Interview Question: “What Does Integrity Mean to You?”

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published September 29, 2021

Integrity is a character trait that motivates people to act morally or honestly in their work and personal lives. When you're interviewing for a position, a hiring manager might ask you about your definition of integrity because it's a key professional value in many workplaces. Preparing for questions about your work ethic and values, including integrity, can help you answer these questions confidently and make a good impression in your interview. In this article, we explain why employers ask, "What does integrity mean to you?" and how to answer this question effectively, with example answers to guide you.

Why employers ask "What does integrity mean to you?"

An employer might ask you about your integrity as a general interview question or while discussing the role's requirements. Here are some reasons a hiring manager might ask you to define integrity in your own words:

To get to know you

By asking you about an important professional quality like integrity, a hiring manager can learn about your work ethic and beliefs. It can also give them insight into your professional goals and development. Since integrity is a key leadership quality, defining it effectively can show the hiring manager that you're a strong candidate with leadership potential.

Related: Interview Question: "How Would You Describe Yourself?" (With Examples)

To measure your skills for the role

A hiring manager might ask you about your definition of integrity to understand how you might approach your tasks in your desired position. While integrity can be a valuable trait for many professionals, it may be vital in jobs where you handle sensitive information or make decisions that affect the wellbeing of others. For example, if you work in the financial field, having integrity can be key to your success in protecting your client's financial information and giving them expert advice.

Related: Guide to Professionalism in the Workplace

To understand how you might suit the organization's values

Hiring managers might prefer candidates whose professional ethics align with the company's mission statement or brand values. Hiring candidates whose values match that of the organization's leadership can help ensure productivity and workplace satisfaction. If one of the organization's key values is integrity, it may be important to hear your perspective on integrity to ensure you're a good fit.

How to answer "What does integrity mean to you?"

Here are some steps you can take to prepare to answer this question in an interview:

1. Research the company

Before your interview, read the company's mission statement to understand their values and learn what's important to the organization. You can usually find a company's values or mission statement on its website or social media accounts. If the mission statement uses certain language to describe their commitment to integrity, you can incorporate that language into your interview responses to show that you're a good fit for the organization. You can also highlight the company's commitment to integrity as a reason you're interested in working there.

Related: How To Prepare for an Interview

2. Relate integrity to the job description

By describing how you plan to act with integrity in the position, you can show a hiring manager that you understand the job requirements and how you might perform them honestly. While integrity generally means acting with honesty, individual positions might have different ways of showing integrity. For example, if you're applying for a position in child care, having integrity might involve teaching children the importance of honesty, modeling your values in your behavior towards fellow teachers or respecting the parents' wishes for their children's diet and activities when you are in charge.

Related: 5 Situational Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

3. Give a specific example from your prior work experience

Using specific examples in your interview question responses can help you demonstrate your qualifications and show the hiring manager how your prior experience has helped you develop key skills. Before your interview, you might reflect on your prior work experiences and select key events that allowed you to show integrity or other important professional traits. To create an effective response, consider using the STAR method:

  1. Provide context for the situation.

  2. Describe the task.

  3. Explain your actions.

  4. List the results.

Related: How To Use the STAR Interview Response Technique

Example answers to the question "What does integrity mean to you?"

Here are some ways you can incorporate your experience and qualifications into your response to this question:

Example 1

"To me, integrity means always acting honestly. Integrity is very important in software programming because you often work in a team, and you have to be honest with your teammates, manager and clients to create the best product possible. It also helps you build a better working relationship.

"For example, in my last position, my teammate designed a new function for a project I was leading, but my manager thought I had designed it. Even though it was my project, I felt it was important to make sure my teammate got the credit he deserved for his development, so I corrected my manager and made sure my teammate got his recognition. This made our working relationship a lot stronger and our next project was even better."

Example 2

"Integrity means doing the right thing, even if no one else is there to notice. I believe that you have to have integrity to be a good nurse because you're often the first person to see a patient in the morning and the last one to see them at night. It's your responsibility to make sure your patient gets the best care possible.

"In my last job, I sometimes substituted for the head unit nurse if she was unavailable. Whenever I was in charge, I made sure to run the unit just like she would and kept rigorous notes for when she came back. She always knew she could trust me because I showed integrity in everything I did."

Example 3

"I believe integrity means to act according to your beliefs at all times. Integrity is one of the most important values in my professional career, and it's essential for an operations director because we often manage budgets and other people's jobs. In my last role, I worked for a growing company as their operations and office manager, and it was my responsibility to ensure the company's business licenses and all other paperwork were correct. I also had control over my own budget, which I administered fairly and honestly."

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