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What Does Integrity Mean To You?: Why It Is Asked & How To Answer [With Sample Answers]

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Interviews can be quite intimidating to people who struggle to open up about themselves.

When you’re faced with a personal question that reveals a lot about your character, it might feel like a spotlight is being directed right at you.

One of the most common personal questions interviewers like to ask is, “what does integrity mean to you?”

If you find yourself faced with this query, don’t panic. If you can find the intent behind this question, you will be able to answer this question with confidence.

Why Do Interviewers Ask, “What Does Integrity Mean To You?”

When an employer asks what integrity means to you, it’s a good sign that they seek out employees with high values and standards for their work ethic.

Talent and skill are helpful in a work environment, but they aren’t the only assets you need.

Essentially, the employer wants to know if you have a good understanding of the basic right and wrong behaviors in the environment.

The tricky part is that every workplace is different, which means your integrity could change depending on which role you are in or the type of work that you do.

Here are a few examples of integrity:

  • Returning anything you find to the lost and found.
  • Cleaning up after yourself and ensuring that the environment looks as good or better than when you arrived.
  • Refusing to give out the personal information of any coworker to someone you don’t know.
  • Letting an authority figure know if you witness racism, sexism, or any other discriminatory or dangerous behavior.
  • Using your time wisely and not taking advantage of company, resources, property, or work hours.

For example, integrity while working in a grocery store will look different than if you work closely with medical files. In some cases, confidentiality may not be appropriate. In others, giving information away is unadvisable or even illegal.

Good employers don’t want to micromanage their teams. They want to count on you to do the right thing when no one is looking and always to ask questions if you feel unsure.

How To Answer “What Does Integrity Mean To You?

As with any interview question, you don’t want to look like you memorized all of your answers off a page, but a little preparation never hurts.

There are a few things you can do to help make answering this question easier.

One of the most important steps before ever arriving at your interview is to research the company you’re interviewing for.

This is critical to answering almost any question in a way that will make you look valuable, including personal ones.

Example Answers To Consider

Although it is crucial to refrain from plagiarizing anyone’s answer to this question, looking over a few simple answers can help give you a more specific idea of what to focus on.

Remember, you want to give the employer the idea that you have the company’s best interest at heart.

Example 1

“In my experience, integrity boils down to doing the right thing no matter who witnesses it. That could mean standing up for others or choosing what is moral, even if I have no audience.

As a mother of two, I have had plenty of opportunities to demonstrate integrity to my children. I always do my best to speak the truth and make amends if I am wrong.

Integrity is the strong glue that holds any team together, from the workplace to the home. I expect a high sense of integrity from myself and my coworkers.”

Why this answer works

Experience comes in many shapes and forms.

Some may not have had the opportunity to establish an abundance of professional experience. But that doesn’t mean you can’t draw on what you know from your personal life.

Employers like to see that you can use critical thinking and problem-solving skills to address challenges in the workplace.

The good news is this skill isn’t solely developed during work hours. If you have integrity outside of the workplace, chances are you’ll also have it inside, so don’t be shy about mentioning it.

Example 2

“To me, integrity is all about taking responsibility for your actions. It’s about recognizing that you always have a choice to make, and your choices impact others.

Individual integrity highly impacts environmental preservation, so you could say it’s why I went into the field. If each person makes a conscious effort, change for the better will come naturally.

Spreading this kind of awareness is crucial, so I want to work for a company that places integrity at the top of its list of qualifications.”

Why this answer works

You should take it whenever you get the opportunity to relate a question back to your field. Not only does this demonstrate your previous experience, but it also highlights your passion for the work.

Employers like to know why you think you would be a good fit for a given position. Your passion should be important to you, and you should have developed both soft and hard skills pursuing it.

An answer like this can let the employer know that you believe in what you’re doing and have given it a generous amount of thought and study.

Example 3

“Integrity is the essential backbone that makes any company effective. What would be the point of hiring employees if company owners and CEOs can’t count on them to help run the day-to-day operations?

