Time to take stock of your integrity

What would you do if you were privy to information that wasn’t widely known within the organisation?

Integrity is the foundation of an EA’s ethical standards and the reason you develop a reputation at work as reliable, trustworthy and honest.

Employers often include integrity as a prerequisite for high-level assistants. So, if you plan to change jobs or advance your career, take stock of your integrity and know how to demonstrate it at work and in job interviews.

Developing integrity

Start by considering how consistently you:

  • Follow through with commitments
  • Share information
  • Keep yourself accountable
  • Act responsibly
  • Respect the ideas of others
  • Give credit where it’s due.

Taking stock of this will allow you to take a measure of your own levels of integrity. Ask yourself, too, when do you demonstrate integrity? Always or only when someone will notice?

Once you understand your strengths and weaknesses in this area, set self-improvement goals and introduce new habits to develop. For example, if you find punctuality challenging, your first goal could be just ensuring you are two minutes early for every meeting this week.

Once you’ve identified goals, plan how you will meet them. Remember to evaluate your progress regularly and celebrate when you hit goals you’ve set yourself.

How to answer integrity job interview questions

Common integrity job interview questions include:

  • Tell me about a time you made a mistake…
  • If a white lie would diffuse a tense situation, would you tell it?
  • What would you do if you were privy to information that wasn’t widely known within the organisation?

To answer these questions, use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action and Result) to show how you’ve demonstrated integrity in the past.

Here’s how it works:   

  • Situation: Describe the situation you were in. For example: “In my last role I worked for a busy executive who needed a lot of support. At first, I tried to handle everything by myself but after months of long hours I found myself feeling overwhelmed and I missed a key deadline.”
  • Task: Explain what you decided to do. For example: “I realised I had been so focused on making a good impression as a hard worker who could handle a heavy workload that I hadn’t delegated effectively to other support staff. I brought the mistake to my executive’s attention and rectified it immediately.”
  • Action: Describe what you did. For example: “From then on, I delegated certain tasks.
  • Result: Explain what happened following your actions. For example: “Work is now completed efficiently within standard business hours.”

Good luck!

Alex Jones is a senior regional director at Hays Office Support