Interviews can be a career maker or dream dasher, but at one stage or another we all go through an interview to get into our careers. Sometimes just how you feel on the day can make or break what could be the dream job or a narrow miss - you just don’t know.
That’s why interviews have to be more than just a conversation, they need to bring insights and other elements such as skills, education, experience and personality traits that make you a good match for an organisation.
It’s becoming increasingly important to showcase more than just what school you went to in order to get a job. Having values that reflect that of the organisation are equally important, but how do you find out what a candidate’s values are and how do you measure the responses?
This is where value based interview questions provide beneficial insight. Do their priorities align with the business, how do they behave in setbacks and what kind of integral values do they hold towards themselves and others?
In this guide we are going to take you through value based questions, why you need to ask them at an interview stage and provide some key examples to give you further insight.
What are value-based interview questions?
Value-based interview questions are questions that ask about your morals and professional standards and how you implement these in the workplace. Companies want to know how you hold these values to yourself, in the workplace and to the public.
With value based interview questions you want to focus on ‘how’ and ‘why’ an applicant makes various choices. This will give the aforementioned insight into their values and behaviours.
Why ask value based interview questions
The core values of a business reflect a company’s mission and long-term objectives - these are not just theoretical beliefs. In other words how your employees collaborate with one another, where the business invests the most amount of time and money and what kind of people work and stay working in your organisation is how your business defines itself.
Therefore you want to establish from your candidates if their priorities align with your goals. Also what they will prioritise in the workplace and what drives their behaviour.
Value based questions also reveal what these approaches can highlight such as:
The ability to understand other people and share feelings with your colleagues and their point of view.
Being able to show consideration for the suffering or misfortune of colleagues and within the organisation to help make more informed decisions.
Is the applicant someone the organisation and colleagues can rely on?
Is the applicant someone who can be responsible to others, the team, and best represent the organisation?
Can the applicant work as part of a team and pull in the same direction as the others? Or are they more of an individual and does that conflict with organisational goals?
Is the applicant a person who can lead in the day to day to deliver what the organisation requires? Can they step up and lead in a crisis?
How much of a role is creative and how much of it is required to really hit organisational targets?
- Social responsibility
Can the applicant and organisation integrate social and environmental solutions to business operations?
Does the organisation need someone who can provide new ideas to the team?
Key benefits of asking value based interview questions
Value based interview questions have clear and defined purposes as previously highlighted. Understanding the ‘how’ and ‘why’ an applicant makes various choices is a critical part of taking them on. By doing so, you are gaining insight into their values and behaviours.
Answering value-based interview questions requires an understanding of a company's culture and the personal values your prospective employer accepts or rejects. It's important to understand the values companies often search for in their candidates.
Some of the other associated benefits of asking value based interview questions include;
Ensure candidates are aligned with the business’ values
Candidates should always be considered as brand ambassadors regardless of whether you hire them or not. Their experience during the interview stage is a top priority and ensuring that you are hiring the top people who embrace your values and who believe in them is critical.
Another way to look at it is that you are creating a great candidate experience and allow candidates to truly realise that you don’t just tell what people the values are, you are making them experience it through living and breathing them.
Ensure candidates have the right values and attitude for your team and work environment
As a business, you want to have the kind of workforce which has some coherent reflection of staff between one another, however, you also don’t want to have a workforce of clones.
Value based interview questions get to provide an overall insight into a person’s values and how these align with your business, your colleagues and your goals.
Better team cohesion
By having candidates who reflect the same or similar values, you are going to develop greater team cohesion and this allows you to maximise your organisational efforts to reach your goals.
More holistic view of a candidate beyond their capabilities/technical competencies
One of the reasons why you would opt to do a values based interview is so that you can get a wider view of a candidate that sits outside of their capabilities/technical competencies. It is not a skills assessment. The goal of the interview is to determine whether candidates can positively contribute to the organisation's core values. This is just as important as determining if they have the skill and will to perform the duties of the role.
Value based interview question examples
Value based interview questions are designed to elicit responses that show the aforementioned traits in action. For example for leadership, asking an open question such as:
Can you tell me about a project you led and how that project concluded?
- Prompts a candidate to describe their leadership experience.
Here are some other examples of value based questions you can ask.
Can you describe a time where you had to adapt to a sudden change at work?
- Prompts the candidate to describe a challenge they have experienced and what they did to adapt.
- Helps the prospective employer determine whether a candidate will cope with change and how honest they are.
Tell me about a disagreement you had with a teammate. How did you handle it?
- Provides insight into a candidate’s background and their team working inclinations.
- Helps identify valuable team-working attributes.
What are the traits that make you an excellent leader?
- Another excellent leadership related question.
- Probes more deeply into a candidate’s opinion of themselves.
Can you tell me about your greatest work achievement? How did you accomplish it?
- Provides candidates with the opportunity to show off a little.
- Provides insight into what they consider to be a great achievement and their analysis of what they did to make it work.
Are there any new ideas you have introduced to a previous workplace? What are they?
- Another excellent question that provides candidates with the opportunity to blow their own trumpet.
- What they highlight and how they describe it provides useful insight into their innovation and creativity skills.
Compassion & Empathy
Can you give me an example of a time when you helped someone in need?
- Provides the candidate with the opportunity to showcase their ability to spot someone in need.
- Also showcases their problem solving skills in relation to emotional/empathetic manners.
Why is helping others important to you?
- Provides insight into a candidate’s inclination to help others and be collaborative.
Why do you think being trustworthy is an important quality to have?
