I want you to understand the logic of the question. The logic is to admit that you have no idea. Thus, what you’re doing is projecting something on to the population that reflects you. In other words, if you say 70% or 80%, what are you saying about yourself and the likelihood of you taking something from your employer (and I’m talking about something more than just “the pens.”).
Understand that the idea behind this question is to reveal something of yourself in the “why” follow-up “I’ve just seen it happen all the time. People take stuff. I saw some at my last firm walk out with a carton of toilet paper!” Whatever it is, it is more about you than it is about others.
What you want to be doing is answering the question with a relatively low percentage. “Maybe 25% to 30%?”
“Why do you think that way?”
“I think that people want to do the right thing and, as such they know it hurts their employer and thus themselves if they take stuff. They try to be respectful in organizations instead of stealing from them. Yes, I know there are exceptions and maybe I’m off on the percentages but I prefer to think that people would rather do the right thing.” That becomes a far better way to answer it than saying 75% or 80%.
In sales, you might try something slightly different.
“The people I have worked with have been hard-nosed and determined, but they wouldn’t do anything to pad their expense accounts or do anything to harm their employer. When push comes to shove, they are all trying to do a great job.”
Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2020
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1900 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.
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