Do you dare answer, “Will you do anything we ask?”

In “The Firm” a new lawyer finds the perfect job: great pay, wonderful benefits and  a really high flying lifestyle.  Then he finds out he is a part of the mafia and can’t get out unless it is as the guest of honor at his own funeral.

“Will you do whatever it takes to get the job done?” is a common interview question.  There is no reason to suspect that your employer wants you to do something illegal.  More likely he wants you to work late.

Let’s get realistic.  Even in high flying corporate scandals no one is murdered.  If you feel you have to blow the whistle you can go to newspaper reporters and the police.  You will be safe physically.  Your only real worries are social and financial.  The company’s risk is to its very existence.  It can be destroyed just by bad press.  Also, legal action can take away any profit the company has had for years.

Go ahead and be enthusiastic when they ask the question, “Will you do whatever it takes?”  The proper answer is to give examples of how you have gone the extra mile in previous jobs.  Tell when you worked late to finish projects or help a teammate.  Carrying a pager is a great example of doing “whatever it takes.”  Mention the inconvenient business trips.  The support you had from your family when you had to work late or travel is a valuable story.

I hate to go back to it, but, don’t mention when you did something borderline illegal.  Don’t assume they want you to do something immoral.  If they ask you to do something that is wrong, ask them to clarify.

Ask for examples.  If you are sure they are asking you to do something illegal, immoral, or fattening, refuse the second interview or the job offer.

Some people have been burned by a previous bad employer.  You may have been hired by a place with dubious morals. You are out now, or in the process of getting out.  Assume the best of the companies you are visiting.  Give examples of how hard you are willing to work to succeed. Focus on what you can do for the company.

Something To Do Today

Assume the best.  Ask for examples.

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