This is tricky one because the wording tricks you into thinking about a role you might want to have in 5 years.
But the best answers actually focus on the journey you hope to take instead. So how do you stay authentic and true to yourself while not killing your chances right off the bat?
In this post, I’m going to share a formula I’ve come up with, that helps you avoid these traps, helps you stay genuine, and I’ll also give a sample answer so you can see the formula in action.
The trick is to break down the “5 years” in the interview question into 1-3 year intervals and say what you expect to be doing for each time frame.
When you talk about the first 1-2 years, you can be very specific because if you’ve done your research by going on glassdoor, connecting with professionals on LinkedIn, binge watching all of my videos 😏, you should have a good understanding of the day-to-day of the job.
Then, as you start to talk about years 3-5, there’s a lot more unknown, a lot more uncertainty, so your answer can become broader, and can focus more on the overall direction you see yourself heading towards.
This “specific-to-broad” approach helps you achieve several things:
This is the answer I gave when I was interviewing for my first management consulting role based out of New York City.
Sure, so I actually had the opportunity to chat with a few alumni who currently work at EY, and I know first year consultants are generalists and can work on a variety of projects across different industries
So for the first 1-2 years, I really look forward to keeping an open mind, and absorbing as much industry-specific knowledge as I can, from my peers, from managers, from clients, no matter what type of project I’m put on
At the same time, I really hope to use the project management skills I developed during my consulting internship with KPMG that will hopefully make the project manager’s life a little bit easier
When I’m not staffed on an engagement, I’ll definitely be helping out on business development pitch decks for anyone who might need to help, and I think that’s a great opportunity for me to touch on even more industries
For the 2-3 years after that, I look forward to specializing in 1 business vertical and really expand my network and capabilities in that area
Not only will that help in my relationship building with clients, but I’d also be able to share my learnings with new first year consultants, new me’s, so to speak
I also hope to leverage my industry knowledge and client relationships at that point in time and take a more active part in pitching additional engagements
So to sum up, in 5 years I see myself exploring projects across different industries, specialize in 1 of the verticals by building up my capabilities there, and hopefully add value along each step of the way
A few things to note about that sample answer to “where do you see yourself in 5 years”:
Get ready for your next interview with my Common Interview Questions and Answers playlist!