing and recruitment specialist at Xerox Canada, tells us what to think about when faced with this common interview question:

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

This is one of the most common questions an employer will ask a potential employee. Why do we want to know? Well, it's quite simple. We want to know that you have given some thought to your future, have set measurable goals, and are willing to take the necessary steps to achieve those goals.

What does this tell us about you? It tells the employer you're not merely focused on getting a job, but you're looking to develop yourself personally and professionally, and establish your career within our organization.  As an employer, we want to invest in you and help you achieve the goals you have set but we need to know that you are willing to do your part to make this partnership beneficial to you and the organization as a whole.  It also shows your prospective employers that you are ambitious, driven, responsible, committed, and are actively pursuing career opportunities that will help you achieve the goals you have set for yourself.

Here's what to keep in mind when answering this question:

Where do I want to be in the next five years? What role do I want to play in this organization? Are my goals realistic, specific, measurable, and attainable? If so, how would I go about reaching my goals? How do my goals align with the values this organization stands for?

And here's how to answer this question:

Within the next five years, I would like to have gained  valuable experience within your organization, learn cross-functional and transferrable skills, and become a well-established professional within my industry. Although this is an entry level position, I will definitely take this position as a stepping stone to move up in the company and further enhance my skill-set in order to foster continuous professional growth, and also benefit this organization. I plan on achieving this goal by participating in any training programs, workshops, or seminars that may be offered and by enrolling in various courses to gain more knowledge and insight on relevant skills that would beneficial to my role.