Where do you see yourself in five years?

I once had someone respond to this question with, “Five years is a quarter of my life so far. It’s really hard to imagine the next five!” While I understand five years is a long time for students and recent graduates, this is an important question that shouldn’t be callously answered.

“The reply in this case should be vague,” said Denise Anne Taylor, professional development consultant for Competitive Advantage, Inc. “For example, ‘I look forward to continually growing professionally and maintaining my skills and abilities to leverage company goals.’ If a candidate is too specific, they may state an unrealistic goal that the interviewer knows cannot be met, and therefore talk themselves out of a job opportunity.”

Finally, if you really want to edge out the competition, practice makes perfect. “Silently reading or reviewing isn’t enough because when we start to vocalize the words come across different than in our head or on the page. Based on how the responses sound you may want to make modifications. Also, I recommend being taped in a practice interview situation. Although it can be uncomfortable to watch later, you will identify at least one significant change you want to make that will help you be more successful in the real situation,” said Diane C. Decker, co-author of "First Job Survival Guide - How to Thrive and Survive in Your New Career.”

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