Companies are taking great strides toward creating diverse and inclusive workspaces. They recognize the community and business value of bringing multiple voices and perspectives into the same room. Most of the time, this includes developing policies for existing employees, as well as adopting hiring practices that address bias. Another tactic to achieving these goals is to screen candidates for their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
Identifying potential issues before a hire will ensure good employee morale and protect your brand from future incidents. Conscious consumers hold companies accountable for their employees’ actions. Cultural insensitivity, sexual harassment, homophobia, or discrimination in any form can put companies on defense and possibly cause them to lose their customers or client base.
To build a welcoming environment for all employees and protect your brand, it’s important to source candidates that are dedicated to your DEI vision. Here are 21 interview questions to help you assess a candidate’s commitment to diversity and inclusion:
- What does diversity, equity, and inclusion mean to you?
- What is most challenging to you about working in a diverse office/on a diverse team?
- What diversity challenges did you face in your previous position and how did you address them?
- Tell me about a time when you noticed someone was being marginalized at work. What did you do?
- Have you ever experienced or witnessed someone who was the victim of a microaggression? What did you do?
- Have you had previous DEI training/How would you feel about attending DEI training?
- What steps would you take to improve your understanding of DEI?
- What are your goals in the next year to develop your DEI knowledge?
- How would you advocate for DEI among colleagues that don’t think it’s important?
- How do you confront inequities in the workplace?
- What do you do to give your direct reports a sense of belonging?
- How would you respond if your supervisor or manager made you or others feel uncomfortable with culturally insensitive, sexist, or homophobic comments?
- What steps will you take to eliminate bias in the office?
- Can you recount a time when you adapted to work effectively with someone whose background was different from yours?
- When planning work-related events, what steps do you take to ensure that everyone is included?
- What do you believe are common mistakes companies make when they create DEI policies?
- What advice would you give to a manager who is implementing a DEI program?
- What role has diversity and inclusion played in your career?
- What privileges have gotten you to this point in your career/to this interview?
- What would you do if you heard a colleague tell a racist, sexist, homophobic, or ableist joke?
- Has a colleague ever said something inappropriate or insensitive in front of you, noted your reaction, then followed up by saying, “I was just kidding”? How did you respond?
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You may already incorporate blind hiring, diverse interview panels, and other methods to ensure DEI best practices in your hiring process. These questions will complement current efforts to limit bias among hiring managers and help identify a candidate’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
When planning your next round of hiring, don’t hesitate to include these or similar interview questions. Job seekers should be prepared to answer them. Evaluating their responses will tell you a lot about their emotional intelligence and dedication to a diverse workplace. It also might be the difference between the “right candidate” on paper and the perfect hire in real life.