Where do you see yourself in five years?

This question is based on a view of your job, and your working life. It's intended to get a perspective on how you're thinking about a career, and your concepts of job stability. It's actually a very good question for finding out who's working on plan, and who's improvising.

You do need to think about this question. For your own sake, not just the interview. Where do you intend to be in five years? What's a good move, over that period of time?

To answer the question properly, in an interview it does have to be comprehensible to the interviewers.

You may have a lot of ideas about what you want to do in such a long time, but really, this is important:

They have to relate your answer to the job, so stay focused.

Don't go off on a tangent. You can include some, but not many extra elements, like more training, more qualifications, and that's good.

Something like this:

I see myself in a good, stable work environment, working on my degree, and getting more experience in the field. I want to develop my skills a lot more, and I need to broaden my skill set to make full use of the qualifications. So I'll be trying to get a really good, structured career up and running. I'll also be looking at promotions in career terms, so I can start to progress, if possible.

Pretty basic, but it says enough to show that you're looking at your job as a support and foundation of what you're intending to do. That's all positive, and it places where you see the job in your career track. The promotion angle is relevant, because it indicates motivation. You are going to try to make something out of this job.

Which, after all, is how the interviewers need to see any real candidate for any job, as someone who's got a sense of direction in their careers.

Never be negative when answering this question, or sound like you're not thinking about things like this. It sends all the wrong signals.

If you haven't been thinking about that five year issue, by the way, start now. It's a lot easier to get from A to B if you know where B is.

At entry level, this question is relatively simple, if you've got a game plan. For more mature age people, it's arguably an even more important question. You don't stop having to think ahead when you're over 30. Quite the opposite, it's very important to have a few things ahead to aim at. Don't ignore this question, because you may find yourself asking yourself about it.