Integrity is the most important attribute to hire for. Someone who believes the same is Warren Buffett. While hiring talent, he makes sure to look for integrity, energy and initiative. If someone has to choose between those three attributes, he or she should go for integrity. One of the benefits of that approach is to minimize future behavioral risks, while being able to trust people. Warren Buffett suggests seven questions to test professionals during their interview:
1. Tell me about a specific time when you had to handle a tough problem that challenged fairness or ethical issues. What happened and how did you respond?
2. When was the last time you “broke the rules”? What was the situation and what did you do?
3. Describe a situation where you saw an employee or coworker do something you thought was inappropriate. What did you do?
4. When working with people, how would you describe your preferred relationship with them? (Use this question to assess honesty and the capacity for open communication, a clear hallmark of integrity.)
5. What values do you appreciate the most in a team environment? (Use this question to look for other trustworthy traits, like honesty, fairness, openness, transparency, and inclusiveness–all hallmarks of integrity.)
6. If we ever got into a bind with a client, would you be willing to tell a little lie to help us out? (This is a “trick question” to drill down to a person’s core values. Anyone operating with integrity will raise a red flag and object to the question. You can explain your motive for asking it later, once you determine the individual has passed the lie test).
7. What would your current/past manager say makes you most valuable to them? (Besides intelligence, skills, and qualifications for the job, listen for clues that point to integrity.)