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I’m a newly qualified solicitor, how do I answer the question: where do I see myself in 5 years?

For an interviewer, an interview’s primary purpose is to get to know the interviewee a little bit better. In doing so, understanding what makes them tick, what their career ambitions are, and to gauge how committed they are to the role. This can be quite challenging for an interviewer when confronted with a nervous or guarded candidate who’s trying to maintain a professional demeanour at all times.

As a result, it’s not uncommon for interviewers to fall back on tried and tested questions such as “where do you see yourself in 5 years”. This is a question that fills many newly qualified lawyers with terror. You don’t want to say the wrong thing; seeming either too ambitious or not ambitious enough.

If you’re the interviewee and you’re unable to answer this question with confidence, it suggests you don’t know enough about the job. If you know what the role entails and what the career progression prospects could look like, then you’ll have no trouble discussing where you’d be in five years.

5 top tips for newly qualified solicitors.

Sometimes, nerves can get the better of you and they might cloud your memory. If you find your confidence wavers or you feel a little ‘stuck’, below are some generic answers – much easier to remember perhaps?

Bear in mind, no matter how generic, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Situation dependent, I suggest the following:

  • “That’s an interesting question, could you tell me a little more about how you envisage the role progressing over the next five years?”
  • “That’s a difficult question, when I look back at all the things that have changed over the last five years, its difficult to predict where I’ll be in the future”
  • “My main drivers are to find a job where I enjoy the culture, find the work challenging and see the opportunity for advancement. If these things are available in this role, and I get offered the role, there’s no doubt I’ll be here in five years!”

Or, if there’s something in particular you want in a new role, there’s no reason why you can’t be honest:

“I’m on a good track with my current firm; if I was to move to a new firm I’d like to think I’d have done enough to make associate within five years.”  

In all honesty, how to structure your answer to interview questions (so that the answers aren’t misconstrued) is something a good recruitment consultant should assist with and is arguably one of the best reasons to engage with us.

To discuss further in confidence – feel free to get in touch.

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