The Job Interview

How not to answer the interview question, 'Where do you see yourself in 10 years?'

The common job interview question, "Where do you see yourself in five to 10 years?" isn't just a fun prompt. It's a question hiring managers use to judge both how you think, and your level of commitment to their company.

Not having a solid answer could jeopardize your chances of getting an offer, as demonstrated on last week's episode of CNBC's new show "The Job interview," in which candidates interview for real jobs while being filmed.

Chrishon Lampley, founder of wine company Love Cork Screw, and her publicist, Ikeda Lockhart, were looking for a focused answer to the question. One candidate's response just didn't measured up.

Chrishon Lampley, founder of wine company Love Cork Screw, judges one job candidate's marketing abilities on CNBC's "The Job Interview."
Chrishon Lampley, founder of wine company Love Cork Screw, judges one job candidate's marketing abilities on CNBC's "The Job Interview."

When asked, "Where do you see yourself in 10 years?," the candidate said, "It's interesting. Sometimes I know the answer, sometimes I don't."

She added personal details that were unrelated to the job, saying, "I could be living in another country. I could have kids. I could not have kids."

The response failed to show that she'd thought seriously about how she could grow within the company, something most bosses look for.

The answer conveyed a very "free spirit," Lampley said — and in this case, that was a red flag.

So how do you answer the question? According to bestselling leadership author and CNBC contributor Suzy Welch, you should explain how you would like to grow within the company.

Show that you know what the company is hoping to do in the future, Welch says, and explain how you'd love to be a part of that vision. An answer that does both of those things shows that you've done your research.

Whatever you do, don't make the focus your lack of direction or commitment.

As Lockhart explains, "We're looking for someone who can last."

CNBC's "The Job Interview" airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m.

Read more about how to discuss your future goals in a job interview