Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

Friday, June 13, 2008

Interview question – where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

We recently had a set of written responses to some of our 100 interview questions given to us by one of our candidates, who had used it to enhance her CV. We thought this was a good idea as it meant that firms could see what their responses were going to be to the interview questions before she went to the interview, and one of the answers was particularly interesting and amusing. The question was, where do you see yourself in five years time, and this is a standard question asked quite regularly by firms up and down the UK.

She answered, on a beach, sat in a bar being spoon fed olives by a waiter in a g-string. Underneath this she had written, but seriously… etcetera.

This made all the consultants laugh, but brings me to a point that we often discuss as consultants is, how much humour should you use in a job application, when is it appropriate and when should you avoid it.

If somebody said this to me in an interview, I would probably be relatively amused, it is a funny thing, quite a witty thing to have said, but also felt slightly uncomfortable at the use of this. I have to say that my advice to people over the years when it comes to interviews, CVs, covering letters and application forms, that humour should be avoided at all costs. You are able to impart your humour when you attend for interviews, this is a vital part of the interview process – i.e. making sure that you share a similar sense of humour with the person you are interviewing. However, putting comments like this on a written application or CV, is probably a bit OTT. I’m not sure I would mention such things in an interview either, also slightly risqué for the purposes of a solicitor.

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten Percent Legal Recruitment ( He regularly comments and advises on the state of the legal recruitment market. He can be contacted at for press comment or free careers advice.

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