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What would you do if a co-worker asked you to help them steal?

This question has been answered 6 times by professional recruiters and hiring managers. View their answers below.

Advice
The interviewer would like to know how you would react if put in an awkward, or potentially harmful situation like being asked by a co-worker to steal with them. Theft can occur in many ways in the workplace and is not necessarily reserved to blatantly taking a product. Ensure that you are aware of the different ways a co-worker may try to pass stealing off as 'no big deal.'

- Timecard fabrication, also known as "buddy punching" where you punch in for a coworker who is not present
- 'Borrowing' money from the cash register
- Falsifying vendor or expense accounts
- Taking items from the lost and found
- Stealing data or documents containing trade secrets
- Taking expensive office supplies like ink, or adding personal items to supply orders
- Billing hours to clients that they did not work

Of course, you already know how to answer this question! Express that you would never engage in this type of behavior and discuss how you would go about reporting this type of situation. If this has happened to you in the past, you can talk about the case.

Admin answer example
"I once had a coworker ask me to punch in for her when she was late. She didn't want to lose hours on her time sheet! I simply laughed and told her that she needed to wake up a bit earlier if she wanted to be at work on time. She apologized later for asking me to do something unethical. It didn't happen again."
Basic answer example
"buddy punching"
Manager answer example
"One of my senior managers, after giving his two weeks' notice, actually had the nerve to ask me to hand over the contact information for some of my major accounts. I was appalled by his behavior, reported it to our director, and he was terminated rather than being allowed to complete his two weeks' notice."
Marketing answer example
"At one point I caught another marketing manager billing hours to a client that was not even his. He knew the client was a major one, and that they did not ever look at their itemized report every month. I dug into the situation a bit and found that he had been adding about five billable hours per month for the past six months. I approached him about it, and he asked me to keep the secret. I reported my findings, and he lost his job shortly after. I did not want my agency to get a bad reputation for one dishonest person."
Retail answer example
"I have never had a co-worker ask me to help them steal; however, I am aware that merchandise goes missing all the time, at the hands of employees, in a retail environment. I have formal training on how to approach situations like these and have zero tolerance for theft."
Sales answer example
"I used to do ride alongs with a senior territory manager who would falsify his kilometer reimbursement requests all the time. I was new to my career and didn't want to be a whistleblower, so I let it go on. Now, however, I would know to report a situation like that and to never participate through inaction, again."

