Common Values-based interview questions and how to answer them
The values of an individual can be really personal and will largely be based on experiences and influences that have occurred during their lifetime, and the principles in which they have lived by. Although they can of course change over time, values are often deep-rooted, and the motivation behind a person’s actions or decision making. However, that’s not to say that we always stand by our values, and they may be applied differently in different situations – whether that be at work, or when with friends and family.
Values-based interview questions are designed to enable you to describe your personal values during your interview. They don’t have to be exactly the same, but the interviewer will be interested in finding out whether or not your values and morals align with those of the business. Where a misalignment in values occurs, it can be difficult for both parties to move forward to achieve a common goal due to fundamental disagreements in the way someone behaves or approaches a situation.
How to identify your own values
Identifying your core personal values can be difficult, and not many of us would be able to describe them straight away, or have them written down ready to go. To get you thinking, one idea is to create a mind map, or make some notes, using the following questions as a guide:
- What makes you feel happy, and why?
- What makes you feel proud, and why?
- What type of thing tends to make you feel angry or upset, and why?
- Who inspires you, and why?
- What do you think makes someone a good leader, and why?
- When looking at a list of values, which ones are you most drawn to, and why?
Once you have finished, have a look at your notes and pick out what is the most important to you, to create your set of values. There is no limit on how many values an individual can have, but for the purposes of an interview, try to pick your top 5 to focus on.
Preparing for values based questions
Some hints and tips to help you prepare for any values based questions you may be asked are:
- To identify your own personal values and why they are important to you
- Research the values of the company in which you are applying and be clear on how your values align or misalign with theirs
- Think of examples for how you have demonstrated both your own values, and those of the company
- Use the STAR method to help structure any answers where you may be required to give an example of how you have demonstrated your values. The action section is really important here. Ensure that the actions you took don’t go against your values, and that you can support your arguments
The STAR Method
To put the STAR method into practice, take each of your values and think of an example of how you demonstrated it, then use the following points to help you describe it:
S – Situation
In this section, talk about the situation itself. Describe the context in which you were working or the challenge you were facing.
T – Task
This section talks about the tasks which needed to be completed in order to resolve or address the situation. What were you asked to do, or what did you decide to do?
A – Action
In this section talk about what your responsibility was in completing the tasks. Focus on the part you played specifically and how you contributed, rather than what your team or colleagues did. Talk about why you took certain actions and how this links to your values.
R – Result
In this section, talk about what the outcome was, and what you achieved.
You can find out more about the STAR method by reading our blog here.
Examples of values-based questions
Common values-based questions that many of us will have heard before include:
- Please tell us about yourself
- Please tell us about something that makes you proud
- Please tell us about a time when you had a disagreement with a colleague
The article below gives some further examples of questions, along with possible answers, to help you prepare.