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This is the fourth article in our series that looks at tricky interview questions and how to tackle them…

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This is the fourth and final article in our series that looks at tricky interview questions and how to tackle them.

If you haven’t read the other three then take a look at how to answer the questions ‘What is your biggest weakness?’, ‘What is your most significant achievement?’ and ‘What Motivates you?’  Often tricky questions are designed to provide an interviewer with more information about you than the simple answer to the question. We show you how to tackle the next tricky question.

This is a very tricky one: ‘Give me an example of when you faced an ethical dilemma.’

When you are asked a question about an ethical dilemma you’ve faced, you need to show your honesty and integrity. You also need to support this with your approach to analysing and resolving problems. Workplace dilemmas are usually grey areas where there are trade-offs between a good deal for the company and a good deal for their client. Other grey areas might include being ambitious and stepping on other people’s toes. It might include brokering a deal that helps some people, but disadvantages others.

This is definitely a question you need to prepare for. Begin by identifying a situation you’ve come across where there could be different points of view about the right course of action. This is an opportunity to show that your personal values fit with the company’s values and needs. So, take time prior to the interview to find out what these are. Also think about whether you would be happy working there if these do not align.

So, how do you answer this tricky question?

It depends on the company you have applied to, the sector they are in and the job itself. If you are applying for a job in a sector that is regulated, such as construction, engineering, finance and hospitality. You might want to talk about how you understand the importance of legislative or regulatory requirements. You can mention how you feel it’s important to comply with these, even if breaching them would save the company, or their client, money.

They want someone who can question or challenge the status quo at the right time.

For company’s working in sectors such as accountancy, surveying and HR codes of conduct are very important. This is particularly true for jobs that involve gaining professional qualifications. Here, you should mention how you act ethically or in accordance with professional codes of conduct, even if there is pressure to do otherwise.

It’s also worth mentioning that you know when it is appropriate to seek support or permission from a person in your company that is senior to you. That could be your line manager, supervisor or a member of the Human Resources team.

If you are being interviewed for a position in a caring profession or a customer-focused business environment, they may be looking for someone who is confident to take the initiative and use your judgement to resolve an ethical dilemma. They will want you to find a way forward, doing your very best for a client.

Some organisations look for independent, innovative thinkers. They want someone who can question or challenge the status quo at the right time. You might answer the dilemma question with examples of how you helped change working processes to help reach the organisations goals.

Remember, the secret to good interviewing is to be prepared. Getting ready for some of the questions you may be asked is important as you can deliver a polished response designed to highlight the skills and experience you have. It’s useful to think about the questions you’ll encounter and practice answering them. You should do this with a friend who can tell you how you come across. Get them to be honest and provide constructive criticism.