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More and more recruiters are asking me this question, which is very annoying. Because the job tasks are repetitive, what guarantees do I give that I will stay for some time and not switch/quit after just a couple of months.

What guarantees can someone give these days? I answer that I've never quit jobs out of boredom before. I am sure the recruiters haven't given anybody any guarantees themselves.

What are the best answers here? Help is appreciated.

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Snow Jun 20 at 7:42
  • Can you clarify what you mean by "recruiters" here? I think the answer would differ depending on whether this is a third party recruitment agent vs. the recruitment manager at the actual company that would hire you. Also, some indication of what sort of work you're applying for would be useful in answering. – SpoonMeiser Jun 21 at 9:15
  • Could you provide more details on the nature of industry where you work and cultural context? I'm familiar with probationary period where new entrants are usually at liberty to leave job on short notice if they find it unsuitable (UK). What you've describe looks more like probationary period in reverse... Is it asymmetrical or employer is also signing up to a similar commitment (i.e. not to give you a sack shortly after starting)? – Konrad Jun 21 at 10:20
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    Did you ask them what job guarantees they have for you (e.g. no layoff for you for at least that long, ensuring employment)? Guarantees are a 2-way street... – code_dredd Jun 21 at 15:01
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    Don't work with recruiters. As you're learning, they're nothing but useless, parasitic obstacles. – TKK Jun 21 at 16:47

14 Answers 14

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First, I would assume that recruiter doesn't know much about the job. Sometimes recruiters ask questions from list of questions to ask on interview. Which totally omits the fact that you are applying for a position because a) you have the skill b) you know about the job itself c) you know what pros and cons are associated with it.
So based on that I would ask the recruiter:

Did you have previous problems with people quitting after few months and do you know why?

Because that leads to another trope: The company might have issues with people quitting. Because of a plethora of reasons. If they did it's good to know that before you commit to the job/offer.

I had one interview when such question was asked, and unknowingly I asked back "Why? you had people running away?" which turned to be true as company offered junior pay for specialist position requiring managers skills.

It's also good point of exit, so after saying you know your job, you know the cons of it and you can handle them ask them in return WHAT THEY can offer to help you stick with them. Remember, interview work both ways. Hey get to know you but you can also get to know them.

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    You can have this conversation without being confrontational. "Why are you hiring for this position right now?" is always a reasonable question. – O. Jones Jun 19 at 11:31
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    I would take the position that if (a) the job under discussion is a skilled or professional position and (b) the interviewee's resume doesn't show a sequence of quick moves, then asking for a guarantee is a bit confrontational in itself. Turn about is fair play. – dmckee Jun 20 at 23:04
52

The way you're phrasing the question is a little odd, but it seems like the employers you're interviewing with are interested in ensuring they won't invest in someone who walks out the door quickly, leaving them empty handed. That's a reasonable concern for an employer.

How you answer this will vary a bit depending on the type of job and your work history, but generally it's best to try to show two things:

