From the Desk of Paul:

There are probably a number of ways to use core values in the interview process that will improve your company’s ability to make hires that support the desirable company culture; however, I have been very satisfied with the results of our interview process over the past several years, so that’s what I will share with you.

For starters, we commit to doing an entire interview, conducted by our leadership team, that is dedicated to nothing but core values.  It is that important to us!  After an initial 30-minute telephone interview, we have the department head and an executive perform a second interview that really takes a deep-dive into skills and experience.  The third interview is the core values interview.  Now, don’t assume that we put a higher priority on skills and experience than core value alignment.  We order our interviews this way because the core value interview requires 4-5 executive team members.  We don’t want to invest that time for that many resources if the skills and experience are out in left field for the department head and executive conducting the skills and experience interview.

Each executive is assigned one of our five core values for the interview questions.  The executive will read the core value to the candidate and then ask, “What does this core value really mean to you?”  Hopefully the candidate will give a thoughtful response, but if not, then we have learned to further the dialog by responding with “How do you mean?” or “Tell me more about that.”  We would typically follow with a request for an example of when the candidate has actually lived that core value out in their own lives.   Finally, we would ask a series of questions for which the candidates responses will give us some additional insights as to whether the alignment really exists.  Here are some examples:

  • Value: Our work is our calling, and we love doing it together! Question: When you leave for the day, what makes you say, “today was a great day”?
  • Value: Care for and encourage others! Question: Your coworker makes a mistake during a project that you were overseeing, and you are held accountable for it. How do you address the problem with the person who made the mistake?
  • Value: Act with the “Golden Rule” in mind. Question: Tell me about a time you disagreed with your teammates. What happened?
  • Value: Have a voracious appetite for achievement. Question: What were some areas of development in your last feedback session? What did you think of that and what did you do to improve?
  • Value: Do the right thing. Question: Have you ever been put in a situation where doing the right thing would make you look bad? Tell me about how you handled it.

These are just some examples that may be helpful, but in summary, what is really important is that you actively incorporate core values into your interview process.  Equally important is that you craft some questions around each core value that will provide some insight as to the alignment of the candidate’s personal values to your company’s core values.  Your company will be who your company’s employees are.  As always, if you have questions or comments that you would like for me to address, please contact me at

Paul Meadows,