Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) remains a relevant and important topic in the workplace. Surveys continue to reveal that a company’s efforts on DE&I issues matter to professionals. Often job seekers are encouraged to ask questions during their interviews, but it’s important that the conversation is a two-way street. Both the interviewer and interviewee should be prepared to discuss DE&I topics during the interview process – indeed, they should welcome the opportunity.

Why DE&I Is Important on Both Sides

Companies want to ensure they are hiring individuals who possess a variety of expertise and experience, including the ability to work effectively with all their colleagues. An understanding of and commitment to DE&I in the workplace is an important skill that employers are searching for as a prerequisite, particularly in those who will supervise people or manage teams. Framing interviews with questions aimed at learning more about a candidate’s views and experience can make all the difference in the next right hire.

Conversely, candidates should be equally interested in ensuring a prospective employer has a culture and environment in place that matches their expectations and needs. This is critically important if you are part of a minority group as it can significantly affect your career opportunities and success, but it is also important to anyone who values a commitment to DE&I and wants to work where that is shared. If you don’t ask, you won’t know.

So, what should everyone do? Prepare.

Prepare with the Right Questions

Prepare to both ask and answer questions. Below is a list of questions that everyone can use. Whether you are asking or answering, one way or another, these questions should be considered. Will anyone need to employ every single one? Not necessarily. Both hiring managers and professionals will choose to ask the ones reflective of their values, their concerns, and what matters to them most. They are critical questions that thoroughly cover DE&I territory. After reviewing these thought-provoking questions, you will be well-prepared for any discussion of DE&I in your next interview, whichever part you play.

If You are the Interviewer, Ask:

  1. What is the difference between diversity, equity, and inclusion? Why are they important?
  2. What does DE&I mean to you personally?
  3. What does a commitment to DE&I mean for an organization, and what actions do you expect a company to take specifically?
  4. How can we ensure that diverse ways of thinking and working are valued and encouraged in our organization?
  5. What do you consider an ideal work culture? 
  6. How do you try to understand different perspectives in the workplace?
  7. How would you approach DE&I with someone who didn’t understand its importance and value?
  8. How would you handle a situation where someone was acting inappropriately, or where someone made a prejudiced remark?
  9. How would you make your direct reports or team members feel a sense of inclusion and belonging on a daily basis?
  10. What are some of the biggest challenges in DE&I and how would you address them?

If You are the Interviewee, Ask:

  1. What does DE&I mean to you and your organization?
  2. What are your DE&I goals? How do you measure progress? How do you report it?
  3. How do you ensure DE&I in the hiring, performance evaluation, and promotion processes?
  4. Do you have leadership training aimed at underrepresented groups?
  5. Do you have a formal DE&I team?
  6. Do you have training for employees/managers on DE&I issues?
  7. Do you have Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) or affinity groups?
  8. What is your process for handling workplace issues? Is there a safe way to communicate concerns?
  9. How do you foster open communication and celebrate diverse ideas and people?
  10. How does your company culture value diversity and create opportunities for people to be themselves and connect with others?

These questions lay the groundwork to conduct holistic interviews so both the interviewer and interviewee have a clear understanding of possible opportunities. The more we discuss this ever-important topic, the more we make the world a better place, one job at a time.

Looking for more resources on diversity and inclusion? Check out this page on our website to learn about ATR’s stance and the ways we can support you, whether in hiring or job searching. 


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