One of the trickiest questions in the interview is to ‘where do you want see yourself five years from now’? Though the panel is aware of the fact that answering such a question is difficult, it is to your credit if you can answer with some clarity.
The challenge here is to show a progression in career and the way the organization will help in achieving the same. Focus should be on different phases of career advancement-learning, contributing, leading and strategic planning. For this, it is recommended that you be clear about the key responsibility areas of the role which you are applying for and how this role graduates into roles of higher responsibilities.
Success in answering this question depends on your career goals and how the organization nurtures them professionally to offer you opportunities to learn, contribute and grow. Remember, this question actually depends upon on the clarity you have for your career goals. Once you have clarity with your career objective and which direction you want to invest your energy in, then you can set-up the various landmarks for your development and identify your progression over a five year period.
Two important things to keep in mind for this question type:
a. Remember, you need to talk in terms of skills and learning. You should now talk in terms of positions that you wish to achieve over a five year period. If you quote 'you want to be the CEO of a company', then you should be ready for some heavy grilling.
b. The interviewer knows that this is a tough question to answer; it is not possible to predict the future. Keeping this at the back of your mind, if you can showcase clarity in your approach and your career path, that alone is sufficient for this question.