A business ethics position revolves around applying the ethical values of the society into a company’s daily activities to aid its smooth operation. These ethics help the organization to fit and co-exist harmoniously with the society.
This article focuses some of the common questions you are likely to be asked in a business ethics interview. Stick to the end to know how to maneuver around such and craft excellent answers that can help you land you your dream job.
1. How Would You Define Business Ethics?
Business ethics are the acceptable business policies and practices surrounding controversial issues in the business world, such as bribery, discrimination, governance, social responsibility of the organization, and so forth. These policies do not just apply to one institution but, in most cases, cut across all organizations in a specific industry.
2. Briefly Describe What is Ethical Behavior in a Business Environment
I believe that ethical behaviour in a business environment is conducting the organization’s activities in a way that is consistent with what the society embraces to be good values. A business organization that portrays good societal values such as honesty, dignity and equality in its operation tend to perform very well and survive in the industry.
3. What are Business Practices?
These are the procedures followed by any organization in handling their activities to achieve their goals.
4. What are the Advantages of Business Ethics?
A company/organization that embraces business ethics gains a competitive advantage. Their clients and consumers tend to trust them more and remain loyal for year on end. Similarly, society also benefits, making it a win-win situation. An organization with business ethics automatically recognizes their social responsibilities and act accordingly, thereby benefiting society.
5. Mention Some Disadvantages of Business Ethics
While business ethics are suitable for a business, there are downsides to it that we must acknowledge. I believe that an organization whose main aim is to make profits would be disadvantaged since business ethics reduces their freedom to maximize profits.
6. Why is it Important to Have Business Ethics?
Business ethics play a critical role when it comes to decision-making in an organization. Whether the decisions are being made by an individual or by a larger group, it is guaranteed that they will be guided and influenced by the culture of the organization. This way, they can make different what is good from bad and will make ethical decisions.
7. Mention Some of the Guiding Principles of Business Ethics
Some of the fundamental principles of business ethics that guide organizations in their day-to-day activities are honesty, integrity, equity and equality, loyalty, compassion, lawfulness, to mention a few.
8. Briefly Describe Some of the Business Ethics Issues You Have Observed
Just like the typical problems in any society, the ethical issues in the business world are endless. Some of the significant issues I have observed and are increasing daily are corruption, tax avoidance by organizations, bribery of and by officials, discrimination in the workplace and political donations and lobbying.
9. What Are Ethical Dilemmas?
Any situation that makes an individual question the right thing to do is an ethical dilemma. Ethical dilemmas make an individual think critically about their duties, responsibilities and obligations to the organization and general society. In most cases, the dilemmas that one face are complex and almost impossible to solve. By complex, I mean that one is faced with a problem and is somewhat expected to choose between two rights. Therefore, it is essential to note that when you find yourself in a situation where you have to choose between a right and a wrong, that is not a dilemma.
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10. Who Should Be Held Responsible for Business Ethics?
Business ethics is everyone’s responsibility. However, for business ethics to be practical, it needs to start from the top management and stakeholders in an organization then flow down to the rest. By walking to the top, they serve as role models and influence the rest of the organization.
11. How Do You Make an Ethics Code Effective?
For an ethics code to be effective, it must be inclusive. This means that every member of the organization should be involved, from the senior management to employees at the lowest level in the organization. The ethics code must also be valid for it to be effective. To be valid, it should be consistent with the standard acceptable ethical principles. Finally, the ethics code should also be authenticated by ensuring that the policies are enforced by word and action.
12. How Do You Sustain an Ethics Code?
Having an ethics code is one thing, but sustaining it is another. It is advisable to ensure that the code is specific by explaining the guidelines using relatable examples. An organization should make the code as thought-provoking as possible. This will teach all the employees to analyze and handle situations while making excellent and correct choices. Have the code in clear and straightforward language to make it easily understandable. Using ambiguous language may confuse and leave the employees thinking that it is open to interpretation.
You should also ensure that the ethics code is readable and prevent instances of one needing a manual to help break it down. This can be achieved through ensuring that it is concise. It is best to avoid complex sentences. You can also use bulleted lists. It is crucial also to make the code realistic and flexible to accommodate any changes.
13. What are Core Values?
Every organization that wants to take ethics seriously and implement them in the business environment must first behave and embrace its core values. Core values guide the employees of the organization to make their own decisions. The decisions that one comes up with are independent. However, they are expected to be ethical since standard values guide them. These come in handy when one is faced with ethical dilemmas. Core values can be ethical values such as respect and transparency and business values such as profitability and efficiency.
