What this question isn’t looking for is where you want to be in five years with your music career, or with your partner, or your relationships, or with your friends. The question is specifically for that particular job, for that particular career. So make sure that you concentrate on the career and nothing else. It’s not about, as they say, providing a 900 page guide or giving a step by step process. It’s just giving three to five simple steps. So if you’re going to talk about where you want to be in five years time, maybe say “Year one, I want to be here. Step two, year two, I want to be here. Step three, here. Step four. Step five.” I’d say a maximum of five steps. It’s just demonstrating to the interviewing panel that you’ve actually thought about where it is you want to be. So you actually answer the question properly, precisely, and with a bit of passion and flare.
Hopefully you will see the difference between a poor answer and a good answer. The poor answer is just generic. “Yeah, in five years time, I want to manage a team.” That’s great, but it’s the same answer they get all the time. I’m now going to show you an example of a good answer. The person in this example is just going in five simple steps. They’re just saying, “I want to establish myself first. I want to hit all my targets. I want to make sure that I maximize all selling opportunities. I want to sit down with my manager and ensure that I’ve got the right skills.” It is just four or five simple little steps which are providing the interviewing panel with some demonstration that you’ve actually thought about where it is that you want to be in five years.
I’m going to concentrate on how to answer this question. You simply follow the same principles as if you’re applying for a job in pharmaceuticals, IT, or retail. So the job example that I’m going to use is simply applying for a sales position and somebody who wants to be in a management position in five years time.
So the answer would sound something like this: In the next five years, I want to be in a management position, leading my own team, and working towards challenging targets. I’ll be earning a good salary, and I’m actually driven by achieving financial targets. To achieve that goal, my short term objectives are to, number one, establish myself within your team. To learn as much as I can about the products and services in order to maximize all selling opportunities. Step two is I want to understand, obviously, the commission structure in more detail to ensure that I achieve targets and earn the most that I can. Step three, I want to make contact with all my new accounts, understand all my customers, their needs, and I want to develop plans for them for the next two years. Step four, after consistently achieving targets over a prolonged period of time, I’ll put together a training plan with my manager at the time. I’ll be understanding the skills that I would need to develop in order to achieve my target of leading and developing my own team. By breaking down the five years in smaller and more manageable chunks, I believe it provides me with both the clarity and direction needed to achieve this goal.