  • You have interest and intent: If you can show that you're interested in the position, the industry, and/or them as an employer, that will go a long ways towards reducing their fears. For instance, if you're applying for a repetitive, entry level job as a teller at a bank, and you aspire to build a career in the financial industry, you can talk through that. Or if you're applying for a warehouse job at a distributor, and you're interested in supply chain management, same thing. Of course, you don't want to come off as unrealistically ambitious, but you do want to show that you understand the job and you're interested in it. In other words, you don't want to come off as someone who applied just because they need a job. You want to sound like someone who applied because they want this job.
  • You have the ability to follow through on your intentions: This one is the important part, but you need to establish the first bullet to lay the groundwork first. You need to be able to use your work history (or your education or whatever if you're brand new to the job world) as a way to show that you can follow through on your plans. This is where you can talk about your previous job, where you stuck with it for X years, and talk about the reasons why. If you don't have a previous job, you can talk about education - perhaps you remained dedicated to a long and difficult program, or you stayed in a class that many of your peers dropped out of. Of course, these are just examples - if you have no long term job history and no long term education history, answering this question "well" is going to be difficult at best, and you may need to get creative and choose an example of something else in your life where you showed perseverance. The important part is to show the ability to follow through - this helps build a sense of trust, because by talking through your history, you're showing that your intentions are not hollow.
  • Is walking out the door within a few months a reasonable concern for an employer? I don't think so, unless OP has MADE it a reasonable concern. Step 1 is probably recognizing WHY recruiters think OP is a flight risk, then addressing their concerns – Mars Jun 19 at 5:36
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    @Mars there are some (usually repetitive & annoying) jobs that have a very high turnover rate, so ANYONE walking out, especially prospective employees is ALWAYS a concern, regardless of OP specifically – Hobbamok Jun 19 at 8:05
  • @Hobbamok Fair enough, but it still seems more likely that the issue lies with OP rather than multiple recruiters all offering positions with high turnover rate – Mars Jun 19 at 9:02
  • I am downvoting this because this answer assumes that OP has been stuck with his previous jobs for X years. And it doesn't seem likely based on the nature of this question – kukis Jun 19 at 12:10
  • @kukis huh? How are you getting that assumption from my answer? I didn't really even mention previous jobs, or "X years." I'm genuinely confused and would like to know so I can edit to clarify if possible. – dwizum Jun 19 at 12:41
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Here is the correct answer

Before I sign an offer I carefully research the company the opportunity and the fit. I sincerely hope you do the same. If you have misrepresented the company or the job, I will indeed quit. If I have misrepresented my skills and experience and you should fire me immediately. If both of us have done our homework correctly this will never be an issue.

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    It's the right idea, but way too passive-aggressive. – Rich Jun 19 at 13:16
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    This just says "psh what a stupid question" but with more words. – Rick van Osta Jun 19 at 14:16
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    Disagree with both above comments.This answer is clear and direct and avoids seeming desperate. Projecting confidence and realistic expectations is important, even when you're only speaking with a recruiter (who clearly doesn't know how to sell you on a job). – economy Jun 19 at 16:23
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    @RickvanOsta Tact is the art of telling people they're wrong and having them agree with you. – TKK Jun 19 at 23:56
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    so you can be rude ... as long as you don't actually want the job. – dwizum Jun 20 at 12:44
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Normally, this question doesn't get asked, especially by "more and more recruiters." If multiple recruiters are asking you this question, it's likely because your resume/linkedin/whatever only shows short term positions or else indicates that you leave jobs quickly. (If that is incorrect, you should review your CV)

If you were a student or had some other main obligation, then an answer such as

Until now I've only done small gigs, because I focusing on my studies. Now, I am looking for something more long term. I can't guarantee my stay any better than anyone else, but I wouldn't leave a job because of boredom.

If you don't have such a reason, then things will be more complicated and likely warrants another question (How do I justify quitting multiple jobs after short durations to a recruiter?)

  • I once had to point out to an interviewer that the average length of jobs on the West Coast was roughly half of the one on the East Coast, so that what looked to them like switching jobs frequently was actually quite respectably the opposite. It worked.. – user90842 Jun 19 at 23:21
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    @GeorgeM That's a thing too, but even then, it's still more than a couple months! – Mars Jun 20 at 0:28
  • Coincidentally, I also had something similar, but was asked "How do we know you won't just quit after 2 years?" (2 years is 33% longer than the west coast average for my industry...) – Mars Jun 20 at 0:29
  • i wouldn't say out of boredom. what if something better comes along? – eMBee Jun 21 at 17:08
  • You should not have to justify anything to a recruiter when they are seeking you out. – Weckar E. Jun 21 at 20:26
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What type of recruiter is asking this question?

  • Company Recruiter - An excellent response would be something along the lines of 'Well if there is value in a guarantee that I won't quit after two months, how about a bonus at two months of employment?' They usually don't ask this question unless it's the negotiating phase or real close to it. Also companies tend to be more flexible on wages/salaries then they are a small bonus, so it may be easy for them to throw you a bone at two months.

