Common Interview Question: How Long Do You Plan on Staying With Us?

AUGUST 22, 2011 | BY MICAH

When a company decides to hire you, they are making a financial commitment. It takes time to train new employees, adjust to growing pains, spend time filling out forms, etc. You cost them money just by being hired, no matter what your salary.

They spend money on you, so they need you to stay. Every time someone leaves, that job needs to be replaced with someone else, costing more time, money, and efficiency. It is not uncommon, especially for college graduates (but also for professionals of all levels of experience) to be asked about their commitment during the job interview.

How to Answer

This is not a contract, so you are under no obligation to tell the truth. At the same time, you do not want to say something like “I plan on staying until I retire” because unless you are 64 years old, that is never true. You need to sound like you are planning on committing to the role, but you don’t know what the future holds. The best way to do that is to talk about yourself existentially, regarding the work that is to be done.

Bad Answer

“I plan on staying for at least a year, but after that I am thinking about applying to graduate school and seeing if any accept me.”

Good answer

“I plan to stay until my there is nothing left for me to contribute to the company’s future success.”

Saying you will stay until you are no longer a contributor is the safest and best answer, because it conveys commitment but does not give an actual timeframe. Remember, you are under no obligation to stay unless you are under a contract, and the interview is not and will never be a contract.

Take Away Interview Tips

  • Make sure you show that you will commit.
  • Never talk about other things you may try to do.
  • Don’t totally BS and say you will be there until you die.

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