Social responsibility

Social responsibility on a personal level requires you to take an ethical stance on matters relating to community, diversity and respect for others. Empathy, cultural awareness and effecting change all have their place in making a difference to society, and as such it can be considered a lifestyle as much as a skill.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a key component of many employers’ mission statements or company values. Demonstrating an awareness of this, alongside finding links to your own values and highlighting this through your actions can be an excellent means of showing how you will fit in.

Activities where you could develop your social responsibility

Ask yourself what the challenging themes are relating to your subject area. These may be the ethical and environmental considerations applied to a subject in the sciences, or the historical and cultural implications applied to a subject in the humanities. Knowledge of these areas may leave you better prepared for a discussion of the social responsibility associated with your discipline.

  • Ethical Grand Challenges Take part in these events each year to broaden your exposure to ethical questions.
  • Volunteering Giving up your time to aid in community projects.
  • Stellify Gain recognition for the leadership, volunteering and other social enterprise you undertake.
  • Peer Mentoring Develop problem solving skills by supporting others through their studies and wider university life.
  • Nightline Lateral thinking, compassion and good listening will help you develop your skills while supporting others.

How is social responsibility tested in recruitment?

Application form questions can often take their format from company values, and therefore allow you a direct opportunity to show how your social responsibility aligns with theirs. Other means of testing this can be through Situational Judgement Tests, which investigate whether your professional approach matches that of the employer. This is easy for them to test at interview, and can range from your stance to the company’s:

  • What are our company values? Are there any that particularly resonate with you?
  • What examples of CSR, good or bad, have you seen in the media?
  • What matters to you?
  • How do you define social responsibility? Can you provide any examples of it within your CV?

If you are unsure how to structure an answer for either application or interview questions, visit the application and interviews section of our website and find out about the CAR (context, action, result) and STAR (situation, task, action, result) models. Our recommendations are based on feedback from employers.

During an assessment centre, the cases or scenarios given to you to work on may draw on themes of social responsibility. You could be asked to assess competing project proposals based on their ethical suitability, or comment on whether a client project meets the company’s criteria for CSR.