Most of us have an internal ‘moral compass’ that indicates to us what is right and wrong with regard to our own thinking and actions and that of others.  Integrity while difficult to define in a few words, could be defined as the personal quality of having high moral principles, being reliable (consistent), honest and trustworthy.

Ethical behaviour requires that we use our moral compass to guide us in our interactions with others. Ethical behaviour is also about the ability to inspire trust in others.

In a graduate recruitment context assessing the moral compass of candidates is a common and legitimate concern particularly where the organisation’s ethical values are enshrined in their mission or values statement. Employers want alignment between their organisational ethical values and those of prospective employees. You in turn may choose not to apply to an organisation if you have ethical concerns about it, or any individual within it.  

Carrick Courtney writing from a recruiter’s perspective states that “once a low integrity culture is embedded it is very difficult, and time-consuming, to change”. By implication in a high integrity culture, recruitment processes need to be rigorous to maintain the status quo.  Read more at

At interviews employers will often ask candidates about situations they have actually experienced that raised moral and ethical issues for them and how they dealt with them. Mary Gentle’s article A Beginner’s Guide to Raising Ethical Issues at Work can be used as a framework for reflecting on situations that you have experienced. It may be that you were unable to deal with the situation at the time but the article and other reading will allow you to consider and describe how you would deal with that situation today

Amanda Becker in her article Can You Teach Ethics to MBAs? quotes “in most real-life business situations, you already know what’s right. The hard part is figuring out how to act on that knowledge”.  Her article also includes an opportunity for you to test how you would respond to four workplace ethical dilemmas.;feature

Test Yourself: Would You Act Unethically on the Job?

Finally, Gwen Francis writing from an educator’s perspective provides a simple framework as a starting point for what she calls “ethical principles for the ‘upright’ person”. These are: Wisdom – We should be sensible; Justice – We should be fair; Truth – We should be honest; Love – We should be kind. Read more at

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