  • Independant (non-company) Recruiter - There could be a hundred ulterior motives in play here, as this person is more interested in continued commissions then your work well-being, so I'd ask the same question as above but make it a little more open. 'Is there an offer on the table? What kind of bonus are they offering?'

As a wild guess they've probably had people do exactly that, and maybe they're paying low wages which promotes this behavior as people will take it until something better comes along. Either that or it's a hostile/very bad work environment and as soon as people see that they start to plan their exit.

Another question I've had success with during interviews is 'Will you show me where I'll be working?', as I've had more than one gig where they interview you in the high-end glass-and-marble conference room, and then when you start they dump you in a cube farm with low walls and lots of noise.

Good luck.

  • I agree with you, whatever is the reason for them to ask that question, it reveals an history of a lot of people quickly resigning from the position. This is something OP should consider. – Bebs Jun 18 at 14:00
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    "Either that or it's a hostile/very bad work environment". Exactly. Turn the question around and ask them what guarantee do they give that the job is well paid and not a hell hole? – RonJohn Jun 18 at 23:37
  • Most companies have nice conference rooms because that's where they meet with (prospective) customers & vendors and they're trying to project a nice image - they conduct interviews there because the space is available (and projects a nice image - you dress up for your interview for the same reason, right?). So, unless you're interviewing for management or above, you're probably going to live in a cube farm. I'm pretty sure that's not a particularly unique situation to you. – FreeMan Jun 19 at 20:21
  • @FreeMan I do not think it is too much to ask to have no more than 6 people to a room, or at worst a team to a room... – Weckar E. Jun 21 at 20:37
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Offer to sign a contract with a bonus for staying a fixed period of time. This is how contract to hire essentially works, but as an FTE the only way you can really guarantee residency is in writing, so if it's that important, this is a valid solution.

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    and make sure the company also commits to at least the same period. All too often they expect employees to never leave but feel free to terminate those same employees for the least reason or no reason at all. – jwenting Jun 21 at 7:50
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More than likely the recruiter is saying that because they have referred other candidates that did not stick around. Typically a recruiter makes money when a client stays past 90 days, or some arbitrary length of time.

Several years ago I made a career change and left a job that a recruiter got me after 97 days. I felt HORRIBLE when I found out the company had paid a referral fee of several thousand dollars to the recruiter. 7 days past the 90 day cutoff. If I had quit a week earlier they would have been off the hook for it. I thought I was just doing a temp job but the company was really hoping I'd stay and fill the role for the next several years. You can imagine how that probably made the recruiting firm look.

So for the good of everyone, they are probably wanting to just cover themselves and not waste time if you're not serious.

So how do you "guarantee it"? There really is no way other than pointing at your job history and to simply be honest and open in your intentions. Don't do what I did.

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    "Don't do what I did." But what if the job is bad? – Bebs Jun 18 at 14:02
  • If it's truly that bad, better to express those concerns asap to the recruiter. Better to not stick around and cost everyone a lot of money if it's TRULY that bad. But it's amazing how a "bad job" can start to look better the longer one stays in the position. – Keith Jun 18 at 14:25
  • Why wouldn't you have felt horrible if you had left after 89 days and the recruiter would have had to pay his referral fee back? The recruiter is someone who works to make a living, just like you do. – gnasher729 Jun 19 at 21:53
  • Solid point. My feeling of guilt was more in regards to the fact that 1--I didn't expect to leave quite as soon as I did. 2--I had no idea that the referral fee was as large as it was. – Keith Jun 19 at 22:07
  • This is the most realistic answer to the question. A recruiter being paid on commission is completely what this is all about. They do not want to spend time with a candidate if they leave before the commission granting threshold. – Michael Karas Jun 21 at 10:35
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“How can you guarantee that you won't change/quit job after just couple of months?” How to respond?

