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How to answer those frequently asked interview questions: Where do you see yourself in five years & Tell me about yourself?

Whether you have an interview for an upcoming internship or new job or an interview is in your near future,  like most people, you may be nervous about this impending appointment. The pressure, the dress code and those infamous questions: Where do you see yourself and tell me about yourself?

Employers like to ask about your five-year plan for many reasons. Aside from reducing the company’s turnover rate, employers like to see if you intend to grow with the company and if your goal’s match what the employer has to offer. So, how do you answer the question? Consider your goals, find connections between those goals and the job description and consider how the company can help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, think about the new skills you would like to develop, which roles you can see yourself in in the future, what would you like to eventually highlight on your resume and which areas would you like to improve upon?

Be sure to highlight your greatest strengths and which of your traits align with the job description. Are you organized? Do you have experience in certain areas that are encouraged? Employers want to know all of this. The interview is your time to shine, so don’t be afraid to speak up.

In addition, you may be asked to describe yourself. Regardless of where you are in the interview process, you will be asked this question by at least one interviewer. Lily Zhang, Manager of Graduate Student Professional Development at the MIT Media Lab and a writer for The Muse, recommends a simple and effective formula for structuring your response: present, past, future. Begin by telling the interviewer what you do in your current role (i.e. student, coordinator, etc.). Then, briefly let them know about your previous role(s) and end by discussing what you would like to do next. By ending on your future plans, you can tie everything back to the job you are currently applying and being considered for at the time. There are many ways to answer this question. Whichever way you choose to structure your response, , don’t forget to answer with confidence.

An interview is your opportunity to sell yourself and the experiences and skills you bring to a potential employer. Your efforts to prepare answers to these common interview questions will give you the confidence you need in the interview process. Best of luck to you on your upcoming interviews!


-Dina Barabash, NASBA Content Development & Web Specialist