I’ve applied for a project management role, and the employer wants to conduct a “values-based interview.” How should I prepare?
Values-based interviews (VBI) tend to be used by organizations focused less on the bottom line and more on public service, such as not-for-profits. At these organizations, how an employee behaves at work is equally important as his or her ability to do the job. A VBI helps an employer understand a candidate’s motives, attitudes and values.
To prepare, first research the organization’s values and beliefs. Go beyond any information the company may have provided you. Search the Internet for news articles on recent projects that display your potential employer’s values. Check your own network for contacts with links to employees, and make a polite approach to discover more about what the organization stands for.
Then think about how its values and beliefs align with yours. For example, the organization may cite as a core value “accountability” and define it: “We accept our team responsibilities and strive to meet our commitment to the community.”
Recall your own projects that demonstrated “accountability”—in your terms and the organization’s definition. You may have a set of metrics that illustrate how a previous project helped the community. Show off that data in the interview. This will help the organization determine if you fit culturally—and demonstrate that you’re a project practitioner who can calculate a project’s benefits beyond the bottom line.
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