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Assessing the candidate: Integrity




I like to get off of behavioral questions for a minute and get the candidate comfortable again by asking one of the usual, “I see you were at such and such company for so many years, why did you leave that company?” but this is only so that I can eventually ask, “What was the biggest ethical dilemma that you have faced at work?”  I love this question because I really need honest, ethical people working for me.

If they say they have never faced an ethical dilemma, that can mean they are naïve, inexperienced, or their moral compass doesn’t point due north.  The information I’m looking for actually lies in the “A” (actions) of the answer.  What action, if any, did they take?  Why?  Seeing the dilemma is a good sign, but acting on it is an even better one.  There’s a whole valley between seeing that something is wrong and taking the initiative to make it right.  When you delve into the “R” (results) part of the answer you will find out just how far north that moral compass points.  Would they do it again?  Even if there was a consequence to the action?  Or do they value their job or peer perceptions more than doing the right thing?

The right answer is the one that best fits your candidate needs. Be sure to know it long before the interview begins so you are constantly assessing their fit.


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