What Interview Questions to Ask if You Wish to Work for a Company with a Diverse Work Environment

Company culture, and your place within it, can make or break a seemingly perfect position. Some people thrive on working collaboratively, others prefer workplaces that allow them to stick to themselves. One environmental factor that has been brought increasingly to the forefront of people’s minds in the last few years has been the idea of diversity: How it benefits both companies and employees, how to increase it in sectors that might not normally prioritize it, etc. Now it seems almost impossible to avoid hearing about how “diverse” a company is—especially one that wants to attract top notch talent.

But how do you know if a potential workplace really is diverse? By now you probably know you’re not only expected but encouraged to ask a few questions of your own at the end of an interview. Below are some queries specifically tailored toward those wanting to determine whether a company is truly interested in diversifying its employees.

Interview questions diversity

What is your idea of diversity?

It’s best to start out direct when it comes to determining the diverse nature of a workplace. Those companies that are committed to the idea already have a firm definition and a clear vision of how that will play out. BioSpace warns against companies who simply cite statistics (i.e.: “We have X ratio of female/minority workers”) in answer to this question, as all that really demonstrates is, they are committed to sticking to a certain quota, not actual inclusivity. Diversity goes beyond simple numbers, and a company dedicated to the idea will not only know this but have an action plan in place for it.   

Who would I be working under?

While it is usually easy enough to find out online who owns the company, it often is not as easy to find out to whom you would actually be reporting on a day-to-day basis. The answer to this may hold more of a clue to a company’s commitment to diversity than any speeches you might hear. After all, a true commitment to inclusion begins at the top. If the leadership team includes people of color and women, chances are good the company is putting its money where its mouth is. If not, it could mean the company is either not as committed as it would like to appear, or that it is just now beginning work on diversifying its company culture.

How are you fostering inclusion?

Increasing diversity within the workplace may be the ultimate goal but making sure all those diverse people feel included is also important. Sara Taylor, president and founder of deepSEE Consulting, tells Fast Company companies that “are actively creating inclusion strategies have assessed their organization to know both their inclusion strengths and challenges. They’ve also created plans to address those challenges with best-practice programming.” In other words, this one-two punch of diversity and inclusion is a great sign within a company.

What are your work hours and benefits structure?

Super strict work hours, an abundance of required overtime, and little vacation time indicates the company is probably not as diverse as it would like to seem. After all, the less family-friendly options available, the less likely the company is to hire those who have unique needs and backgrounds. On the other hand, more flexible work hours and reasonable benefits packages (such as maternity and paternity leave, a decent amount of paid vacation days, etc.) are signs the company is really interested in attracting a variety of talent. 

Diversity within a company may not appear exactly as you imagine, but it is an increasingly vital issue for both employers and employees. For many, this is an issue that will continue to factor in more and more importantly when it comes to whether or not a company is the right fit.

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