Creative Ways to Conduct Values-Based Interviewing

By December 14, 2017 August 2nd, 2019 Identifying Talent

Last Updated on August 2, 2019 by Dave Schoenbeck

A job interview is a lot like a first date: you’re sizing up the other person to see if they’re a good match for you in the long run. But since that’s the case, why do so many interviewers focus on questions that are already answered on the candidate’s resume?Values-based interviewing

Of course it’s a good idea to touch on an interviewee’s skills and relevant experience, but the main purpose of the interview should be to see what kind of a person they are and whether they would be a solid fit for your company. The next time you have to interview a potential hire, try using values-based interviewing techniques to get a better look at who they are.

What Is Values-Based Interviewing?

Values-based interviewing is the process of asking interview questions that get at the personally-held values of the candidate. These types of questions will help determine whether the candidate’s priorities match up with what you value in an employee, and I’ve found they are a much better indication of how the candidate will react to different situations in the workplace.

Think about what values are essential for a person in the position you’re trying to fill and ask interview questions that reveal whether the candidate tends to act according to those values. A few examples of values you might be looking for would be accountability, teamwork, leadership, or self-discipline.

Watch out for candidates who may say they value something but can’t provide evidence of having acted according to those values in the past, or candidates whose values seem to be unsuited for the position. For example, someone who values creativity and flexibility might not be the best fit for a repetitive job with minimal deviation in day-to-day tasks.

How to Incorporate Values-Based Interview Questions

It’s a good idea to open the interview with a few fundamental questions before launching into the deeper stuff. Once you’ve asked a few things about the candidate’s resume and experience, here are a few examples of values-based interview questions to use during your next job interview:

  • What are your firmly held beliefs?
  • How have you dealt with failure and disappointment in the past?
  • What traits in other people make you uncomfortable?
  • What traits in other people are attractive to you?
  • How have you demonstrated loyalty to your past employer?
  • How much independence do you need in your job?
  • When was the last time you demonstrated selflessness?
  • When are you at your very best?
  • Can you describe the last time you weren’t treated fairly at work?

I have found that the best way to start the value-based interview process is to ask them to think about the last time they worked on a group project. Then I have them tell me about the people that drove them crazy during that project and why. Conversely, I ask them who they respected and why. This will give you the boundaries of their values. From there, you can dig deeper using some of the questions listed above.

These thought-provoking value-based recruitment interview questions can’t be prepared for before the interview, so you’re more likely to receive accurate answers than by asking the age-old “what is your biggest weakness?” By asking questions that get at the heart of the candidate’s values, you’re far more likely to discover whether they would be a good fit for you and your company. Click here to get my list of the best behavioral questions for values-based interviews.


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Dave Schoenbeck
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