Help for Employers in recruiting for values

Examples of interview questions

The Values-Based Recruitment Model is designed to help and support employers in recruiting for social care values.

Part of this process involves asking questions at job interviews that enable candidates to give examples of behaviours in their previous roles that demonstrate values in action.

Here are some examples of questions that you can ask to people coming in for different kinds of roles.

They include questions designed to help candidates returning to work, or who are just starting out and who haven’t been employed before.

These questions are not meant to be exhaustive: rather, they’re meant to act as a starting point, to prompt ideas about questions that would be meaningful for a particular role or service.

You may also find it helpful to refer to the Leadership Qualities Framework in identifying specific behaviours or areas that you would particularly like to ask candidates about.

Points to note:

Just because someone hasn’t had a paid role before, or hasn’t worked in care, doesn’t rule them out. Many candidates will have valuable “lived life” experiences.

So don’t just think about focusing on prior work experience, especially for entry-level job roles.

Ask candidates about other aspects of their lives that may well be relevant, such as bringing up children, acting as an unpaid carer, or working in voluntary roles.

And interviews can be stressful for people. To put candidates at ease, it can be helpful to use general, warm-up questions, such as ‘what attracts you to working in social care?’.

It can also be helpful, at the start of the process, to explain to a candidate that you are aware that they may not have worked in a paid position but that you are interested in their previous roles and experience and what this means for what they could bring to the role you are looking to fill.

If candidates ask, you can say that the sector is happy to take people without prior experience, but at the same time they will be expected to undertake a thorough induction and further development through training. One follow-on question would be to ask candidates how they felt about this.

It usually helps the candidate if the employer can encourage them to think about relevant examples of their experience that they can share, that will illustrate their values and behaviours. Some examples of questions designed to draw out people’s experiences are given below.

And it’s always best to ask questions in plain English rather than use sector-specific terminology such as ‘personalisation’ especially in entry-level roles.

Example questions:

General/introductory questions

What excites you about working in adult social care?

Why does this appeal to you?

What have you done to find out about working in the care sector?

What is the most surprising thing that you’ve learned?

What challenges do you think there would be?

What rewards do you think there would be?

What parts do you think you would most enjoy?

What interests you about our organisation in particular?

Why?

How did you become aware of us?

How do we compare to other organisations you have applied to?

What research have you done into the role?

Which parts of the role do you think you would enjoy the most?

What excites you about working as a (insert job role) and what sorts of things have you been doing that you think could help you become a good (insert job role)?

What do you think the best parts of this job would be?

What sorts of things do you think you would need help with to become a good (Insert Job Role)

Questions designed to demonstrate Integrity

Leadership Qualities Framework Dimension: Demonstrating personal qualities

Please give an example of a situation where you’ve spoken up because you had concerns.

What was the outcome?

How did you feel about making a stand and about the outcome?

If it was successful – why do you think it was successful?

If it was not successful – why do you think this was the case, and what would you do differently?

What did you learn from this about yourself?

Questions designed to demonstrate Courage

Leadership Qualities Framework Dimension: Improving Services

Can you give an example of where you’ve spoken up because you had concerns?

How did it feel to you?

What were the outcomes?

If it was a successful intervention – why do you think it was successful?

If it was not a successful intervention – why do you think this was the case, and what would you do differently?

What did you learn from this episode about yourself?

Can you give an example where someone in your organisation came to you with a concern?

How did it feel to you?

How did you respond?

For higher-level roles:

How did you instil a culture where it felt ‘safe to challenge?’

Questions designed to demonstrate Imagination

Leadership Qualities Framework Dimension: Improving Services

Please describe a situation where you have actively sought a dialogue with a service user and their family to improve the services they receive.

How did you go about doing this: what was involved?

What has happened in the past when you’ve been given feedback on services by a service user, around what they’d like to see change? How did you progress this?

How have you worked with your team to build continuous review and improvement into services?

Questions designed to demonstrate Adaptability

Leadership Qualities Framework Dimension: Working with Others

Could you give me an example of a time when you have had to work with people who have required different levels of support or assistance.

How did their needs differ?

How did you accommodate these differences?

What was the outcome?

What is important to you when caring for another person?

Why do you think it was important to them?

How does it make you feel when you hear about people being mis-treated and why do you think this happens sometimes?

What sorts of things do you think are important to try and stop this mistreatment?

How do you keep the focus of contribution on compassion?

Can you give an example of where your understanding of what another person may be going through has helped you to develop your compassion for that person?

Tell me about a situation where it was important that you worked as part of a team.

Why was this important?

What was your exact role in the team?

What was the result of having a team approach?

For higher-level roles:

What has been your experience of leading teams and what do you think are the key qualities for team leadership?

Can you give an example of team leadership/membership which, on reflection, you would have handled differently now? What would you do, and why?

How have you managed staff to support people to gain real control over their care and support? What do you think are the key qualities involved?

Questions designed to demonstrate Compassion

Leadership Qualities Framework Dimension: Working with Others

Tell me about a time when you have helped someone develop a plan to achieve their goals.

What was your role?

How did you contribute?

What was the outcome?

For higher-level roles:

Please give an example of how you’ve contributed to discussions about care and values to improve performance and provide more compassionate care.

How do you get the most compassionate care out of your team?

How do you keep the focus of contribution on compassion?

Can you give an example of where your empathy has enabled you to develop more compassionate care?

Questions designed to demonstrate Commitment

Leadership Qualities Framework Dimensions: Demonstrating personal qualities and Improving Services

Tell me about a time when you have “gone the extra mile” at work.

What was the task?

Why did you do that?

What was the outcome?

Describe to me a time when you have worked to a demanding & challenging target.

What was the result?

How did you work towards this?

Why do you think you were successful (if it was successful)?

What did you learn from this about yourself?

What did you enjoy about this situation?

What did you not like?

In this role you will need to work with the minimum of supervision. Describe a recent example which proves your ability to work independently in a proactive way.

What were the main challenges and obstacles you faced?

How did you motivate yourself?

What did you find most challenging & how did you overcome it?

What mistakes did you make & what have you learnt from them?

Can you give an example of when you have improved a process or way of working?

What was it?

What approach did you take?

Why did you adopt this approach?

What was the result?

What did you learn from this?

What would you do differently?