What Will You Do If You Saw A Co-Worker Stealing

How To Answer: What Will You Do If You Saw A Co-Worker Stealing?

Job recruiters or hiring managers usually ask interviewees or job candidates: what will they do if they saw a co-worker stealing? This question is very relevant because it helps to checkmate the job applicant’s loyalty and integrity in a working environment. Most organizations have zero tolerance for stealing and if an outsider is a culprit it is not as serious as when it is a fellow employee of an organization. As an employee of an organization, if you are caught stealing; you are breaking organizational rules and regulations. An organization is a very complex environment, it is very easy to steal and not get caught and so dubious employees take advantage of that. Some employees steal money, products, or even relevant documents that belong to an organization. An interviewer is asking this question to check the level of your reliability and trustworthiness to the organization.

Tips for answering the question: what will you do if you saw a co-worker stealing?

Admit you will report the co-worker immediately:

The first thing to do is to report the co-worker immediately because stealing is a criminal offense and most organizations frown on it. This is how your response should be:  I will make sure I report the co-worker right on spot to the manager of the organization so that the co-worker cannot deny the allegation. If a co-worker steals $10 dollars today and he is not reported, he will double it to $20 tomorrow. I abhor stealing and I have zero tolerance for such offense.

Demonstrate a prior situation from your previous work environment: This question will be best answered with an experience, especially from your previous work environment and how you handle it; this will show the interviewer that you are not naïve to situations like this. Below is a sample answer:

Working as a Banker

I once worked in a bank and as a Banker, my core responsibility is to protect our clients’ money. I encountered a theft situation in the bank I worked, customers usually complain that someone calls them to demand their ATM pin and they said the person is working in the bank. If they give their ATM pin to this fellow he withdraws their money. On a certain day, I was moving around the bank and I overheard a colleague making a phone call and demanding for ATM pin. I immediately reported the situation to the Bank Manager. The case was investigated, it was discovered that a colleague of mine usually scam banks customers and he was punished appropriately.

Show the interviewer your loyalty:

Most job recruiters ask this question to check the level of the job applicant’s loyalty. The co-worker you caught stealing may be your friend or a close ally, will you still report to the manager? Show the interviewer that no matter what, you will report the theft situation. This is the best time to show the interviewer that you will uphold the organization’s ethics no matter what and that you are not just an employee of the organization but that you are also the security of the organization’s properties.

Admit to the interviewer that it depends on the circumstance:

A co-worker stealing may be a very criminal offense but it depends on the circumstance. Some people steal because it is their last option, maybe the co-worker is facing very difficult financial challenges and has worked for the organization for a very long time. Below is a sample answer

If I saw a co-worker that has worked for the organization for a very long time stealing and if such co-worker has a good track record; I will approach the co-worker and ask the co-worker to refund the stolen item or money back”.

This question may also be asked to check the level of your forgiveness and tolerance. Your ability to forgive also shows you have a good relationship with your co-worker and that you are ready to guide them if you see them on the wrong path.

Admit to the Interviewer that it depends on what was stolen

A co-worker stealing in an organization is not tolerated at all but this solely depends on what was stolen. Stealing may be very bad but it is in the category. For instance, someone who stole a pair of shirts cannot be compared to someone who stole a dozen of shirts. If the item the co-worker stole is not a big item, I may just ignore it and ask him to return it. In an organization, it is very paramount to promote team spirit among co-workers and so it will not be bad if you forgive a co-worker’s misstep but there is a limit to everything. If a co-worker should steal a small item it will not have an impact on the organization. Below is a sample answer

Working as a Salesperson in a Supermarket

“If I saw a co-worker putting chocolate and biscuits in her bag, I will immediately reprimand her and ask her to return it. I will not report her to the Supermarket manager because this is a very minor theft but if she repeats the same offense then I will report her to the Manager”.


Mistakes to Avoid

Do not Hesitate to Answer: Most organizations have zero tolerance for stealing, don’t pause before answering the question, and think fast. Make sure you come up with logical answers to the question to show the interviewer how you abhor stealing. This is the best time to project your honesty before the interviewer.

Don’t fabricate stories: if you have never handled a theft situation in your previous workplace there is no need to cook up stories. Some Job Recruiters are very smart and they will make inquiries from your previous workplace. Think logically and try to come up with common theft situations and how you will handle such situations.

Minimize your words: The question demands an elaborate answer but just try to minimize your words in order not to bombard the Job Recruiter with different stories.

Interview Questions

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