20 diversity and inclusion interview questions

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20 diversity and inclusion interview questions was originally published on Power to Fly.

People make organizational culture go ‘round.

Whether you’re an employer looking to hire inclusion-minded individuals or a job applicant seeking out a workplace that champions diverse talent, chances are you’re nosing around — subtly — to ascertain whether the people you’re hoping to join up with will be a culture fit.

A job interview is a great place to puzzle that out — and there are ways to do that without solely relying on your gut.

The key is in asking the right diversity and inclusion interview questions.

In this article, we’ll list some good Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging questions that both sides — employers and prospective employees — should raise during the hiring and recruitment process to ensure alignment on key DEIB topics as well as culture fit.

Questions to ask prospective employees

Assessing a candidate’s commitment to DEIB goes beyond merely asking, “Do you value diversity?” It requires careful, nuanced questioning that helps interviewers delve deeper into a candidate’s understanding, past experiences, and actionable commitment to these principles.

Here are some better alternatives to ask:

General questions

1. In your opinion, what is the most challenging aspect of working in a diverse environment?

This question can provide insight into whether the candidate views diversity as a strength or a problem. Keep an ear out for red-flag answers like “remembering people’s pronouns” or “having to slow down for someone else.”

2. What is your approach to understanding the perspectives of colleagues from different backgrounds?

An excellent answer to this would revolve around communication and voluntary immersion into different cultures. Does the candidate seem surprised that you’re asking this? Or do their answers appear rehearsed and contrived?

3. Can you share a time when you worked with a colleague with a different background/culture than yours and how you made sure to be inclusive of their identity?

This question asks for specific past behavior, providing insight into a candidate’s real-life application of DEIB values. It assesses their ability to embrace and respect others’ identities.

Diversity and inclusion interview questions for managerial roles

1. Can you share with us what diversity and inclusion mean to you? Why do you think they’re important?

It’s one thing to appreciate the business case for diversity but another to speak from a personal place. The answer will help gauge whether the future manager can be an authentic advocate for underrepresented professionals on their team.

2. Can you share an example of when you had to address a diversity and inclusion issue within your team or organization?

Real stories from experience trump theoretical ideas about DEIB, always. This question provides insight into the candidate’s ability to uphold DEIB values in times of stress.

3. As a manager, can you cite specific examples of making your direct reports feel included and welcome within the team?

This question examines a manager’s approach to creating an inclusive environment for their team members. It shows how proactive they are in fostering inclusion and respect.

4. How do you address conflicts that arise due to cultural differences?

This evaluates a manager’s conflict resolution skills in culturally sensitive situations. It uncovers their ability to respect and value cultural differences while maintaining harmony within the team.

5. Describe your experience working with diverse populations.

This question examines a manager’s experience and comfort level working with diverse groups. It gives insight into their ability to navigate and thrive in a diverse environment successfully.

Interview questions for a diversity manager/coordinator/consultant

1. Why do you want to work in DEIB?

This question assesses the applicant’s values and identifies whether they align with promoting and supporting DEIB initiatives in the same way that the company approaches them.

2. How do you, as an individual, demonstrate diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging?

People pushing forth a company’s DEIB quotient should walk the talk. This question invites them to unveil just how they do that.

3. How do you ensure that DEIB integrates into all aspects of the organization?

This question examines the candidate’s strategic approach to infusing DEIB into the company’s core processes.

4. How do you measure the success of your diversity and inclusion efforts?

Measuring DEIB initiatives isn’t just about cold hard metrics. There are also softer markers – are those evident in their answers, too?

Questions to ask prospective employers

A lot of bright-eyed professionals join a company only to be unpleasantly surprised when they see that the outward promises their company has made don’t hold out in reality.

Their once-exciting job opportunity becomes a sour work experience when they discover their boss is unwilling to acknowledge unconscious biases or address hurtful microaggressions.

One way to avoid this situation is to do deep research into the companies you plan to join, either by reaching out to your networks or by looking them up in the news.

Learn more about how you can figure out if a company’s culture is right for you.

Another tactic is to go to the job interview prepared to ask the hiring team tough questions about diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Here are a handful to get you started:

1. What are the current demographics of the team you’re looking for me to join?

This question can help you understand the current diversity within the team you would be joining and can act as a jumping-off point to ask other DEIB-tied questions.

2. How are managers and team leaders trained to handle issues of diversity and inclusion?

This question probes into the company’s level of commitment towards DEIB, starting from its leadership. Adequate training for leaders often indicates an intentional approach to promoting and managing diversity and inclusion.

3. Does the company have protocols to address microaggressions, biases, and discrimination in the workplace? If so, what are they?

This question assesses whether the company takes DEIB-related issues seriously and has concrete measures to address them. The presence and details of such protocols reflect the company’s commitment to maintaining a respectful, inclusive environment.

4. How is the company addressing equity, particularly in terms of pay and opportunities for advancement?

An essential aspect of DEIB is the fair treatment of all employees. Equitable pay and advancement opportunities show a company’s commitment to fairness. Don’t be afraid to ask this question outright – discussing pay openly is okay.

5. Are there employee resource groups or affinity groups available? If yes, how does the company support them?

By asking this, you’re seeking to understand the level of institutional support for different identities within the company. These groups often provide a crucial source of help and community, and their presence indicates a company’s active engagement with diversity and inclusion.

6. Does the company have a formal diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging policy? Can you share details about that policy?

This question aims to discover whether the company’s commitment to DEIB is documented and institutionalized. A formal DEIB policy typically indicates a structured approach to promoting these values.

7. Are mentorship or sponsorship programs available for those from underrepresented backgrounds?

This question helps determine if the company offers systematic career growth and advancement support that you or others can take advantage of.

8. Could you share concrete examples of how your company has implemented DEIB?

This question aims to determine how the company’s DEIB efforts translate to concrete, everyday examples. Don’t settle for vague indications of “racial harmony” or other superficial answers. Probe until you’re satisfied.

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