The question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” is considered to not only be one of the most hated and laziest questions asked during an interview, but also the most common. Because you are certain to be asked this question at least once during your job search process, it is a good idea to have an answer ready and waiting. It generally comes towards the end of the questions posed to candidates so try to anticipate it being asked and be proactive about getting the information you need to answer it.
During the interview there is generally a give and take between you and the interviewer. Use this to your advantage by asking the interviewer about projects that are currently being worked on at the company and what types of projects you are likely to be immediately assigned to. You know, that sort of thing. You want to have enough fresh information to be able to give a good answer should this dreaded question be asked, and also to properly formulate any follow-up questions later on when asked.
There is no correct answer to this question, but there are several wrong answers that you should avoid. Any answers where you seem arrogant or glib are to be avoided at all costs. You also want to avoid sounding as though you have no future plans and haven’t considered your role and impact on the company. Planning for your future is an important quality and one that companies look for in an employee.
When you are finally asked the question, talk about how the projects you mentioned previously have been completed successfully, how you have moved on to other projects and expanded your role with your current company. If there is any continuing education involved, talk about how you anticipate it will positively impact your role within the company, completion of projects, and your work with assigned teams. This kind of answer makes you look thoughtful, like a team player and a potential asset to the company.
An important note is that when you specifically tailor your answer to your potential impact on the company you are interviewing with, you save the interviewer the trouble of trying to picture how you would fit in with the company and what you would offer to it. This is a winning approach to an often dreaded question. Now you are all set if someone tries to nail you with it!