Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Interview Preparation Guide
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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) related Frequently Asked Questions in various Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) job Interviews by interviewer. The set of questions here ensures that you offer a perfect answer posed to you. So get preparation for your new job hunting

28 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Questions and Answers:

1 :: What is the antithesis or opposite of CSR?

Solely focusing on direct and short-term financial profit.

2 :: What is the difference between CSR and sustainability?

Sustainability is more the overall picture (here and there, now and future a la Brundtland) for how we have to change the world to survive as human beings. CSR is the contribution companies can give.

3 :: Does CSR require a paradigm shift?

Absolutely! Companies should not only do some add-on philanthropic things, but should change their strategies and business models and really build the CSR approach into their management accounting and control systems. What we see now is that businesses have beautiful ambition related to CSR; the question however, remains how they are going to fulfill these ambitions.

4 :: What is corporate social responsibility (CSR)?

CSR expresses a situation in which firms not only strive for economic gains, but in which they adopt a broader view and take responsibility for their impact on society. Impact on society captures the total impact which includes the economic, environmental and social dimension. To be able to optimize positive impact and reduce negative impact, they have to use a long-term horizon perspective and involve stakeholders into their strategy development. In short CSR means: steering on 3Ps (people, planet and profit); involving stakeholders; and using a long-term horizon.

5 :: Are you searching at the right company?

Next, think about the companies in your search. I categorize companies as "2x4" (those who have been whacked and now see the value in CSR) and "epiphany" (where CSR is an integral part of the company's mission and business model).

Almost any job in an "epiphany" company will give you exposure to corporate responsibility - which can open up many job possibilities - but these companies are typically overwhelmed with résumés and the competition is fierce. Corporate responsibility jobs within "2x4" companies are more focused and thus less plentiful, but there are many more companies in this category.

6 :: What is the business case for CSR? Is it the same in developed economies as in emerging markets? Would you please describe a specific environmental, social or governance issue from a business case for CSR perspective, comparing and contrasting the business case for CSR perspective of the specific issue in a developed economy and in an emerging market?

The business case for CSR can be found in all kind of indicators which do lead (in)directly to a stronger financial performance of the firm. Issues that are often discussed in academia as well as in practice are, for example: access to finance, employee retention, employee satisfaction, new markets, new products and stakeholder satisfaction. While CSR implicates that firms take measurements that go above legal requirements, the specific issues differ for developed economies and for emerging markets. In emerging markets, issues like child labour and working conditions can be hard to address. The circumstances are so different in different countries - what is legally required in one country is high above standard in another country.

An example of the business case for CSR is the rising trend of firms developing strategies targeting the so-called Bottom-of-the-Pyramid (BoP).These firms distinguish themselves in that they seek to create new markets involving customers, employees, SUPPLIERS, and/or distributors at the Bottom of the Pyramid, which have an average daily purchasing power of $2 or less (Prahalad, 2005). It is argued that these initiatives can lead to profitable businesses and economic development for people living at the bottom-of-the pyramid as well as the multinational companies that serve them. An example is the production of affordable life-saving medicines for Africans.

7 :: What advice would you give to a young graduate wanting to enter the corporate responsibility field?

As a board member for company, I get asked this question a lot. In fact, the company annual conference is coming up quickly and I would expect that a healthy percentage of the nearly 3,000 participants have this question on their mind too.

When we met at Harvard, you made the point that a lot of the information in my book is applicable beyond the corporate responsibility field - which I considered high praise! This answer will also have broader application for new graduates looking for jobs. Consider the steps below as guidelines to keep in mind before starting a job search in any field. As the father of two young adults, I can sympathize with the struggles that young people face in landing a job these days, much less the ideal job that aligns with your values and offers you the opportunity to make a difference.

8 :: Consider the maturity of the corporate responsibility program within your target companies?

More mature programs are likely to have more jobs, but the jobs will also be more specialized and thus constrained to certain aspects of the program. Jobs in less mature programs will be more entrepreneurial but also more ambiguous and chaotic. In these programs you may find yourself designing the strategy and developing the programs. If you go to work in one of these programs, you should be comfortable dealing with ambiguity and being self-directed.

9 :: Start with a bit of self-reflection and analysis?

If you were completely honest with yourself, would you be best suited for a more technical role (e.g., supply chain auditor), a less technical role (e.g., communications) or a managerial position (e.g., self reflectioncorporate responsibility director or vice president)? Use your self-analysis to filter -- or at least prioritize -- the jobs in your search.

10 :: What steps have businesses taken to ensure that they are acting as responsible members of society?

In an important management trend, businesses have engaged in voluntary initiatives to improve their compliance with law and with "softer" social constraints on their behaviour. Some twenty years ago, firms began issuing policy statements -- or codes of conduct -- setting forth their commitments in various areas of business ethics and legal compliance. A second step was the development of management systems designed to help them comply with these commitments and the standardisation of these systems (e.g. ISO 9000 and 14001). A new management discipline has emerged involving professionals that specialise in regulatory, legal and ethical compliance. More recently, steps have been taken to formulate standards 91iding guidance for business reporting on non-financial performance.