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How to answer the common job interview question about theft

The question of theft is more in-depth than you may think, take care to answer it sensibly

Tricky interview questions are the most nerve wrecking part of any interview.  There are thousands of awkward questions that an interviewer could ask you.  One you may want to prepare for is: “Have you ever stolen a pen from work?”

According to James Reed, author of “Why You?: 101 Interview Questions You’ll Never Fear Again,” and chairman of Reed, a top job site in the UK and Europe, hiring managers sometimes ask this one.

Honestly, we’ve all taken a pen or two unintentionally, so if you say that you haven’t, then they might think that you’re lying. But if you say that you do it all the time and act like it’s no big deal, then that wouldn’t be in your favour either.

Reed suggests that saying something like, “I have once or twice taken a pen from the office in an emergency but I have always returned it the next day or the day after” is an awful response. Why? The interviewer knows that pen is still on your desk at home and might challenge you.

He suggests going with something more realistic, like:

“Well, I’d be lying to say I haven’t ever absentmindedly slipped a ballpoint into my jacket pocket, but it usually ends up back on my desk the following day, unless I leave it at home. I haven’t got a spare room full of paperclips and staplers, though, if that’s what you mean.”

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One comment

  1. Hmm, I think I’d rather respond by saying that I’ve not taken a pen or any other item from work. I’d rather give than take, whether it’s ideas, cakes or pens for that matter!

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