matt dodgson on video discussing how to answer the where do you see yourself in 5 years interview question
Mar 19, 2019

How to answer the, ‘Where do you see yourself in 5 years?’, interview question..

By Matt Dodgson

Co-Founder - Recruiter & Marketer



So, where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Tough Interview Question

Now I’m not sure if you agree with me, but what an awful interview question.

5 years! I mean, how am I honestly meant to know where I’ll be in 5 years.

Yet it’s an interview question that comes up time and time again.

And unfortunately, it’s one of those interview questions which continues to catch people out.

So in this video I’m going to give you a simple way of answering this question. In a way that sounds authentic and in a way that helps you secure the marketing job you’re after.

Hello, if you’re here for the first time, I’m Matt Dodgson and I’m a Co-Founder of Market Recruitment.

And we help B2B marketers in the Tech sector accelerate their careers, whether you’re looking for a new marketing job or looking to hire into your marketing team.

And while you’re here if you’re watching this on YouTube then I’d recommend hitting the Subscribe button followed by the bell so you’re notified when our next video lands.

So before I tell you how to answer this question.

I think it’s important to talk about 2 things.

Further Reading; B2B Marketing Interview Questions – The Comprehensive Guide

Why companies ask this interview question

One, why do companies ask this question in the first place.

And two…what are the no-no’s when answering it.

Look, as I mentioned earlier.

I’m not a big fan of this interview question.

But I guess companies ask it because they either want you to stick at the particular job you’re interviewing for OR they want people who are super ambitious.

Unfortunately for you, that doesn’t make it any easier.

And what are the no-no’s.

How not to answer, ‘where do you see yourself in 5 years?’

Well there are a few, but whatever you do, don’t do these 3 things;

  1. Say you want to run your own marketing agency or your own business – you might think that’s showing ambition but that’s something you should probably keep to yourself
  2. Try and be funny – sometimes people can use humour as a way of deflecting a hard question. Think David Brent! But I can assure you, this isn’t the time to be funny.
  3. Say, I want your job. And be silent. Don’t run before you can walk.

So, how should you answer this interview question.

Emphasise solving their immediate problems

Well there’s 2 bits to this question. And the first bit is all about you showing them that you’re super keen to solve their immediate problem. Not having someone for this marketing job.

And that’s saying something like this.

You know I think this is quite a difficult question to answer. Because if I was to go back 5 years, I probably wouldn’t have imagined things had of quite turned out how they did. But as I see it, the first 2-3 years will be spent mastering this job. My aim would be to quickly ramp up and start making a tangible difference as quickly as possible. At the end of that period I’d want to be seen as someone who’s made a real difference. And I guess someone who’s trusted and liked too.

So in that part of the answer, I’m giving the interviewer no doubt that my sole focus will be on the role that they’re interviewing me for. Which is their problem and the reason I’m there.

Show just the right amount of ambition

And then the second part is showing some ambition but not in a way that gives the impression that that ambition is more than they can handle.

Something like this.

And once I’d really mastered my role, I’d want to be seen as a key player in the marketing team. Someone that senior management might come to for advice, or someone that could be trusted with delivering some new projects for the company.In my last company, they wanted me to look into account based marketing, so I did some research and presented back a plan and some ideas to help the business evaluate it. Things like that I guess.

And in part 2, you’re not getting too ahead of yourself. Remember, they want to fill this job, not the one above it.

The key here is being honest and authentic.

Don’t worry about what you think they might want to hear. Just focus on what’s in front of you and you want go far wrong.

And finally if you’re watching this video on our website, you can subscribe once it ends so you can get an email the next time a video goes live.

And good luck with your interviews and speak soon.