Values based interviews – how to prepare

silhouette of a man surrounded by values such as hones, flexible and thoughtful

What are values?

Many organisations have defined values which reflect the ‘identity’ of the organisation and the behaviour of the people that work within it.

For example, HSBC’s values are:

  • Dependable
  • open to different ideas and cultures
  • connected to customers, communities, regulators and each other

A recent ISE (Institute for Student Employers) survey found that 32% of graduate recruiters use values as part of their selection.

How can you find out what an organisation’s values are?

Many organisations will publish their values on their website, so a quick Google search might give you an idea. Be aware that other words may be used to describe values, such principles or behaviours. It’s always worth a search around the ‘careers’ section of an organisation’s website too. Other applicants often share their experiences of applying on social media sites such as The Student Room.

How might values be tested?

An organisation might explicitly ask a values-based question at interview e.g. “Has there been a time when you have challenged somebody’s opinion?” or “How have you demonstrated our company’s values in your life?”. For these questions, it will be helpful to know what the organisation’s values are, and have thought about how your previous experiences relate to them. You may want to structure your answer to these questions in a similar way to a competency question using the STAR technique (covered in Storytelling-the secret weapon in your job interview).

Some organisations may not ask direct questions about values, but may be looking for evidence of them in answers to general questions or through other assessment methods. For example, the NHS values are used for recruitment onto all NHS funded training courses and for many jobs too. These are usually tested for at interview stage, sometimes by observing a candidate’s behaviour in a role-play scenario.

Finally, some organisations are embracing technology in recruitment and are using games as part of their selection process. Candidate’s behaviours in game scenarios can be used to identify whether they match the behaviours or values expected by the organisation.

Don’t forget that you can bring an application in to be looked over by a Careers Adviser or practice for an upcoming interview, book a Guidance Interview on Surrey Pathfinder.

Other types of job interview

Further Reading