Integrity is something we struggle to recognize in others, and find hard to define. All companies want to hire honest people with strong moral principles. But sometimes they aren’t exactly sure what it means to have strong moral principles, or how they can find such people, how to assess the level of someone’s integrity while interviewing them for a job.
Interview questions about integrity do not always make sense, at least in the majority of job interviews. Because it is sometimes hard to interpret the answers of job applicants. What’s more, the fact that someone can define integrity does not guarantee that they have the quality. But you may get this question often, just because asking strange questions is a fancy practice in today’s recruitment.
Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers to the question. Do not forget to read also the notes below the answers, as they will help you to understand which answer to choose for your interview, or how to construct your ideal answer…
7 sample answers to “What does integrity mean to you?” interview question
- For me it means to do the right thing, always. Not the best thing for my well-being or personal profit, but the best thing for the entire community, environment, human society. That’s how I approach all important decisions in my life. And though it isn’t always easy to overcome my selfishness, I try to do what I can.
- More than anything else, it means being honest. Surely we all play our games and roles. We often say things other people want to hear, instead of telling them things that would actually help them, things that we should say in a given moment. In my opinion, it is a constant battle to remain a man of integrity. Because many people do not care about any moral principles and the well-being of others, and they can easily have a negative impact on you, and you may fall to their moral level. But I will continue fighting my good fight, trying to have integrity.
- It means a lot of things to me. Being able to admit when I am wrong, showing respect to people–regardless of their race, religion, position, praising my colleagues for their good work, taking responsibility for my actions. I definitely have to improve on each of these traits, and that’s what I am trying to do.
- Integrity is something I’d like to achieve in my team. If we really work as a team, and are unified in our actions and goals, if people cooperate with each other instead of competing, we will achieve amazing results. I have an experience with leading such a team in one of my last jobs, and it is something I’d like to achieve working for you as well. It’s not an easy task, and as a leader I have to show integrity first, before expecting it from my people.
- I cannot really define it, but I think I can talk about an example that demonstrates it clearly. In my last job of a logistics manager I was offered certain benefits from one of our potential suppliers. It wasn’t really a bribe, but they promised certain advantages, discounts, things I could benefit a lot from in my personal life. But their offer for our company was the second best. The price wasn’t good, though it was within my budget to order from them. What I did? I chose another supplier, one that did not offer me anything, but had the best offer for the company. I believe I demonstrated integrity in my behavior.
- More than anything else, it is something I am looking for in my new employment. My last place of work was full of gossips and pointless internal conflicts between different departments and teams. It led to poor performance, bu, more importantly, it caused a terrible atmosphere in the workplace. All moral principles fell apart, and colleagues suddenly became competitors, doing strange things to each other. It is the main reason why I decided to quit my job, and why I apply for the job with you. I read reviews of your existing employees, and got an impression that integrity rules this place.
- To me it means being myself, and sticking to my values and principles, regardless of circumstances or expectations of other people. It can often be difficult, and my conduct or opinions may be misunderstood by the others. But I refuse to play some stupid games, or to bent like a leaf in a wind. I want to stick to my values, even though I may sometimes pay a price, missing an opportunity for promotion or for a raise, because of my integrity. But money has never been the most important thing to me, and it never will.
Show integrity with the way you answer the question
Integrity has definitely something to do with honesty. And, speaking honestly, none of us is perfect. We have our temptations, and we sometimes break the rules. Because we are human beings, not Gods.
Check sample answers no. 1, no. 3, or no.4 . In all these instances, the job applicants consider integrity as a goal they try to achieve, as a battle they continue fighting. It is not something you gain once and have forever. Admit your weaknesses and imperfections in your answer. That’s a sign that you have some integrity in you…
* Special Tip: This isn’t the only difficult question you will face while interviewing for any decent job. You will face questions about prioritization, dealing with pressure, dealing with ambiguity, and other situations that happen in every workplace. If you want to make sure that you stand out with your answers and outclass your competitors, have a look at our Interview Success Package. Up to 10 premium answers to 31 tricky scenario based questions (+ more) will make your life much easier in the interviews. Thank you for checking it out!
You can have integrity, or you can seek it
In my opinion, integrity is something that is missing in most teams and companies. And you likely have the same experience. Most people need drama in their lives, and if there is not one in the workplace, they will create it with their machinations, playing their little games.
There is nothing wrong in seeking integrity in your new job. More often than not you will end up disappointed, but it is a nice aspiration in an interview.
When you opt for this answer (see sample answer no. 6 as an example) you should add that also you want to play your part of building a culture of integrity and collaboration in the workplace. Because integrity is something that you either help to build or to destroy. You can’t stand somewhere in the middle, you can’t be a mere observer.
Ensure the interviewers that you seek integrity, and will do your best to promote it in the workplace, with all your words and actions.
Do not be afraid of being philosophical
If they ask you a fancy question in an interview (sometimes not really knowing what they are doing), do not hesitate to give them a fancy answer.
Challenge them intellectually. Make them think. Say something other people will not say. You can doubt integrity, you can even dismiss it, you can call it an illusion or an unreachable ideal.
It is often difficult to stand out in an interview, especially when we apply for some entry level job and compete with dozens of other job seekers with similar background. A philosophical or unorthodox answer can be your way of standing out. Say something they will remember long after the end of the interviews. When they remember your answers, it means that they remember you…
Ready to answer this one? Check also 7 sample answers to other tricky interview questions:
- Interview Success Package – Premium answers to all 104 interview questions. Learn something you’re competitors won’t know, and stand out in your interview.
- Tell me about a time you disagreed with your boss.
- What is your greatest professional achievement?