14. Define Social Ethics
Social ethics are the unspoken rules that guide our ethical choices and values that everyone in the society adheres to. By unspoken, we mean that the rules are not written down anywhere or dictated by anyone. However, they are just guidelines that everyone is expected to follow.
15. What Social Responsibility Does a Business Have?
Every business organization and individuals have a social responsibility to act in a way that benefits the society as a whole. There is a duty placed on everyone to maintain a balance between the economy and the ecosystems in the society. Therefore, it is unethical to only think of the benefits that you will enjoy. Society should always be at the back of our minds as we work.
16. How Can You Tell an Ethical Business?
Anyone can easily tell a business organization that is ethical from its practices and policies. An organization with proper ethical practices can be seen from how they deal with discrimination issues, bribery and how they play their social responsibilities.
17. What Do You Do When a Valued Customer Behaves in an Unethical Manner?
It is important to let every customer know that they are valued and are an essential part of the business. However, as part of the organization, I would let them know that their behavior does not match what the organization believes in and stands for. If I let the customer get away with an unacceptable behavior, I will be setting precedence for other customers who will believe that they can always get away with such mannerisms. It is essential to show that the organization does not compromise on its standards by correcting the customer.
18. How Do You Handle a Situation Where Something is Not in compliance with the Ethical Standards?
I believe that being part of the organization gives me a voice. Therefore, even if the unethical conduct is coming from my seniors, I will raise my voice, share my concerns with them, and even suggest a better way of getting the same thing done ethically.
19. Have You Ever Had the Challenge of Taking the Longer Route to Get Something Done to Adhere to the Ethical Standards? Briefly Describe it
In my previous job, we needed to do a project within a period of 6 months. However, to get the project started, we needed to get several approvals from many State Departments. My colleague knew a few people who could help hasten the process for us in a few Departments. However, we wanted to do the work genuinely and in an integral way. Therefore, we followed due procedure. As expected, it took us a bit longer to get the approvals, and we ended up doing the project in 7 months as opposed to the six months initially planned for.
20. What Do You Do If You Find Your Friend Who Works Under You Stealing?
Honestly, this is an ethical dilemma for me. I am bound to be loyal to my friend since they may get dismissed if I tell on them. However, if I do not forward him for action, the organization will be going at a loss. This will be a hard decision to arrive at. However, I will forward my friend for disciplinary action. This will be upholding the ethical code of the organization, and although it might not seem like it, my friend will also be learning.
21. What Do You Think Is Your Most Ethical Trait?
I am very honest to the core. In most cases, this works for the betterment of the team or organization. My honesty allows me to point out immediately when something is not going as it should or when due procedures are being overlooked.
22. Whom Did You Consult When You Were Faced with an Ethical Issue at Your Last Workplace?
My immediate supervisors are always the first resort when I am faced with an ethical challenge. They give me the necessary guidance. When they have no immediate answer, we both brainstorm, and if we are still unable to come up with a solution, we engage the senior management.
23. What Ethical Quality Do You Think Is the Most Critical in Any Workplace?
I believe integrity is the most critical ethical trait in any organization. It seems to encompass all of the ethical traits. In that, if one has integrity, they will be loyal, honest and fair in their dealings.
24. Do You Consider Yourself to be an Ethical Person?
I consider myself ethical in all my dealing, be it my personal life or in my work. Most of these traits were instilled in me from a very tender age. I am a sober and law-abiding citizen who loves and appreciates honest work. This makes me very capable of the job as I allow the principles of the organization to guide me in my decision-making. Therefore, you can be guaranteed that I will be acting in the organization’s best interest at heart.
25. Have You Ever Suffered for Doing What Was Right? How Did You Handle It?
The only inconvenience I have had so far for doing the right thing is a project taking longer than expected because I decided to follow the right channels to get approvals. Other than that, I have been fortunate to have worked with organizations with an appreciation for high standards of ethical work.
For any business to survive in the competitive business world, it needs to have its ethical codes and adhere to them. By showing that they care about the society by acting in the accepted manner and playing their social responsibility, they can gain loyal customers and clients.
Although ethics should be instilled in an individual from a young age, you can pick some and learn to be a better person in the field while working. I hope that these 25 questions have helped you gain insight into some of the business ethics questions and expect in an interview so that you are not caught off guard or unprepared.