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And Also Identify Corporate Values or Team Values

Many companies already have a list of corporate values, and it is perfectly valid to undertake a values-based interview based upon these. 

However, sometimes corporate values were constructed at board level, rather than from the ground floor upwards, and often do not resonate with all staff. Design a Values Based Interview

As we’ve all seen at some point in our careers, corporate values are often agreed at board level as an exercise, something that they should be doing to be in line with other firms.  They are, therefore, not always corporate values that are ‘lived and breathed’ by the firm.

Also, your team may have to have a different mindset to that of the formal corporate values. For instance, a corporate value may be ‘calmness’, ‘selflessness’ or ‘serenity’, which are all perfectly valid, but the Sales Director may not want to hire too many of these traits into their team.

An excellent exercise to undertake before embarking on a values-based interview process is to firstly review your company values to see whether they resonate with yourself and your colleagues involved in the recruitment process. 

If they need ‘tweaking’ then it is worth ‘replacing’ one or a few of them with the following exercise.

If you feel that your corporate values are irrelevant to your team, then ‘replace them’ with this exercise.  I once worked for a large corporate where one of the five core foundation pillars of the firm was a word that no one could pronounce let alone define, comprehend or live by!

And of course, this exercise is particularly useful if you do not have formal corporate values.

How to Choose the Criteria for a Values-Based Interview

Together with at least one other team member, or someone else that is involved in your recruitment process, take a copy of the attached list of personal values and highlight the values that you each independently feel are the best fit.  The aim is to end with ideally five values so firstly ask everyone to identify seven values that they feel are required for this particular role. Preferably either cut them from this sheet, or each write them down on an index card or note card.  Making it visual helps to crystalise thought in this process and what I like to do is each write them on post it notes and stick onto flipchart paper.

Usually, at this point, some magic happens, and you will find that there is a synergy between the words that you’ve independently chosen.  While it’s rare to all choose exactly the same words but you’ll see some with definite links

Group these words together, and this is where the posit it notes work brilliantly, as you can push them all to different corners of the flipchart paper. 

In my experience of doing this with tens of hiring managers across many industry sectors, this is often the end of the task as the separate values are already in five separate themes of values.

To help crystallise the process, you can think of a word that sums up all of the words within these separate groups of collective words.  Aim to distil your list of words down to no more than six, ideally five values upon which to design your values-based interview against.

How to Create Values-Based Interview Questions

Let’s, for instance, say that you have chosen ‘teamwork’ as one of the necessary values. 

You may have heard of the STAR technique of asking questions, and for values-based interviews, I would develop this one stage further.  I call it the Ringo method (I am now showing my age!) as it is the STAR method, with an additional ‘R’, so STARR method.

S – Situation

T – Task

A – Action

R - Result

R - Reflection

So, going back to the value of ‘teamwork’ and applying this STARR method to formulate your questions:Ringo method

SITUATION - Tell us about a work situation where it was important that you worked as part of a team? (NB make it a work situation as ‘teamwork’ invariably evokes the time that they were 3-0 down at the half-time and won 4-3)

TASK – What was the team asked to achieve?

ACTION - In your view, what was the result of working together as a team?

RESULT – What happened as a result of working together in this team – what was the outcome?

REFLECTION – If we spoke to your colleagues in this team, what would they say about your role as a teamplayer in this project?

Click here for further examples of Values Based Interview Questions

As always when interviewing, it is good practise to ‘ladder’ your questions further.  For instance, once the candidate responded to the REFLECTION question you could ask ‘what did you learn from this experience?’ and ‘how has your behaviour within a team changed based upon this experience?’.  This allows the candidate to provide extra information enabling you to score more accurately against your Values Based Interview scoring criteria.

For a two page list of values click here

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