This is an extremely common interview question that you are likely to encounter in some form or another. It is an open ended question which invites you to elaborate beyond just a simple yes or no answer. The thing to keep in mind when responding to this question is that there is no standard correct answer. The way in which you respond to this question is entirely dependent upon your own unique nature as well as goals and your objectives in life and for the future.
You should keep in mind when responding to this question that the interviewer is looking for something that will indicate to him or her that you are the right person for the job. So, if they hear you respond that you are planning to return to school in the near future or that you are interested in opening your own business one day this may indicate to them that you do not plan to be with them for very long. Consequently, they may not feel it is a good idea to select you for the job and invest time in your training if you plan to leave soon.
Not only should your answer to this question reassure the interviewer that you are the right person for the job, but it should also indicate that you are interested in your own professional growth. Your final response should demonstrate that you have given this matter careful thought and consideration. Ultimately, you need to show that your own career goals are compatible with that of the business for which you are interviewing.
The good news is that this is a question that you can easily prepare for prior to your interview by giving careful thought to both your short term as well as your long term career goals. Remember that those goals as well as your own unique skills and abilities should conform with the goals of the company, so it is a good idea to find out as much as possible about the company prior to the interview. Find out what the company envisions for their own future so that you can be prepared to demonstrate how your future goals compliment those of the company. Performing this type of research and taking the time to prepare a well thought out answer to this question will serve you well in the interview.