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Answering Interview Questions About Your Values

Your core values are the things that are important to you. It affects how you work with others, the decisions you make, and how seriously you take your work and personal time. But companies have core values too, and your interviewer will ask you questions to find out if your core values are a good fit for the company.


To prepare for your first interview, start by researching the core values of the company you’ve applied to. Explore their company website, social media pages, and online reviews to see what matters to them. These values are how the company makes decisions about what to invest in, who to hire, and what they want their working environment to be like. Do your values match with the company's values? If so, in what way?


We've put together some example questions to help you think about your core values, what your interviewer is looking for, and what you can say to make a great impression.


"Your Team Gets Negative Feedback on Part of a Project that was Assigned to You. How Would You React?"

When an interviewer asks you a question like this, they want to know if you take responsibility for your work and the outcomes of your work. They are looking for someone who understands when something does not go well for the team, and it is their fault. But they don't want someone who gets upset and doesn't know how to continue.


Explain how you take responsibility when you make a mistake, how you find out what went wrong, and how you plan to use that information to do better in the future. You want to show your interviewer that you take mistakes seriously, but learning from mistakes is a great way to improve how you do your work.


Example Answer:

"In my last job, I was in charge of a project. But we got negative feedback from a client because of a misunderstanding. Instead of blaming others, I owned up to the mistake. I talked with the client to understand better what went wrong. I also had a chat with my team about it. We realized we had not been clear enough with the client about what we were doing at each step of the project. So, I decided we should start giving regular updates to the client about what we were doing. This new way of doing things helped us work better with the client and made our work on the project better too. For me, mistakes are a chance to learn and do better next time."


"How do You Manage Working With Someone You Don't Like?"

In reality, not everyone in your team will be easy to work with, and some will be a real challenge. Your interviewer wants to know how you handle working with someone you don’t get along with, and how it will affect the outcome of a project.


This question is checking how well you work with others, even if you don't like them. Explain how you keep things professional, focus on finding the best way to work together, and get the project done well. You can also add how you would approach this colleague again in the future and how best to make sure future projects go smoothly if you are working together again.


Example Answer:

"In my previous role, there was a colleague I didn't see eye-to-eye with on a personal level. However, I knew it was crucial to keep our interactions professional for the sake of our project. I focused on what we both brought to the table and how we could best use our skills to get the job done. We found a way to divide the work that played to our strengths and minimized friction. Despite our personal differences, the project was successful because we kept our focus on the task at hand. If I were to work with this person again in the future, I'd do the same thing: keep it professional, focus on the work, and find the best way for us to collaborate. My goal is always to ensure the project is successful, no matter who I'm working with."


"Have You Ever Had to Make a Difficult Ethical Choice at Work, and if so, How Did You React?"

This question is to assess your honesty and integrity. Describe a time when you had to make a tough decision about right and wrong at work. Explain why it was hard and what you did about it. Show how you followed the company's rules and ethical guidelines, and how you weren't afraid to ask for advice when you needed it.


Example Answer:

"In my previous job, there was a time when I found out that a coworker, who was also a friend, was being inappropriate to another teammate. This was a hard situation for me because, even though we were friends, I knew what he was doing was wrong. I felt responsible for calling him out, but when he didn't take me seriously, I brought the situation to Human Resources. I did this privately to protect my coworker's reputation. After reporting, my co-worker was given a warning and forced to apologize after she confirmed the situation. This situation taught me that it's important to do what's right at work, even when it's difficult, and that the company will support you in making ethical decisions."


"How Would You Handle a Customer Who Calls in One Minute Before Your Shift Ends?"

This situation happens when you apply for a frontline position like Customer Support. This question is checking your dedication to customer service, even when it might be inconvenient. The interviewer wants to see that you prioritize customer needs and are willing to go the extra mile to provide excellent service.


Example Answer:

“If a customer calls in just as I'm about to leave, I would take the call and help them with their issue. After all, it is still within my shift. My responsibilities are ensuring client retention and satisfaction, and refusing service will be a hit on the company."


Wrap Up

When answering questions about core values, focus on being professional, finding solutions, and continuously improving. By embracing these values, you increase your chances of getting hired and contributing to a positive work environment. Keep practicing your answers by using the tools and resources provided. Good luck with your next interview!


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