Choosing to show up every day and do your best for your company can ultimately determine the business’s success. This drive usually comes from a sense of pride and loyalty to the company’s mission, and I’m so glad to say that our goals align.

I have always admired what this company stands for, which would make it easy to foster a strong sense of integrity within the workplace.”

Why this answer works

An interview is essentially a company’s first impression of you, so coming in with high moral values is a great way to start. Strong convictions are a form of integrity in themselves.

Not only does this answer insist that you believe in integrity as a part of a strong work ethic, but it also suggests you believe the company holds these high values as well.

Flattery can be over the top, but being genuinely complementary isn’t something to shy away from. It lets them know that you are interested in more than just a paycheck and won’t sell yourself short.

Additional Tips for Impressing an Interviewer Asking What Does Integrity Mean To You?

Personal questions like these often carry more weight than other, more generic questions regarding your qualifications or experience.

Here are a few additional tips to give your answer some substance and help you stand out.

Give Real-World Examples

Although you don’t want to come off as a braggart, try to have some real-world examples in your back pocket of scenarios in which you applied your integrity.

This will help the employer realize that you truly understand the question, as well as help build your credibility.

Be Confident in Your Standards

Before you go into the interview, you must establish your own standards. Expecting your company to behave like a reputable business is fine.

The right employer will seek out employees that want to be team players. Try to avoid being vague and state your specific expectations with honesty.

Have Some References Handy

You don’t want to try to drop names on the potential employer, but it is always useful to have some references handy.

If you have a specific story of a time that you stood out as a role model, ask any coworkers or witnesses to the event for a reference. This action will help back up your claim.

Offer Ideas

Many companies really enjoy candidates that come in with a good sense of how the company already works. If you have ideas ready that can help the company reach its goals regarding integrity, share them.

You may know some practices or policies that worked for other teams in the past that would apply well to the current setting.

Your potential employer will appreciate your enthusiasm and knowledge of how these ideas will fit into the current culture.

Mention a Role Model

A great way to avoid appearing boastful is to mention someone you look up to. Maybe you have a story of a teacher, parent, or other figure that taught you a great lesson about integrity.

This lets the interviewer know that you are open to learning experiences and surround yourself with positive influences.

Additional Questions to Be Aware Of

You might get asked plenty of questions during an interview, but several arise more often than others. Before sitting down, here are a few additional questions to be aware of.

  • What does customer service mean to you? The question, “What does customer service mean to you?” is often asked to gauge whether or not you consider customer interactions crucial to the business.
  • Which one would you choose? “Which one would you choose?” questions are typically presented so that the interviewer can get an idea of your personality type and your ability to adapt, depending on the situation.
  • How do you handle stress? If an employer asks you, “How do you handle stress?” they likely want to get an idea of whether or not you have a plan in place to address overwhelming situations.
  • Tell me about a time you made a mistake: “Tell me about a time you made a mistake,” is an important question the interviewer asks to determine your level of honesty and self-awareness.
  • Tell me about a time you failed: Failure happens to everyone, so an employer might ask you, “Tell me about a time you failed.” This question tests your resilience and optimism in the face of adversity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the question, “what does integrity mean to you?” still feel intimidating? If so, you’re not alone. Here are some frequently asked questions regarding this query.

What is integrity, in simple words?

Having a good sense of integrity can take years to develop. Put most plainly, though, integrity is doing the right thing every time you have a choice.

What is a good example of integrity at work?

There are all sorts of opportunities to demonstrate integrity at work. Even simple gestures can have a massive impact on how employers view you.

You don’t have to go above and beyond to have this impact, either. Simple gestures like clocking out on time if you’re not supposed to take overtime is an easy way to respect a company’s boundaries.

A good employer will notice your sense of responsibility.

Wrapping Up

What does integrity mean to you? This question deserves some thought before you give an answer. Having a good sense of integrity can give you a significant advantage over other employees on the market.

Any good job can be spoiled by an employee who doesn’t value integrity, so brush up on it before you arrive.

And remember, if you are faced with this question in an interview, take a deep breath and give your honest view on the matter. If nothing else, you can leave them with the impression of your sense of value.

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