Job Interview Question

What will you do if you don’t get this position?

How To Answer Interview Questions Series

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This question is mostly likely to be asked when you’re interviewing for an internal promotion.  You’re probably going up against other candidates in the company, and maybe even some external candidates, too.  They’re worried about how you’ll take it if you don’t get the job, and they want to know if you’re more interested in the good of the company or just in your own career advancement.

If this is the case, a good answer would tell them that you’re a team player who is interested in the good of the company.

For example:  “Of course, I will support whoever you choose to fill this position, and I’ll keep doing the great job I always do.  But I do think that I’m a great fit for this role because of X, Y, and Z, and that I would be the best choice.”  (A bad answer would be:  “I’ll assume that you’re never going to appreciate me and I’ll be looking for someone who does.”)

However, you might get asked this question in a regular job interview, where you’re new to the company.  Maybe they are fishing to see where else you’re applying, maybe they want to know how serious you are about your job search.

Job Interview Question - What if you don't get this position?You don’t need to tell them where else you’re applying, but by all means let them know that you are committed to getting a new job and that you will be a great asset for someone somewhere.  Here’s an example:

“I would really like to get the job here, because I think I’m a great fit. I’m excited about your company because of the work you do in A, B, and C. But if I don’t get the job, I’m going to go on living and breathing, and I’m going to find someone else who’s going to appreciate my skill sets, and I’m going to get to work doing what I do best.  They’re going to really appreciate it, and I’m going to drive their business.”  (Or increase their productivity, reduce their costs, increase their market share, improve their customer service, whatever it is that would apply in your situation.)

You’re going to do all those great things in a role similar to this one in another company.  You’d like for it to be here, but if not, it will be somewhere else. You are that determined.  You are going to get a job.

That’s a strong, positive answer that shows that you are confident in yourself and your abilities.


If you’d like to practice your interview answers with professional feedback, or you need help with specific answers, I’d love to work with you as your interview coach.

Find out more about my special offer for personal 1:1 coaching or my group coaching membership that meets online Thursday evenings at 7:00pm CST!


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