Job Interview Question & Answer: Are You Willing to Put the Interests of This Company Ahead of Your Own?
Why Employers Ask This Question
At first glance, it may seem like this job interview question asks candidates to lie. Most people aren’t willing to sacrifice their personal lives or ideals for their work, and they shouldn’t need to for a long, fulfilling career.
The key to answering this question is understanding that it usually isn’t about extreme situations or ethics. Hiring managers generally ask, “Are you willing to put the interests of this organization ahead of your own?” to gauge loyalty and honesty. Applicants who put thought and detail into their replies will fare well in the interview process.
Answering “Are You Willing to Put the Interests of This Company Ahead of Your Own?”
The best responses illustrate how the job seeker’s values match the company’s interests. This keeps interviewees from lying and shows familiarity with the job and work environment. Note that a good reply can state that business doesn’t come before family or personal beliefs. This is a truthful answer and doesn’t hurt the candidate during the hiring process.
Avoid These Responses
Simply agreeing with the interviewer is tempting, but it’s the wrong route to advance in the interview process. Answering with “Yes, of course” comes across as lying or dismissing the question. Blatantly telling hiring managers what you think they want to hear only hurts your chances in the long run.
Job hopefuls can use the following example answers to “Are you willing to put the interests of this organization ahead of your own?” as guides. However, job seekers should craft responses that relate to their own experiences and the position for which they’re applying.
Sample Answer 1 – Pet Store Team Member
“Seeing as my interests line up with yours, I can say yes. I’d put the needs of the organization first. I know this company values teamwork and transparency. Working at an animal shelter has taught me how using both skills helps connect patrons with pets. I know I can do the same here.”
Sample Answer 2 – Shoe Store Salesperson
“I’m confident I could because I know this company is interested in feeding the passion of every customer who visits. Since I’m a sports nut myself, it would be a dream come true to provide kids with the tools they need to do better and work harder.”
Sample Answer 3 – Pharmacy Tech Job
“As long as there isn’t a conflict of interests, I’m happy to go the extra mile for an employer I believe in. The great thing about this job is that it’s in my interest to see the company succeed because we both want the same thing. I am dedicated to providing accurate prescriptions and friendly, discreet assistance with medications, and it’s because you are too that I want to work here.”
Tips to Remember
To give a good response to the question “will you put the interests of this company ahead of your own?” keep these things in mind:
- Learn about the company beforehand to get an idea of its values.
- Avoid a simple answer of yes or no.
- Use specific examples to show how your personal goals line up with those of the company.
While many people have strong opinions either for or against this interview question, it doesn’t have to be difficult to answer. Follow these guidelines to respond with ease and enjoy a smooth, successful job interview.
Elizabeth Davis says:
Your perspective on this question will change as you get older. Sure, when you are young, you want to say what is best to get the job. Once you get to my age (and I am sure I could be a mother or grandmother to most of you responding), you will realize that nothing comes before family or personal health. If an interviewer asked me this question, I am not so sure I would want to work for this company. “Trick” questions like this are so unnecessary….There are so many other questions they should ask that are more appropriate.
Paulo Mota says:
A very tricky question. The answer should be yes, one should always be loyal to there boss. But if one goes to an interview and gives the answer the boss wants to hear but the truth is maybe what they need to hear, isn’t that bad?
I am talking about for example health issues that you or family member may have and may require time away from work. It won’t be fair for the new employee or the new boss if this issues is not placed on the table.
A very tricky question that I’m not sure what the right answer may be….
I ask this question often and if someone says yes they better really mean it. I actually prefer to hear employees tell me no, my family comes first then my job. Now i know i have an honest employee who is not just telling me what I want to hear. I have owned a subway for 9 years and have a wonderful staff that customers love.
In serious corporations the conflict with family interests are defied as conflict of interest and must be disclosed as required. I think the answer could be “yes, as long as my job duties do not become a conflict of interests”.
I agree with Paulo..
They aren’t asking you if you’re willing to leave everything behind for the company, just to put them ahead in importance at times.
I find too that “yes, as long as my job duties do not become a conflict of interests”, would be an appropriate answer.
grumpy bear says:
Elizabeth Davis is the wise one here. I would use the word deceitful rather than “tricky” & would you want to work for an entity that uses such practices when requiring non-deceit from employees or ‘useful tools’.I would ask the interviewer what exactly is meant by “interests” & please enumerate them.The potential employee has already stated their ‘interest’ which is employment.