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Diversity And Inclusion Interview Questions To Focus On

The journey to creating a more diverse workplace starts with your recruitment efforts. There are many strategies to put into practice when hiring diverse candidates, but one of the most important aspects to address is the interview process. Incorporating diversity and inclusion interview questions can serve as a filter to make sure a potential applicant has views that align with your culture. 

Identifying potential issues before hiring an employee ensures good morale and protects your company from future incidents. Issues like cultural insensitivity, homophobia, sexual harassment, or any other form of discrimination could damage your company’s reputation and possibly cause you a loss in your client base.

In this article, we will go over some of the interview questions about diversity (and the reasons behind them) that can help both parties get a clearer perspective on how the company and candidate promote inclusion in the workplace.

If you need help fostering a healthy and positive work environment, EasyLlama’s Diversity and Inclusion Training in the Workplace can help you get all of your employees on board. We help you raise awareness so you can easily overcome the challenges of a diverse workforce.

Diversity and Inclusion Interview Questions to Ask Candidates

As an interviewer, it’s important to ask diversity and inclusion-related questions that reflect your company’s commitment to a healthy work environment. By asking the right questions you can give the applicant insight into your organization’s values and culture. 

At the same time, their answers can give insight into their character and cultural beliefs. Here’s a list of interview questions that you can include in your hiring process to help you evaluate a candidate’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.  

What do diversity, equity, and inclusion mean to you? How do you believe they relate to the workplace?

With this question, you will discover what the candidate’s approach is to these values. It is important to find out what diversity, equity, and inclusion mean to them and what they look like in their community.

You want to make sure the applicant not only has a clear understanding of what these concepts mean but also they know how they impact the workplace. 

What do you consider is the most challenging aspect of working in a diverse environment?

The answer to this question will let you know if the candidate is aware of the challenges of diversity in the workplace. A question asking about a challenge should also present a possible solution or a technique to deal with it. 

This will show if a candidate has thought through ways of overcoming these challenges and whether or not is capable of addressing them appropriately.

How would you handle a situation where a colleague is being culturally insensitive, homophobic, racist, or sexist towards another co-worker?

This question can help you understand how active a candidate would be in creating an inclusive work environment. In other words, how likely is this person to stand up for the company’s and their own values? Are they aware of actions to take against biased or abusive behavior?

You can also present a specific hypothetic scenario to see the interviewee's reaction and if they can provide an appropriate solution.

What training have you received on diversity, inclusion, or cultural competence and how have you applied what you learned on the job?

You want to find out the candidate’s interest, knowledge, and experience regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion. If they have undergone any training, whether they have proactively sought for them or they were provided in previous jobs. 

You can evaluate how they put the acquired knowledge into practice and get a better perspective on how committed they might be to actually make a positive impact in the workplace. This question will also let you know if the applicant has the necessary skills to handle a team in case you are hiring for a managerial position.

How has your career been enhanced by exposure to diverse cultures, places, experiences, and people?

Previous experiences, like traveling, supervising a diverse team, working or volunteering abroad can help people cope with the ever-changing business world. Perhaps the applicant’s cultural exposure has helped them improve their communication skills, minimize stereotypes or overcome race and racial identity differences.

Use this question to find out if the applicant has been able to successfully apply all the benefits of these experiences into their career and work ethic.  

How can you advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion with colleagues who don’t understand its importance?

Unfortunately, people who don’t understand the importance of inclusion and diversity in the workplace might still be present in your organization. This question will help you determine how the candidate can contribute to raising awareness among co-workers by sharing their knowledge or previous experiences.

What are the diversity and inclusion challenges that you have faced in your current (or last) job? How were they addressed?

This can help interviewers identify a candidate’s personality traits, how they interact and communicate with others. Interview questions about previous incidents or challenges at work can determine if the applicant will have the right approach in the future.

You want to make sure that the person you hire is able to professionally address and overcome the challenges that can arise in a work environment that incorporates members of different backgrounds. These challenges include communication barriers, different working styles, and trust issues.

As a team leader, how would you make your direct reports feel a sense of belonging, inclusion, and equity on a daily basis?

Inclusion is an important value to look for in all employees, but especially if you are hiring for leadership or management roles. Employees in higher positions usually set the tone for others and it’s important to know that your candidate will proactively help build a positive work environment. 

Ask about their strategies to make their team feel encouraged and provide opportunities for growth regardless of their background.

Questions A Candidate Might Ask To Evaluate Your Commitment To Diversity And Inclusion

Not many hiring managers would like to show that they have trouble recruiting and retaining members of diverse backgrounds. Applicants looking for an inclusive work environment often take the time to research the company they are applying for, to make sure their values are aligned. But it does not stop there.

The interview process is an opportunity for the applicant to get to know whether or not your company actually lives up to the promise of a diverse and inclusive culture. These are some of the candidate questions that you should be prepared for.

What are you doing to make sure all employees feel included?

