Values-based interview questions and sample answers

Updated 9 August 2023

The values of a company influence a range of factors, including the company's mission, employee conduct and important business decisions. Most companies prefer to recruit candidates that share their morals and values so they can help the business achieve its core goals. To ensure that potential employees share the same values as the company, an interviewer might ask candidates value-based questions. In this article, we discuss common values that influence the questions interviewers might ask.

Values-based interview questions and sample answers

Here are some examples of common values-based interview questions and example answers:

1. Compassion and empathy

Employers often prefer to hire employees who are compassionate and empathetic to others in the workplace. Whether you're showing empathy toward a colleague or a customer, this trait can make you an asset to the team. Employers may ask the following values-based interview questions to determine how compassionate you are both professionally and personally:

  • Can you give me an example of a time when you helped someone in need?

  • Why is helping others important to you?

  • Tell me about a time you showed compassion toward a colleague or a customer.

Here's an example of a good answer to an interview question about compassion and empathy:

Example: 'At my last job working as a retail sales assistant, a customer became ill inside the shop and collapsed. I immediately rang an ambulance and alerted my manager, who helped me get the customer into the recovery position. I stayed with her until the ambulance arrived. I showed patience and kindness toward her when she woke up, reassuring her that everything would be all right.'

Related: 71 good interview questions to ask candidates

2. Trustworthiness

Most companies want to hire trustworthy employees. Employers need to be able to rely on you to be honest, keep your commitments and demonstrate good follow-through. An employer could ask the following questions to see how trustworthy you are:

  • What would you do if you saw a colleague ignoring safety regulations?

  • Why do you think being trustworthy is an important quality to have?

  • Tell me about a time when you faced an ethical dilemma in the workplace.

Here's an example answer to an interview question about trustworthiness:

Example: 'When I worked at a department store, I witnessed a new recruit take a £10 note from the till and put it in her pocket. I politely took her to one side and told her I saw what happened and that she should put the money back. I told her I would have no choice but to go to our supervisor about the situation, which I did at the first opportunity.'

Related: What are interview questionnaires?

3. Teamwork

Skills such as compromising, accepting criticism and negotiating can help make you a good team member. Most positions require employees to cooperate and collaborate with others on at least some of their job responsibilities. An interviewer might ask any of the following questions about teamwork:

  • Why is it important to have a strong team in the workplace?

  • How do you manage working alongside a challenging colleague?

  • Tell me about a time when you contributed to a team's success in the workplace.

Here's an example of a good answer to an interview question about teamwork:

Example: 'At a former job working in sales, I was part of a team who had to give a presentation on suggestions for new sales techniques. We each had our allotted roles in the team and met at a set time every week to go over the project. The communication between all of us was fantastic, and our employer incorporated several of our suggestions.'

4. Accountability

Being accountable means taking responsibility for your words, actions and mistakes. Employers often look for this trait in a values-based interview because it shows your willingness to admit when you do something wrong. An employer may ask these or related questions about accountability:

  • How do you react to negative feedback?

  • Why should people take responsibility for the things they do wrong?

  • Tell me about a time when you made a mistake in the workplace and how you corrected it.

Here's an example of a good answer to an interview question about accountability:

Example: 'When I had just started at my last job, I got mixed up and accidentally sent an invoice to the wrong email address. I quickly realised my mistake and informed my manager straight away. She told me to email the mistaken customer and apologise for the mix-up, which I did without hesitation.'

Related: How to answer interview questions about previous experience

5. Quality

Prioritising quality means that you care about putting effort into your responsibilities, projects and tasks. Employers value employees who strive to provide high-quality work and service. Here are some examples of values-based interview questions about quality:

  • How have you maintained quality in a previous workplace?

  • Why is attention to detail and accuracy important to uphold in a job?

  • Tell me about a time when a colleague was not maintaining quality. What did you do?

Here's an example of a good answer to an interview question about quality:

Example: 'At a previous job as a retail sales assistant, one of my colleagues would often cut corners and leave jobs half-done for other staff members to finish. This colleague hardly ever did their job right and the shop floor always looked a mess when they were on shift. I politely reminded the individual about company policy and tried to motivate them to do the work, but they didn't listen. I then went to my supervisor and alerted them about the situation.'

Related: Soft skills interview questions and answers

6. Leadership

Employers value strong leaders in the workplace, as they can increase staff productivity and ensure the team meets their goals. Some leadership qualities include being a role model to other team members, offering guidance to people who need help and accepting roles that require a lot of responsibility. An employer may ask the following questions in a values-based interview to gauge whether you are a good leader:

  • Tell me about a time when you successfully led a team.

  • Why is strong leadership essential in the workplace?

  • What are the traits that make you an excellent leader?

Here's an example of a good answer to an interview question about leadership:

Example: 'I believe I have many qualities that make me a strong leader. First, I have confidence in my decisions and my ability to delegate different roles and responsibilities to a team. I can take accountability for any failures that may arise and I have strong communication skills. I'm also an empathetic and kind person who cares about other people. I strive to be a leader that people admire, respect and feel comfortable around.'

Related: How to answer the question ‘what motivates you?’ during an interview

7. Innovation

Many employers look for candidates with creative skills and innovative ideas. These are valuable assets in an employee for a range of companies, particularly startup companies focusing on sales. An interviewer might ask any of these questions in a values-based interview about innovation:

  • What are some products on the market that you consider the most innovative and why?

  • Tell me about a time when the usual methods didn't fix an issue. What did you do?

  • Are there any new ideas you have introduced to a previous workplace? What are they?

Here's an example of a good answer to an interview question about innovation:

Example: 'In my sales job, I came up with an employee benefits scheme for the most successful sellers who consistently met targets. I went to my manager with the idea. Together we came up with a plan to deliver a generous yet cost-effective scheme which encouraged team members to work harder to achieve sales.'

Related: Interview question: ‘what are your strengths and weaknesses?'

8. Social and environmental responsibility

Social and environmental responsibility is becoming a more important value to have in the workplace. Most companies want to hire employees who share the same values. Interview questions to determine this may include:

  • Why is social and environmental responsibility important to you?

  • How can our company be more socially and environmentally responsible?

  • In what ways have you demonstrated social and environmental responsibility?

Here's an example of a good answer to an interview question about social and environmental responsibility:

Example: 'I try to be as socially and environmentally responsible as I can. I've cut out single-use plastic bags, buy more environmentally friendly products and recycle as much as possible.'


  • 5 strategic interview questions to ask candidates (And tips)

  • 9 sample diversity interview questions and answers

  • 44 stocker interview questions (With example answers)


Related articles

What Are Competency-Based Interview Questions?

Explore more articles

  • How to write a site engineer CV (with template and example)
  • How to write a prison officer cover letter (with example)
  • How to write a public relations CV (template and example)
  • How to Write an 'About Me' Section on Your CV (With Steps)
  • Recruitment email templates and examples (With steps)
  • How to write an HR business partner CV (with example)
  • Catering Assistant CV Skills to Showcase with Examples
  • How to end a cover letter
  • How to write a sports therapist CV (with template)
  • How to write a supermarket cashier cover letter (with tips)
  • CV profile examples (with definition, elements and benefits)
  • Problem-solving skills for CVs: importance and how to include