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March 1, 2023
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3 reasons NOT to ask “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” in an interview:

1. It’s a worn-out question the interviewee is expecting and most likely has a scripted answer to.
2. The interviewee knows what you want to hear and will tell you just that (”I see myself progressing professionally to managerial positions within your organization).
3. The world of work is rapidly changing and no one knows what will happen in five years — people change jobs and careers, adopt a side hustle, juggle multiple gigs, change priorities during life.

So what should you ask instead?

If your goal is to understand the candidate’s aspirations and motivations you can ask:

Where DON’T you want to be in five years?

This will bring up interesting answers about what the candidate is aiming to avoid: working in a big or small company, doing the same job they are doing today, etc.

Another possible question is:

What is your biggest career aspiration?

This might also change with time, but it can reveal how high the candidate is reaching and how they define their success (in terms of status, salary, knowledge, impact, etc.)

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