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Behavioral Interviewing Guide: Understanding Core Values

How to understand your team's core values

Identifying Your Team's Core Values

Core values are the deeply ingrained principles that guide everything you do and create alignment within your team.

Before you begin the interview process, meet with your team to identify three core values that all members of your team should possess regardless of their role or years on the job. Most likely, someone without these qualities would not succeed on your team.

Tips for identifying core values:

  • Develop your values together: Include everyone on your team when identifying your core values so that you can tap into the values currently held by team members and uncover the values that are not already present on your team.
  • Provide team members the opportunity to reflect and contribute thoughtfully: Give people the opportunity to thoughtfully reflect on the values that are important to them and provide them with a list of probing questions to assist in their reflection.
  • Gather ideas and then work together to organize them: Sit down as a team and list out all the potential values on a whiteboard and provide members time to select the values that best speak to them.
  • Collaboratively identify values that are most important: Work together as a team to identify what the group collectively values.
  • Discuss team interpretation of values: Once you have developed a list of possible values, each team member should discuss how they interpret each value and how each one can be applied at work. These questions can help get the conversation started:
    • What does this value mean to us?
    • What does it look like in action?
    • How might it be misinterpreted?
    • How will we evaluate adherence to it?
    • How will it change our relationships or our interactions?
  • Integrate chosen values: Posting values in a visible area is a great start but it's not enough. It's important to identify changes and processes needed to implement and support the integration of your chosen values. Bring your team together one more time to draft a plan for integrating your values and look for ways that you can integrate them into your hiring and selection process so that new team members have an easier transition when brought onboard.

Examples of Core Values:

Accessible – Visible on campus and welcoming

Analytic Ability – Able to collect, gather and analyze information

Autonomous – Act independently

Collaborative - Partners with others to meet a common goal

Daring – Take calculated risks

Diligent – Careful and persistent

Empathetic – Tuned in to the feelings of others

Flexible – Able to transition quickly to new priorities

Goal oriented – Focused on a specific objective

Innovative – Bring new ideas to life

Inquisitive – Eager to learn more

Integrity – Honest and with strong moral principles

Methodical – Systematic, careful in planning and completing projects

Meticulous – Focused on detailed work

Passionate – Focused and excited about our field

Service oriented – Provide top-level service to others

Tenacious - Goal-oriented and driven