BP's telephone interview: how to show you match with BP's values

It’s important to show BP’s graduate recruiters that you share BP’s five core values: safety, respect, excellence, one team and courage. You can do this in your online application and in BP’s competency-based telephone interview. (For more on what to expect from the competency interview, read our article on what to expect from BP’s interviews and assessment centre.)

Before writing your online application and as part of your preparation for the telephone interview, think about what examples you could use in your answers that would complement BP’s values. Here is some more information on each of these values and some ideas of examples you could use to get you started.

One team

How BP describes this value:

Whatever the strength of the individual, we will accomplish more together. We put the team ahead of our personal success and commit to building its capability. We trust each other to deliver on our respective obligations.

Don’t:

  • Confuse this with the more typical graduate recruitment question ‘Give an example of a time when you worked successfully as part of a team’ and give your stock answer
  • Assume you had to be the team leader
  • Select a situation in which you were part of a team but simply delivered what was required of you in your role and attended team meetings

Do:

  • Focus on the ‘one’ in ‘one team’
  • Pick up on the wording about ‘accomplish more together’, ‘put the team ahead of our personal success’ and ‘commit to building its capability’

Your ideal example could be a situation in which:

  • You ‘took one for the team’ and made a personal sacrifice or put yourself in an unpleasant situation for the benefit of the team
  • You helped a team to become greater than the sum of its parts, eg initiating teambuilding activities, encouraging closer collaboration or developing ways of working collectively to maximise creativity
  • You helped a team to build its expertise, for example delivering or organising relevant training
  • You helped inspire a team as to what it could achieve, eg initiating a trip to a relevant professional project/venue or arranging an expert speaker to talk to the team

Respect

How BP describes this value:

We respect the world in which we operate. It begins with compliance with laws and regulations. We hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards and behave in ways that earn the trust of others. We depend on the relationships we have and respect each other and those we work with. We value diversity of people and thought. We care about the consequences of our decisions, large and small, on those around us.

Don’t:

  • Choose a situation in which you showed your respect in a ‘passive’ way, eg not objecting to something
  • Write in general terms about how respectful you are without giving a specific example

Do:

  • Choose a situation in which you took a specific action

Your ideal example could be a situation in which:

  • You helped tackled disrespectful behaviour – for example friends, team-mates or members of your society regularly breaking laws or university rules during social occasions and having a negative impact on the local community or fellow students
  • You helped to restore lost trust after something had gone wrong – eg one of your society’s flagship events had been an expensive disaster
  • You helped make a society or place more inclusive or welcoming to different groups – for example launching a monthly alcohol-free social event for club members who don’t drink for religious reasons

Courage

How BP describes this value:

What we do is rarely easy. Achieving the best outcomes often requires the courage to face difficulty, to speak up and stand by what we believe.

Don’t:

  • Devote too much space to explaining why courage was needed

Do:

  • Focus the majority of your answer on what your actions were

Your ideal example could be a situation in which:

  • You spoke up or took action against something you felt was wrong, despite concerns about the consequences or what other people would think
  • You made yourself face your fears, eg public speaking

Excellence

How BP describes this value:

We are in a hazardous business and are committed to excellence through the systematic and disciplined management of our operations. We follow and uphold the rules and standards we set for our company. We commit to quality outcomes, have a thirst to learn and to improve. If something is not right, we correct it.

Don’t:

  • Simply list awards/qualifications/achievements that you feel prove how excellent you are

Do:

  • Pick up on wording such as ‘follow and uphold rules and standards’ and ‘If something is not right, we correct it’

Your ideal example could be a situation in which:

  • You improved or corrected a process, eg how your football team conducts its trials for new members
  • You drew up a ‘gold standard’ for how something should be done
  • You sought out training for yourself or others to improve your skills

Safety

How BP describes this value:

Safety is good business. Everything we do relies upon the safety of our workforce and the communities around us. We care about the safe management of the environment. We are committed to safely delivering energy to the world.

Don’t:

  • Resort to an example from your academic work or work experience

Do:

  • Think broadly about what types of things or people could be kept safe to help you come up with an example

Your ideal example could be a situation in which:

  • You planned in advance how to make an event safe – eg as a scout leader planning an expedition
  • You actively sought out training for yourself and/or others to improve safety – eg arranging first aid training for your sports team or undertaking advanced driver training so as to be a safer driver when ferrying teammates to matches
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