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"If you don't get this job, what will you do?"

Weekly Topic: The most creative questions that you had during interviews.

Mar 17, 2020

(Vocabulary definitions at the bottom of the page in blue.)

I received this question in an interview for a university job. I did not expect it. I thought, "Are they already trying to tell me I didn't get the job?" Of course, I know now that this is a pretty standard question.

I had to think quickly. I had three options:
  1. Say that I had no plan, because I was so focused on this job. 
  2. Say that I would wait to apply again until I joined this company.
  3. Say that I would look for another job right away. 
All of these options have pros. Option 1 showed dedication to the job. Option 2 showed dedication to the company and perserverence. And option 3 showed that I am not lazy, and that I want/need to work. 

But they each have cons, too. Option 1 makes me seem short-sighted, option 2 makes me seem lazy and too focused, and option 3 makes it seem like I do not care about this job or company. 

What would you choose? One of these options, or something totally different?

I decided to use option 3, with a small change. I said, "I would look for another job, but would be very dissapointed that this opportunity didn't pan out. I would consider applying again in the future."

I decided to be honest. Interviewers can usually tell when you are lying or being too positive about yourself. Of course I would look for another job! I have rent to pay, right? But I also showed that I want this job, too. The goal in interviews is always to make a negative response (or honest response) sound more positive. 


Pros: Noun. Positive things.
Perserverance: Noun. The ability to keep trying something, even if it is difficult.
Cons: Noun. Negative things.
Short-sighted: Adjective. In this situation, it means that you do not think about the future. 
Pan out: Phrasal verb. To go well.

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