- A candidate’s response to a question like this provides useful insight into how much they value trustworthiness in the workplace.
Tell me about a time when you faced an ethical dilemma in the workplace?
- Again, this would highlight trustworthiness but also what they deem as morally right or wrong in what would be considered a normal workplace situation.
How do you react to negative feedback?
- Provides candidate’s with the opportunity to display openness and honesty.
- Their response provides valuable insight into how they are likely to cope with criticism.
In what ways have you demonstrated social and environmental responsibility?
- Provides candidates with the opportunity to describe aspects of social and environmental responsibility that are important to them.
- Do these align with the organisation’s values?
Other interview question types
Value-based interview questions give employers the choice to specifically ask questions during interviews to identify a candidate's personal and professional strengths, values and work ethic. Value-based questions are effective because they help employers determine whether an applicant aligns with their company's values.
Overall, they help organisations discover more about the candidate away from a pure skill set and they help give the candidate the necessary information as to what the organisation’s culture is. You can build teams around these values and create greater coherent structures that are aiming for the same result.
Importantly, as an organisation, you must remember that an interview needs to contain a rounded selection of question types to get an accurate picture of a candidate. This can include skills tests but an interview should be able to identify everything from behaviour to values to skills and other necessary attributes.
You may want to consider adding to your value based questions some of the following;
Strengths based questions
Strength based interviewing is a relatively new concept which seeks to identify candidates whose own strengths and preferred working style matches the job role. Its aim is then to ensure higher motivation and performance in successful candidates.
This interview style gives candidates an opportunity to talk about their natural strengths and the situations in which these are at their best. Strengths based interviews seek to find out what you ‘love to do’, rather than what you ‘can do.’ This test can give insights into what someone sees as their strength.
Examples of strength based interview questions include:
- Are you a good listener?
- What energises you?
- What activities come naturally to you?
- What gets done on your ‘to do’ list? What never gets done?
- How do you make others feel confident in your own skills?
- How do you handle working with someone you don’t like?
- What does success mean to you?
- In your life, what have you done that you are most proud of? What made it significant to
- you and what did you learn from the experience?
- What are your greatest strengths? When do you use them at their best?
- Are there situations in which you overuse these strengths?
- Do you prefer detail or the bigger picture?
- Have you ever done something differently the second time around?
Motivation based questions
Motivation based interview questions are designed to see how an individual feels about themselves and how they feel after their work. It is used by many managers to understand what it is about the work that is being carried out that may need to be changed to improve motivation in the role. As the name implies, they are seeking new inspiration to help them complete their work tasks with excitement and passion.
Some examples of motivation based questions include:
- Can you tell me about a time you stayed motivated while doing repetitive work?
- How do you define success for yourself professionally?
- Would you rather work in an ideal environment with low pay or a less ideal environment for more pay?
- How would you describe your relationship with your colleagues?
- What changes would help you achieve your goals?
- Could you tell me about a time when you had a great idea at your job?
- What do you do to manage your time efficiently while on the job?
- How has your job helped you improve professionally or personally?
- Could you describe a time when you discovered a new method or process for doing your work?
Competency based questions
Also known as structured, behavioural or situational interviews they are designed to test one or more skills or competencies. Traditionally, the interviewer will have a set of questions that focuses on a specific skill that answers questions compared to a predetermined criteria and marked against it accordingly.
The idea is that you can work on the principle that past behaviour is the best indicator of future performance. Competency interviews can be used in different sectors but, large graduate recruiters, who may use them as part of an assessment centre prefer this type of interview based questioning technique.
- Tell me about a big decision you've made recently. How did you go about it?
- What has been your biggest achievement to date?
- How do you maintain good working relationships with your colleagues?
- Tell me about a time when you showed integrity and professionalism?
- Tell me about a time that you made a decision and then changed your mind.
Situational interview questions/situational judgement - also known as behavioural questions - are questions that ask you to share a previous (work-related) experience and how you reacted.
These situations will be presented to assess soft skills, like time management, conflict resolution and communication. How well do you think on your feet, and how you would handle unexpected situations are all part of a situational interview question.
Check out the behavioural test which can give you insight into someone’s motivation. Some situational based questions include:
- Tell me about a time you were in a high-pressure situation. How did you get through it?
- Give me an example about a problem you observed and how you solved it?
- Give me an example of a difficult decision you had to make. What steps did you take to make it?
- Say you’re working on a project with a tight deadline, and you’re waiting on something from a coworker who said that they’d get it to you last week. What do you do?
- How would you go about explaining a challenging issue to a client?
- What steps do you take to ensure you have enough time to meet all of your deadlines?
- What’s the first thing you do when a plan goes awry?
- How do you stay in communication with your teammates throughout a project?
- What steps do you make to promote a healthy level of compromise between team members?
- Tell me about a time when you made sure a customer was pleased with your service.
- Describe a time when you had to interact with a difficult client or customer. What was the situation, and how did you handle it?
Organisations want to know how you hold these values to yourself, in the workplace and to the public. Being able to ask value based questions helps employers understand what potential employees have to offer in alignment with the long term vision and strategy of the business.
The Thomas talent assessment platform can aid your organisation in the development of value based questions and analyse results to help make hiring decisions easier. Specifically, the interview guide is dynamically generated for each individual that takes our assessments, and gives you suggested questions to ask in the interviews based on the traits and aptitudes that you define as most important for the role. Using these questions in an interview, you can really get to the heart of each interviewee and understand more about their personality and behaviour than you would from a standard interview.
If you would like to find out more, please speak to one of our team.