Candidates need to be reassured that your organization is actively creating strategies to foster inclusion and are aware of the challenges involved. Always share your company’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion by discussing best practices and policies in place.

Let the candidate know how you plan to promote disability inclusion, tolerance of different opinions, perspectives, or backgrounds of your team and the company overall. This will give them a better understanding of how you address the challenges that come from having a diverse workforce.

How diverse is your executive team?

The diversity of the leadership team in your organization says a lot about the advancement towards hiring diverse candidates. This will likely indicate a company culture that is more inclusive and welcoming of underrepresented groups.

You can share information about your executive team and their career paths to their current position, which will also help you kick-start a discussion about how your company promotes career development embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

What diversity, inclusion and cultural competence training has my supervisor completed?

Managers can make or break an employee’s experience at a company. It is important to ensure your employees in leadership roles have the experience needed to effectively create an inclusive work environment. 

Supervisors who don’t have any cultural competence training are likely overlooking the complications that a diverse team may bring, and lack the skills necessary to address them. 

What leadership education programs does your company offer?

Even if you have already established the diversity of your team, an applicant may still want to know what opportunities for growth are available. What are you doing to advance minority groups within your company?. 

This is an opportunity to share any mentorship program, and education opportunities available to help promote employees from within. Also, discuss who has access to these initiatives.  

How are evaluation processes and promotion decisions made? How diverse is the committee in charge of this?

Having diversity, equity, and inclusion in mind, a candidate might want to know how your company approaches annual evaluations and promotion decisions. It’s important to explain who is involved in these decisions and the data points that are used to evaluate employees. 

The lack of an evaluation and promotion process might be a red flag for a candidate looking to be valued for their hard work and abilities. 

What are your organization’s goals surrounding diversity and inclusion?

Sharing your company’s long-term vision regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion will help the candidate gain a better understanding of where you are right now and what the workplace might look like five years from now. 

Keep in mind, not every organization starts from the same place. The tolerance for joining a company that is still at the early stages of its journey towards diversity and inclusion is personal. 

How are social events prioritized so that all employees feel they can take part in them?

The interviewed candidate could have personal situations that may not give them much time or flexibility to assist company events. Maybe they don’t have a flexible schedule because of their family or feel uncomfortable if every gathering involves alcohol consumption.

For this reason, they might want to know if your company takes employee’s restrictions into consideration when planning social activities. People who are not participating in these key team-building events can feel left out and this can keep them from advancing in their careers.

Tips for a successful diverse and inclusive hiring process

Developing your company’s diversity recruiting strategy should be your top priority if you want to build a diverse team. Different perspectives and backgrounds on your team can contribute to newer ideas that drive innovation and solve problems. This starts with your hiring process. 

Having a talent pool made up of qualified candidates regardless of their background, gender, religion or sexual orientation is a step forward towards true equality in the workplace. Let’s review some of the strategies you should incorporate into your hiring and interview process in order to achieve this.

Build A Diverse Recruitment Team

It is important to have a diverse group of people (in regard to race, ethnicity, age, gender, etc.) in charge of evaluating candidates. This is an effective way to avoid biased decisions and prioritize diversity in your hiring process. 

Candidates looking for an inclusive work environment might be reluctant to take the job if they don’t meet a diverse range of employees during their interview process.

Share Your Diversity Commitment With All Candidates

Make sure to always share your company’s commitment to preventing discrimination in the workplace and promoting diversity with every candidate, not only with those from underrepresented groups. You can’t tell what candidates are sensitive to, or what topics and areas they are interested in.

Your diversity program is about improving the entire organization and everyone should hear and be a part of moving these values forward. Also, make sure you follow up quickly with candidates, especially from underrepresented groups. Demonstrate your sincere interest as they may also be considering other institutions. 

Focus On Job-Related Criteria

Your conversation during an interview should never get personal, especially when talking to candidates from underrepresented groups. Questions related to age, birthplace, religion, or marital status can be found extremely off-putting and invasive. 

Ideally, you should be using the exact same list of questions in each of your interviews, keeping the same order. This is to allow candidates to focus on skills and aptitudes regardless of their background. There are some questions you have the right to ask only once a candidate is hired and you have established a relationship of mutual respect. 

Provide Training For All Recruitment Employees

Everyone who is involved in the hiring and interview process should participate in training, addressing topics like diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as unconscious bias in the workplace. Recruiters should be aware of what questions can be asked during interviews and how their own opinions and biases can get in the way of equality in candidate selection.

Educating your hiring team will equip them with the right skills to hire from a diversified talent pool and will help create a more inclusive culture within your organization.

EasyLlama is a great option to provide effective training material to all of your employees. What do we have to offer?

  • Easy to access material (access on any device, including smartphones and laptops)
  • Interactive quizzes and real-life scenarios to ensure the participants stay engaged and have a better understanding of the topic.
  • Real-time progress tracking and reporting of completion to make the education process smooth.
  • Competitive prices that adapt to your business size and needs.

If you strive to create a more diverse and inclusive work environment, our top-compliance virtual training program is exactly what you need.