How long would you expect to work for us if hired?

Alternately, you may be asked ‘how long do you expect to stay with the company’ or ‘how long do you expect to stay at this job.’

Even if you look at this job as a stepping stone on your career path, or just as a way to pay the bills until something better comes along, you obviously can’t say that in the interview. The only acceptable answer to this question is ‘for a long time.’ So why even bother to ask this question, if all of the interviewees are going to give the same answer, because it is the manner in which they respond that is important.

If you just answer ‘for a long time’, then you either lack imagination, or are being insincere, neither are a good way to be seen in an interview. So, how do you break this question? By answering it in a manner that seems honest and sincere, while also being practical.

The ideal answer would be something that shows yes you would like to stay here for a long time, but you must also be practical, so address the fact that you will only stay if there are opportunities for you, that you continue to grow, or that the work is interesting or challenging. Putting such a clause in your answer will make them realize that you know your own value and that you are not above leaving if they don’t treat you right or if they take you for granted.

With your answer you should be able to prove that you are a good candidate for the position, that they will not waste time and money in hiring you and training you, only for you to leave them soon after. It would be even better if your work history, if you have one, proves this. If you have been at your previous companies only for a short time, they your word may not mean as much. However, if your history shows that you have stayed with the companies for long durations, then they may not even need your word to prove that you are a loyal and dedicated employee.

Example:

I strongly believe that settling down and growing roots provides you with a strong foundation to grow upwards and outwards. However, one must also get adequate nutrition to grow. Hence, I would like to stay for as long as possible provided there are challenges and opportunities that allow me to learn and grow, and as long as my performance continues to meet and surpass company standards. 

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