The mutual guarantees of both parties are going to be spelled out in the contract. If you want a guaranteed time of notice for both parties, we'll make it part of the negotiations and the contract.

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    I agree completely. If they want a minimum period of 12 months, let them sign up for a notice period of 12 months on both sides. It's a two-way street. – user207421 Jun 21 at 7:39
  • A notice period of 12 months is mental. You'd never be able to find a different job again. – Weckar E. Jun 21 at 20:25
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Even though the concern these recruiters are expressing is valid, this is a very weird question and sounds like a bit of a red flag.

One part of this should indeed be you as an employee being prepared to put in the time, effort, eagerness to learn, etc.
Another part however should be what incentives they are able to offer you in order to make you stay.

This could be

Opportunities to learn

  • A productive work environment
  • A healthy work culture
  • A strong team to be a part of
  • etc...

This is what my answer (and counter-question to them) would be.

Depending on the type of work or location this might vary though.

Edit: Obviously if you have been employed previously for any amount of time, that could also be part of the answer.

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Prove it from your work history

Show the recruiter from your resume that you've had a very stable employment history, especially doing similar types of jobs. In essence you want to prove that you're not a job hopper, and that you've done and stuck with similar work in the past.

(Note: this answer does not weigh in on whether you should go forward with the recruiter; that's up to you to decide)

  • I feel this answer is the best. It is "provable" at least from anecdotal evidence of your work history that you stay at places at least longer than a few months. – Dan Jun 21 at 17:39
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I personally would reply that they can add penalty clause in the contract for termination within the period of time that they consider important; and then increase the rate.

Of course - you want to be pretty sure that you can stay there for that period of time before you sign the contract!

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Well, I have not heard that much that question, but depending on the job (specially related with laws and procedures, not my field though), I indeed have heard they ask that. Or at least in my country. I have a relative that works in that field and he does not ask that directly, but here is the problem:

You can learn a lot about how, for example, a lawyer office works, all the paper work and stuff, in 2-3 months, and go to another lawyer office which is a competitor of the first one. All your knowledge, which is quite valuable as it is something quite "repetitive" but inddeed valuable, was thrown to waste. Employers like to invest in their employees.

But, like @Bebs said, it is quite a big red flag. Maybe a lot of people have left that job position in the past few months, and they do not want to keep "wasting" money in all the learning procedure, time, etc.

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    did you mean to say "competitor" instead of "competence"? – Igor Skochinsky Jun 21 at 15:27
  • Competitor, sorry! Gonna edit it now! Thank you!! In my language "competence" is the translation! @IgorSkochinsky – M.K Jun 22 at 17:22
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"How can you guarantee that you will find me a job that I wont want to leave in a couple months?" personally I think this question is rude an unnecessary and would have no problem being rude in return. wouldn't be the best response with someone at the company but its just a recruiter

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    Except that being rude to someone who's trying to find you a job is probably not the best way to encourage them, even if you feel it's deserved. Best to stay professional. – aleppke Jun 19 at 15:05
  • but like I said, its just a recruiter. there are many more out there and if they are asking you to guarantee that you will stay at the job for more than a couple months, then that is a massive red flag that the jobs they are offering are shit. if they dont want to work with you anymore its not a serious loss on your end – Woodie 2714 Jun 20 at 8:34
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    And that's exactly the kind of thinking that burns bridges you didn't even know existed. Always be professional in professional dealings because you never know what connections they have, who they have beers with, or who they may end up working for in the future. Sure, you probably don't want to work with this particular recruiter/company but that's no reason to be rude about it. Politely decline the offer and move on. – aleppke Jun 20 at 15:19
  • This is the best answer IMO. it is RUDE. Here for guaranteeing I did not leave, did did not ask any promise, they have given me a raise. – Rui F Ribeiro Jun 20 at 15:52
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"Do you guarantee not to leave after a few months?"

"No."

I don't think one needs to construct long answers, if one can just say that one does not give such a guarantee.

protected by mcknz Jun 20 at 2:12

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