Hi Everyone, I have recently attended my first job interview in over 10 years. Using the advice from Manager Tools I think I did a good job.

The one question that was asked which I was pre-prepared for was "why have you stayed at the same company so long?" "It is true" I answered "I have been at the same firm for 35 years but did start as a trainee / apprentice & have progressed to a senior manament position whilst also working in different divisions & at different geographical locations". "The challenges I face today & the skills I employ are a world away from those I experienced just 30 years ago."

Still the interviewer seemed to find something odd about this as they again brought it up in the closing section of the interview.

I am not stupid enough not to see that it could be that the interviewer does not see me as suitable for the position & this is his "escape route". But.........

How would you advise is the best way to answer this question in future please?


jmoskovitz's picture


If I'm reading you correctly, by the way the interviewer asked the question, he subtly implied that there was something wrong with staying at a job 10 years, which, quite frankly, I don't agree with.  I see a lot of positives in that.  But whenever a question implies something negative, our natural reaction is to attempt to defend it.  I doubt you'll ever be asked that question again.  If it does come up again, I would simply state something like,  your loyalty to the organization and the fact that you continued to develop and grow were the reasons for your long tenure (if that is indeed the case).  Of course the next question is, "Why then, did you leave?"  My guess is that you have prepared for that question, so just be sure it is consistent with the previous answer (as long as it is the truth, of course).



jmoskovitz's picture

Hi Garry,

Sorry, I see that you were there 35 years, not 10.  In my previous comment, I forgot to add that, in addition to your growth and development, which are "me-oriented," I would also add you stayed with the company as long as you were able to contribute to its success, even toward the end of your tenure. Then go on to provide a few specific examples, ultimately linking the whole thing to how you can add value to your new company.

I don't know what the folks at MT think about this, but I was taught to limit my answers to no more than 30 seconds (tell the interviewer, you'll provide more detail if he'd like), then follow with a question to maintain control ("the flip").  In this case, your question may be, "What is the average tenure of your employees at my level?"

Hope this helps,


DPWade's picture

...If it was as short as you state it here.  It may have left a non-conclusion however in the interviewers mind.

My comment is purely subjective.  The interviewer may see the answer as insufficient and defaulted to flipping it back to you to make something fabulous about it that He/She could sell uphill.  Maybe, next time you articulate all the upsides to achieving this kind of tenure for the 2 to 3 minutes that Mark narrates as describing a specific achievement, and how rare it holds you, as a candidate, in stability, loyalty, adaptability, blah blah blah.


kibo34's picture

Hi Guys,

Great feedback, thank you.


I will incorporate your advice into my prepration for any future interviews.


Thanks Again



asteriskrntt1's picture

...I chose to stay and the company chose to keep me.  We were both getting what we needed.  A number of opportunities to leave came my way and after evaluating them, I could not see how leaving was going to advance my career or improve my work/life balance.  In my company, I earned 11 promotions, starting as a trainee and moving my way up to....  With all my upward and lateral and geographic moves, I experienced everything I would have by moving and more.  .. I think my career path is unique these days and I am proud of it. I had great opportunities and took advantage of them.  

jhbchina's picture

Your reply is well written with tons of value.


Another possibility is to answer by stating the truth  " I was happy doing what I do, with the people I liked working with, doing it, for the compensation I received for doing it".  I knew how to create opportunities for myself that added more value for the company, which they consistently recognized by promoting me regularly. What more could a company and employee ask for. That is the goal - a win win for both sides.

If they are still not satisfied, then don't work for them, their lose.

JHB "00"

ashdenver's picture

In my experience, someone with longevity at a company was a GOOD thing - it showed loyalty and commitment.  Nowadays, though, it seems to be a BAD thing - usually for the most basic of reasons: you've become too indoctrinated by that employer to have any hope of learning new ways of doing things at a fresh organization. 

I think your answer was suitable, especially since you covered that aspect of it by saying "whilst also working in different divisions & at different geographical locations". "The challenges I face today & the skills I employ are a world away from those I experienced just 30 years ago."  The only thing I would probably incorporate (in addition to *RNTT1s suggestions) would be that you keep current with trade publications, networking, business-oriented reading, etc. to stay abreast of improvements in the field, management in general, etc.  You don't want to appear "stale" or brainwashed by a single corporate mentality.

*two cents*

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