How to Answer Interview Questions About Integrity

Integrity is an essential attribute that employers look for in candidates during and after the hiring process. You need integrity and a strong moral standing to relate to coworkers and clients. Knowing the common integrity interview questions that hiring managers ask can present you as the best candidate for the role. In this article, you can learn how to answer integrity interview questions to improve your chances of getting hired. 

Why interviewers ask questions about integrity

Integrity is an important virtue in an employee. Employers want to hire candidates who not only have the experience and skills to excel in their role but also have the moral standing to represent their company. 

Interviewers use questions about integrity to test your strength of character and honesty. They use it to identify people they can trust with their customers and business secrets. This makes it imperative to prepare yourself for potential questions that hiring managers may use to determine your suitability for their company’s culture.

Common integrity interview questions

Answering integrity-related interview questions requires adequate preparation. While talking with the interviewer, it is important to illustrate your answers with relevant real-life experiences. 

Here are examples of integrity interview questions and tips:

Describe a time when your integrity was challenged

Employers value honesty and use this question to gauge your moral standards. They want you to describe situations where you didn’t abuse your powers. 

In your response, demonstrate the skills you used to handle the situation while protecting your integrity and the company’s reputation. A great answer can mention the use of your interpersonal skills, negotiating tactics and conflict resolution skills. 

Example: ‘There was a time when a difficult client wanted me to help their business move unregistered cigars with company vehicles. He knew we had higher security clearance and state troopers don’t stop our truckers for random searches. But, I refused despite the potential risk posed by my decision. I explained to the client that in-house security will find out about the issue and it will lead to serious problems for everybody.’

Can you describe a scenario where you maintained confidentiality in the face of pressure?

Hiring managers use this question to test your commitment to confidentiality with work-related matters. If you work in the medical, legal and education industry, confidentiality is an important part of the job. Employers want to know you can be discreet with the private information of clients and trade secrets. 

Showing a high level of confidentiality presents you as a person of impeccable character and this should reflect in your answer. Give your response more significance with a description of a real-life situation where you didn’t divulge sensitive information even under immense pressure. 

Example: ‘I used to work as a paramedic at the general hospital and many of our emergency patients were celebrities. Despite the intense pressure, I never shared private information with journalists.’

Describe a time when you experienced a loss for doing the right thing. Why did you make the decision?

This question tests your ethics and strength of character. In some professions, it is better to make the right judgment and lose revenue than break the law for monetary gain. Employers want to be sure they can trust you to make the right decisions on their behalf. 

In your answer, demonstrate soft skills such as honesty, leadership, empathy and strategic thinking. Highlight experiences relevant to the position that you are applying for. 

Example: ‘I negotiated a huge contract on behalf of my company some time ago. We were supposed to deliver a processing plant for a big agricultural firm. However, we later discovered the plant will discharge its waste into a river that supplied drinking water to a town downstream instead of investing in its own stabilization complex. This did not align with my company’s ethos so I called off the contract. My organization commended me for the decision even though we couldn’t complete the order.’

Have you ever faced an ethical dilemma while doing your work? How did you resolve the situation?

Companies have guidelines and policies that help employees resolve ethical issues. Hiring managers use this question to test your ability to follow strict procedures and use your initiative. A good answer will demonstrate your ethical behavior, adherence to company policy and interpersonal and dispute resolution skills. 

Example: ‘During my time at the sheriff’s department, my partner and I were on patrol one night when we came across a bundle on the roadside. We discovered the parcel contained $300,000 in cash and drugs. My partner wanted us to keep the money for ourselves but I declined. I told him to report the cash and drugs to the department otherwise I will report him for misconduct. That decision led to the arrest of the drug peddler, reduced drug use in our community and endeared the police to the people.’

What would you do if you witnessed a coworker commit an illegal act?

This integrity interview question tests your moral character but also involves using initiative. Employers value candidates who don’t allow personal relationships to prevent them from making the right decision if they witness another employee break company rules. This is a critical attribute for people who work in high-trust environments, such as healthcare, law enforcement, finance, investment, public service and others. 

In your response, demonstrate honesty, leadership, loyalty and professionalism. Mention you will report the colleague to higher authorities for appropriate disciplinary action to deter others and protect the company’s reputation.

Example: ‘During my time as the head cashier at a retailer, I discovered a junior staff member was stealing clothes in the clearance section. There were no cameras in that area and she used a backdoor to take the items out of the store unnoticed. When I found out, she begged me not to call security and used her son’s health to justify her bad behavior. I understood her plight but stealing your employer’s property is wrong.’