Jobfully Blog

Interview Strategy – Giving It All Away

Let’s say you are in a job interview and you are asked for your biggest idea for innovation within the company. Do you give away your best thinking, knowing you may or may not be hired? Or do you hang on to it, hoping for credit once you are in the door and part of the company?

This dilemma faces job seekers regularly as they interview. Job applicants are asked for ideas, presentations, plans, suggestions and insights. In almost every case, the hiring company certainly could take the input and run with it, leaving the job seeker out. Yet there is a strong case for giving it all away and not worrying about where it ends up.

    1. If you share an idea that is truly unique, it will likely make you a front runner for the job.  The company would love to see you come up with even more ideas like this to solve more problems and create more improvements.
    2. If other candidates are asked the same question and openly share similar ideas, but you hold back, you will be at a disadvantaged.
    3. Idea or credit hogging is not a good work ethic. You want to work for a place and for people who share ideas freely and build successes as a team.
    4. Most likely your brilliant ideas are only valuable if they can be put into use.  This means they are valuable to the company, but not necessary to you as an individual.  At least not today.  You don’t know what the situation will be when you are actually ready to put your idea to use.  Market conditions might have completely changed.  Other people might also have come up with the same idea.
    5. Giving your best makes you memorable. Even if you don’t get this job, you will be remembered as someone with great ideas who was open which may lead to opportunities down the line.
    6. Sharing your best ideas and insights, demonstrates that you put the company’s interest before your own. When you give them the best solution you can think of, it’s a good sign from the employer point of view.


What do you think? Do you freely give away your insights, ideas and best thinking at job interviews, or hold back hoping to be hired? Why?



  1. Posted October 17, 2013 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Hi Mark,

    Thank you for sharing your experience.

    I think the fact that people at this bank took your idea without giving you credit was a sign of deteriorating company culture. If you choose to share your good ideas with a potential employer and receive the appropriate recognition and respect, then I think that would be a sign of a good match. It would be more rewarding to work in that kind of environment.

  2. Jessica
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    What about doing a bunch of work to get an interview? For example, they give you a design or marketing problem and you create a presentation for it. It could be hours and hours of creation with no job offer.

  3. Posted November 1, 2013 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    It’s fine for companies to give out a small hypothetical assignment to learn more about how you work and problem solve. If that’s the case, give it your all. If the request would truly require hours of work, you may have to let the hiring manager or recruiter know you feel the request is unrealistically large. In that communication discuss the approach you would take to solving the problem and give examples of successes you’ve had in similar situations. Be positive and professional in your reply and express a willingness to meet and talk further.

  4. Posted November 1, 2013 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Here is a New York Times article – “I Asserted Myself, and Got the Job“- on how a job seeker advanced his candidacy by sharing his ideas.

One Trackback

  1. By Video Friday: Giving It All Away? – Jobfully Blog on October 31, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    [...] is more detail about “Giving It All Away” as a strategy in this earlier blog.  Learn more about interviewing at the Jobfully [...]

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