INTERVIEWS / FEB. 23, 2016
version 11, draft 11

3 ‘What if…’ Questions You Could be Asked in a Job Interview

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I doubt there is a question that is more inherently human than “What if”. It unfortunately comes with that messy consciousness thing…but not only do we often ask “What if”, it also happens to be a very popular question amongst interviewers and all things considered this is a job blog, not a philosophical existentialism blog. So here are some “What if” questions you could be asked during an interview.

What if – No Promotion

What if after working for us for a few years you aren’t promoted?

In a recovering economy, this might be the reality of a new job or entry level position. Many companies are still reeling from the effects of the last few years’ economic implosion thus, jobs are few, more upper management are staying in their jobs for longer, thus stagnating upward mobility…Oh, I’m going to have to spell it out for you aren’t I? Well, in a healthy-everyone-is-rich economy, people in upper management retire (sometimes earlier too, off of their investments, savings or huge bonuses) middle management move up to upper management vacating a space that would go to a cubicle dwelling lackey. When the economy is in the pits, though, upper management keep their job longer, blocking that whole domino effect of upward mobility. A good answer to this question would be inoffensive to the company and empathetic to the circumstances.

If the job kept me actively engaged, challenged me and I had growth even without a promotion I don’t think this would be an issue. Each organization has its own pace at which it promotes, and I understand that.

What if – Ethics

What if I was your supervisor and asked you to do something you don’t agree with?


This one is a sucker punch to the gut because on the one hand you want to prove to the hiring manager that you are hardworking, loyal and non-disruptive, but at the same time this might be a question attempting to gauge your moral compass and ethics. The best way to answer this is to be as neutral as possible. Make sure you mention that if the task infringes business or personal ethics that you would not comply showing that you would be honorable.

If it was a matter of business or personal ethics, I think I would not be able to comply, even if it meant I would lose my job. Although I understand that often industries conduct themselves in ethical grey areas, I would not be able to do something that was blatantly unethical.

What if – Boss Beater

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What if you are ever offered my position? What would you do?

This is a conundrum, do you stay loyal to your supervisor or do you take the higher paying job with more responsibilities. Well, maybe you wouldn’t have to take your boss’ position. Since this question is completely hypothetical, set up your own hypothetical scenario as a response.

Considering I am currently interviewing for a position well below yours, hopefully by the time I would be offered your job, you will have a higher position. Then having proven myself as a competent employee and hard worker, you will give me your current position because you’d like a capable lieutenant in your new position.

Do you have any other “What if” question that you might be asked during an interview? Let us know in the comment section below.

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