What’s the point of Company Values?

Written By Liz Thornhill

Liz has worked in recruitment since 2001 and regularly writes articles addressing recruitment and staffing issues in relevant publications.

Company Values and Recruitment

I was talking to a friend earlier about values at work. Are they are essential or just something that people, and companies, pay lip service to. Before that is even considered, let’s look at what values actually are. Things like teamwork, focus, partnerships – strengths or values?

What Are Company Values?

Values are the unwavering principles that serve as the guiding force for your moral compass, remain steadfast over time, showing a clear insight into your character.

In contrast to behaviors, (often the focal point of interviews,) values are consistent and offer a much deeper understanding of a person’s essence.

Why Do Company Values Matter In The Interview Process

People struggle with change. Changing themselves is even harder. Even when you really want to change, motivation often isn’t enough. So you immediately have something, providing you can assess it effectively, that gives you a good indicator into what a person’s true self is.

And we don’t always see the true self at interview. What with nerves and the desire to impress. A bit like dating; you hide your red flags at this early stage.

Interviews that revolve around the evaluation of past behaviors, do so because of the assumption that past actions predict future conduct. While there is merit to this belief, it doesn’t always hold true. Core values and principles usually endure.

Would You Rather?

  • Employ someone technically perfect, but who doesn’t fit into the team and causes friction
  • OR
  • Employ someone who is 75% there and can be trained, and a great team fit?

I recruit for fit. It goes without saying that my candidates can do the job that I’m talking to them about. So will 50% of people who apply for adverts. But none of that tells you about fit.

Examples Of Personal Values At Work

Try and remember a time in a previous job where external factors, such as a personal loss, temporarily affected your focus and commitment. Despite these challenges, did your fundamental values change? Were you still honest, kind, and effective in communication? Exploring these aspects can uncover the enduring traits that shape your character.

How Can We Assess Values At Interview?

Firstly by recognising what value identification can and can’t do. It can’t offer insights into practical skills and job performance. It can provide a more holistic understanding of an individual’s potential long-term fit within an organisation.

The challenge lies in finding effective ways to assess these intrinsic values. While evaluating past behaviors and work achievements is more easy to quantify, let’s not take the easy option.
Quality is about improving processes and ensuring that interviews achieve what you set out to do. And what’s needed is a shift in perspective and a recognition of the importance of identifying core values.

How Do You Discover Your Personal Values?

Identifying your values involves reflecting on the factors that have consistently shaped you over time. For instance, my core value is integrity, acknowledging that while absolute honesty may not always be practical, preserving feelings and exercising tact can be equally important.

To uncover your values, it’s essential to scrutinise what has consistently shaped you and what has remained unchanged. These enduring principles act as the bedrock of your identity, influencing how you navigate professional and personal challenges.

Understanding yourself, human behaviour, and resistant to change, puts you one step ahead in the interview process. Regardless of which side of the desk you’re sat at.

In Conclusion, Company Values Set With Integrity Are Essential

Despite the potential for misuse by some individuals and companies, values remain integral to understanding an individual’s character or a company.

The key is to redefine their role in the evaluation process and emphasise their importance in determining the cultural fit and long-term potential of a candidate.

By doing so, we shift the focus from skills and experiences to a much greater understanding of individuals, fostering a workplace culture where company and personal values align.