Integrity has become a necessary personal quality for hirable and promotable employees in the early 21st century. Following prominent business scandals at Enron, Healthsouth and Arthur Anderson, among others, employers want to hire employees who are committed to operating with utmost integrity. This is especially true in customer-facing industries and careers in business, selling and service.
"Discuss a time when your integrity was challenged and how you handled it," is an integrity-based interview question that most experts, including the Career Playbook website, agree is one you will likely hear if an employer wants to understand your integrity. This is a tricky question. The Career Playbook site suggests you share a moderate example of a simple time you were challenged. Show how you handled the situation maturely and with integrity. Avoid seeming like a whiner or accuser.
In its "Sample Interview Questions," the University of North Texas Human Resource Department presents the question "What would you do if someone asked you to do something unethical?" Most likely you would not say you would do what you were asked. One key is to pick an example that shows you understand what makes a request unethical. Then, your ability to show confidence handling this type of situation is important in showing your grounded value system.
Suffering a Loss
Another common integrity-based question offered by the University of North Texas is "Have you ever experienced a loss for doing what is right?" The interviewer is trying to determine whether your ethics are important enough to you to sacrifice something for the sake of integrity and honesty. In sharing your example, be genuine about a situation that was hard for you. Explain why you opted for integrity over personal gain, but avoid degrading colleagues in the process.
Important Ethical Dilemmas
"What do you think is the most important/difficult ethical dilemma facing corporations today?" is an ethics-centered question listed among the most difficult by AC People. With this question, your interviewer wants to see that you are up-to-date on ethics and aware of the importance of ethics in business. Sharing a hot button issue currently prominent in society and business shows that you spend time thinking about ethical dilemmas.
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.