Interview questions to determine workplace diversity and inclusivity


27th Aug 2018

The million dollar question, “is your company diverse and inclusive?” Ask this and I can bet you more times than not, the answer will be “yes, of course”. Let’s face it, no one wants to admit they are having trouble recruiting or retaining numbers from diverse backgrounds. Especially, given we all know companies that embrace diversity and inclusion enjoy better profit margins, outperform their competitors and can celebrate in the knowledge they will attract and retain key talent.

So how can we find out? Remember an interview isn’t just the candidate being interviewed, but the candidate interviewing the organisation too. See the interview as an opportunity for you to really get to know the company, understand the culture, and what drives their ethics.

We asked a few of our fantastic HR and D&I experts to step in and give our community some top tips when it comes to understanding the company and their commitment to equality and inclusion.

1, How important is Diversity to you, and what value does it bring your organisation? 

Every business should be able to articulate how they promote Diversity and Inclusion, what initiatives    they have and how they’re measuring the successes. Ask how it’s contributed to their bottom line. Please do remember smaller companies are still building Diversity and Inclusion initiatives and no doubt testing what works for them. Respecting their transparency is key as perhaps some of their initiatives haven’t worked yet – what have they learnt from these?

2. What are your most important values?

This is a great question to get a glimpse into their culture, as well as allowing the candidate to see if their values match the company. If diversity is high up on the agenda, this should be part of the answer. You’ll get a feel pretty quickly for what’s important to them as a business – are your values aligned?  

3. Can you share data on the organisations diversity?

Data is the new black, and nothing is clearer than stats presented before your eyes. What is this telling you? How many females on the senior leadership board? How many female managers? Most companies will have this data readily available and the bigger companies will have this for each team as well as succession pipelines to hand.  

4. What have you got in place to make everyone feel included?

You spend more of your life in the office than at home... So let’s face it, who doesn’t want to feel included - we’re human! Great companies create inclusion strategies after analyzing both their inclusion strengths and challenges. Even simple things like teambuilding days, mentorship schemes. Ask the question and don’t be afraid to ask their challenges. 

5, How diverse is the Executive team?

Noting the diversity of the leadership team says a lot about the upward mobility for diverse candidates and will certainly indicate a more inclusive for culture for candidates of underrepresented backgrounds.

6, How committed is the Leadership team to diversity?

We know the company culture cascades down from the top, so what are the top saying? Not only is the diversity of the leadership team important, but do they prioritize it? Is it part of their strategy/vison for the company, is the importance of D&I embedded within the organization. Leaders need to regularly be communicating their commitment to Diversity and Inclusion 

7, Are the company’s recruiting effort supporting a diverse culture?

Proactivity is key, listen to how they answer this question as achieving diversity more often than not requires a conscious and active effort from a company, if they communicate that to their recruiters – its proof they’re serious.

8, What Diversity, Inclusion, and Cultural training has my supervisor had?

Our managers can make or break our experience, it’s important to make sure diversity is important to them and something they also have experience in.

9.  Who hold my supervisor accountable to diversity and inclusions measures?

Diversity shouldn’t be a one and done training session for your manager, however it should be an ongoing effort that they are held accountable for. D&I needs to be embedded, and the impact depends on the longevity and some deep behavioral changes.

10, Does the company have other diversity programs in place?

It would be fantastic if they pulled out a timeline of training programs, but the reality is they probably won’t. However the future is just as important, what are they implementing in the coming months? Do they have any existing mentorship schemes / coaching programs happening? Ask the question – if anything you may just plant a seed in their minds!

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Article written by Elizabeth Stevenson, Business Development Manager of Mums@Work

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