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I have a question about a hypothetical interview situation. Let's say I am interviewing for a new job, and the interviewer wants to test my loyalty. So, he says to me,

Suppose we hire you, and you've been working for us for some time. What will you say if another company calls you to offer you a job working for them?

This question was asked last year. I am not currently working. I feel that I may be asked this again at some point in an interview.

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    Well, what would you tell the other company if they offered you a job? – Masked Man May 29 '18 at 9:09
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    @MaskedMan I was thinking, "I have committed to another company" – Preeyah May 29 '18 at 9:14
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    Why would you tell them that you have committed to another company if you haven't actually accepted the job offer yet? In reality you should take the best offer. – Brandin May 29 '18 at 9:46
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    Is their question a hypothetical "suppose you are working for us for some time, and a competitor calls you and offers you a job?" Or is the question about the current situation "right now you are applying for the job with us, but suppose a competitor offers you the job instead of we offering you the job?" – Brandin May 29 '18 at 9:49
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    @Gianluca I have never heard of anyone making a job offer over LinkedIn without even inviting the candidate for an interview. Offering a job and inviting to interview are not the same. That is what I asked OP to clarify. – Masked Man May 29 '18 at 15:33
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As you're probably guessing, the question is designed to test your staying power - how likely are you to remain with a given employer, versus jumping ship at any other opportunity?

At face value, if you're trying to get hired, it may seem like a good idea to act like you'd be dismissive of any other opportunities. "I'd tell them no, no matter what, and keep working for you forever!" Interviewers will be dismissive of that answer, it just doesn't come across as honest. On the other hand, you definitely don't want to tell them that you'd jump ship the first time someone waved money in your face!

All that said, this is a great question to get in an interview, because it gives you an opportunity to talk about what's important to you as an employee. Rather than just directly answering the question, talk about what factors would influence your decision:

Well, I do consider myself a loyal employee. The type of employer that would earn my loyalty, and put me in a position where I would not be interested in any other offers, would be an employer who...

...and from there, you can proceed by describing the factors you consider important - whether it's challenging assignments, a collaborative team, a certain level of structure, advancement opportunities, etc.

Ideally, if you've done your research as a candidate, the company you're interviewing with (the one who posed this question) would be a company that possesses these traits, so this question will help reaffirm for them that you're an ideal candidate - if they hear your answer and think, "wow, Preeyah is describing our company!" then obviously that will reflect highly on you. However, if they think, "we can't offer those things" then you may not get an offer from them, which - based on the scenario - is probably a good thing, since you're dodging an environment that doesn't have what you're looking for.

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The things i would make clear is:

  • If that happens during working time, i ask them to call me again later - make clear that you don't do this at work
  • If there is something suspicious about it (e.g. competitor trying to obtain intellectual property), and they identified me in an unexpected way (i give an example below), or if this call was from a former manager, then my current employer need to know that - make clear that you do not monetize on your current position by selling knowledge.
  • About all other things: make it clear that there is a certain hurdle to getting you to apply.
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If there was a good chance that the offer represents an opportunity to improve my lot in life, I would ask clarifying questions. For example, if the offer had a higher salary then I would inquire about the possibility of a raise. I would also ask about other things - does the offer require a longer commute, more hours, etc.

I would never say that my loyalty to an employer trumps my own self-regard. If a prospective employer wanted to hear that from me, then it is best for all concerned if we stop negotiations.

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