View user-submitted Answers

What would you do if a co-worker asked you to help them steal?
1.
I'd say no, obioulsly . Then head on to the manager and tell them the situation .
2.
Definately report them to my supervisor or manager.
3.
No do not do that and bring it to manager.
4.
I would decline and notify superviser.
5.
Report them, or tell them that it isnt right.
6.
No I will definently not help you steal and you should not either, do you know what kind of trouble you can get into and you will loose your job and you will never be able to work in a job like this again. Then Confront the manager.
7.
I would say no and report them to management.
8.
Say no and inform my manager.
9.
I'd say no, obioulsly . Then head on to the manager and tell them the situation .
10.
I'd say no, obioulsly . Then head on to the manager and tell them the situation .
11.
I'd say no, obioulsly . Then head on to the manager and tell them the situation .
12.
Absolutely not and tell them that I am going to report it.
13.
Never. That is not in my vocabulary. I take pride in working for what I've earned.
14.
Tell them that I do not want anything to do with it.
15.
I would go talk to my manager about this coworker so they can deal with it internally.
16.
I would decline and reportively tell my manager what has happened.
17.
First I never will do something like that, and I should talk with my manager about it.
18.
I would definitely say no, and just tell him or her there is no profit from stealing. There is no positive outcome when you take part in those kind of activities. And report it to a supervisor.
19.
I would decline, and let my manager known right away.
20.
No .. Obey the law it makes your conscience clean.
21.
I would report them to the manger. It is not to steal things.
22.
If a coworker asked me to help them steal I would definitely tell them NO. Explain to them the consequences of stealing and report it to management.
23.
I would say no and let the manager know.
24.
I would say, NO and inform my manager immediately.
25.
I would tell them no and tell a manager what I was asked.
26.
I would tell them not to & go to a manager immediately.
27.
I would say no it is illegal and nothing is worth go to jail over.
28.
I would not do it and talk with the individual about not doing it.
29.
Without doubt I would have to report it to a supervisor.
30.
Tell them no, obviously, and report it to my supervisor.
31.
Absolutely would not, and then I would bring this matter to a manager.
32.
No thank you and report the situation.
33.
I would not! and probably report that person no crime is worth going to jail. Plus like I said before I have work ethics and honesty with integrity.
34.
I would tell the employee its wrong and I dont want to be a part of it.
35.
I would refuse and inform a superior of the interaction.
36.
I would see if this person was serious, if so I would report it to upper management.
37.
I would advice them its not the best thing to do and further if they do not listen I would hint the manager about it.
38.
Absolutely not, try to convince the coworker not to and if they did tell the boss.
39.
I would discreetly advise my supervisor of what was said to me.
40.
Say no and report them to loss prevention and managers.
41.
Tell them no and tell my manager as soon as they leave, what they are planning.
42.
I would have to discourage the behavior and warn them 1st then go to a supervisor.
43.
First of all, I would hope that were never the case scenario. I would say absolutely NO, and works report to my supervisor to keep an eye out.
44.
No, I don't plan to steal and I never steal. Please don't ever ask me that. And I also report that to me supervisor.
45.
I would say no because it's not right to steal.
46.
No way. Out of the question and would tell management.
47.
That is something that can never be tolerated, & I would go to a manager privately to discuss that coworker.
48.
Tell them no and also to them not too and also explain to them the reasons why they shouldn't but also in form a member of management.
49.
I would not do that. It is not for the good of the company and is against the policy that we would have working here.
50.
I would tell them that I don't steal and would tell the manager or boss later in the day.
51.
First and foremost I would discourage them from continuing with this idea, and then report this to a manager so that they can take appropriate action.
52.
I would absolutely say no and alert management.
53.
I would straight out tell them that stealing is wrong and I would not take part in that.
54.
I would bring it to a manager and made sure the manager was aware.
55.
I would tell my coworker that stealing is against the law, and I would report her comment to any available manager so that the situation can get handled quickly.
56.
Not going to happen. I would turn them in. No question about that.
57.
Report to the manager.
58.
Tell them that is not a good idea and report it to a manager.
59.
I will definitely will say no and try to change his mind and report it to the manger.
60.
Refuse to assist the coworker and speak to someone in management.
61.
I would immediately report it to my manager.
62.
Stealing is unethical and is not tolerated anywhere that I know of , to even suggest that I help in anyway is absurd therefore I would report this to my superior immediately and he or she will do whats necessary .
63.
I will tell my supervisor.
64.
I'd ask him what he's stealing and if it's worth the risk I would help.
65.
I would decline and tell him he should reconsider or I will report him.
66.
Inaceptable behavior I will go drectly to a manager.
67.
I would tell them absolutely not; and then, I would report them to my supervisor.
68.
I would tell that coworker that I will not take no part in that action. I would tell that cowoker that it is not right to steal, and it can have serious consequences with it. I would then report to my manager on duty and report what I was asked to do.
69.
I would refuse to steal or assist them. I would also let them know that I felt obliged to inform the company of their proposition.
70.
I would say no and then tell your boss.
71.
I would immediately call my manager to discuss the issue.
72.
Say no and inform management.
73.
First tell him no then try and talk him out of doing it. I would then notify the mnager about what this co worker has said to me.
74.
I would let them know I was not willing to jeoperdize my freedom for them.
75.
I would decline and let my supervisor or manager know about the situation.
76.
Report to my manager immediatly.
77.
I would say no and immediantly tell management.
78.
I would tell(tbem no first of all tben I sould go report the situstion to my manager.
79.
I would say no and report them to a manager immediately.
80.
I would say no, and report it to management.
81.
I would explain that this is very dishonest and I would tell them this is against company policy and that they stand to lose their job and their reputation and I would make sure the proper people are notified, because someone stealing is taking profit away from the company.
82.
I would definitely not help him. I will try to talk him out of it.
83.
I would turn in the co worker and report that they were trying to steal I was raised to never take anything that wasnt mine and to respect others property.
84.
I would discourage any form of stealing by a coworker. I would discreetly bring the matter to the attention of my manager.
85.
Report them to the supervisor.
86.
I would not do it and I would most likely report them to the manager.
87.
I would contact my manager immediately.
88.
Suggest that it is not worth losing your job and reputation.
89.
Turn them into loss prevention or call the theft hotline.
90.
I would refuse, then I would let my manager/loss prevention know.
91.
I would tell them no. Then I would call the customer aware line.
92.
I would tell the coworker that it's wrong, I won't be part of anything like this and would also report them to management.
93.
No and report to supervsor.
94.
I would notify a manager or supervisor.
95.
I will tell to my supervisor, or loss prevention associate.
96.
I would report it to a supervisor right away.
97.
If a coworker asked me to steal would immediately tell him no and proceed to inform a supervisor so he/she could handle the situation.
98.
I would say no, that I would not have any part of that. I would let my supervisor know of the conversation.
99.
I refuse the offer saying my jobs trust I me is valuable to amd then report it to management.
100.
No and I would tell my manger.
101.
I would report it immediately no questions asked. I absolutely do not believe in stealing anything. I would also let my store manager know as well as the hotline.

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