‘So, do you have any questions for us?’
If that question fills you with dread then you’re probably the kind of person that goes blank when an interviewer turns the tables and gives you a chance to ask a question of your own. We feel you. In our Killer Questions series, we supply you with ready-made questions to ask employers on a variety of topics at interview stage.
Here, SISU, a Diversity, Wellbeing and Inclusion consultancy, share some tried and tested questions for finding out whether an employer is truly committed to promoting Diversity & Inclusion.
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Why asking about D&I is important
If you ask any company whether that they are diverse, inclusive, treat everyone equally and have a great wellbeing programme, they will most likely answer ‘yes’. However, if you take that ‘yes’ at face value you run the risk of joining a company that talks the talk but ultimately fails to take action. In a worst-case scenario, this results in anyone from a non-traditional background feeling isolated, undervalued and uncomfortable at work.
The interview process is the perfect opportunity to obtain that insight ahead of making your decision to join. And there are a fair few questions you can ask to understand where a company stands with their Diversity and Inclusion policies and if Equity is something they actively promote and live.
Question 1: What values are most important to you?
This question highlights many things, including diversity, and provides a glimpse into the company culture. It helps the candidate get a better feel of whether their values align with the company. This is admittedly a less direct question; it makes it more likely that you’ll get a straight answer about whether or not they value diversity.
Question 2: What does Diversity mean to you and what value does it bring?
Establishing what diversity means to a business is a great opportunity to measure the lengths they have gone to educate themselves. Every organisation should have an idea of their business case for Diversity and Inclusion and should be able to articulate it thoroughly. If they don’t have an established business case, ask if they have any knowledge of how diversity affects the company’s output. Companies that are aware of the concrete benefits diversity provides are much more likely to promote it and become strong advocates.
Question 3: How diverse is the Leadership team?
A diverse leadership team says a lot about the internal progression opportunities for diverse candidates and indicates a more inclusive culture for candidates from underrepresented backgrounds. This is a great opportunity to ask about the team and their career paths to the roles they are currently in. Be inquisitive about how the company develops their people and what courses or programmes they offer to do so.
Question 4: Can you share data on your company’s Diversity?
Diversity stats will give you a clear picture of where the company you’re applying to currently stands. Most organisations have this data readily available and are clear about certain roles, departments or levels that are lacking. The best companies will also have ‘talent development’ programmes that ensure an internal pipeline of great talent.
Question 5: Is the leadership team committed to Diversity?
Unfortunately, occasionally the tone of voice spoken through marketing and advertising falls short at the leadership team and we tend to see a break in the message. So, prior to your interview, do your research. Does the company speak about diversity publicly?
For any Diversity and Inclusion projects to reach success, they need to be supported from senior level and cascaded down. The leaders should be communicating to their employees regularly about their commitment to Diversity and Inclusion and have rolling strategies in place to back that commitment.
Question 6: How do you promote inclusivity in your team so all your employees can succeed?
Many companies are committed to diversity initiatives, but since there is a lot of inexperience with handling these strategies they are only starting to scrape the surface of the work that needs to be done.
A business may invite people of various ages, backgrounds, and viewpoints to the table without considering whether everyone feels safe enough to be authentic whilst sat at it. Diversity becomes the heavily focussed upon point and Inclusivity gets either forgotten about or misunderstood.
This leads to bypassing the strengths individuals have to offer. When a company is inclusive, employees will contribute their opinions and ideas freely; they believe their work is valued. This question should give you a deeper understanding of the company’s initiatives and, therefore, culture.
There are a lot more questions you could pose to your potential employer, but as a starting point, we at SISU believe these top 6 will aid you in painting a picture of a company’s culture, values and commitment to make change happen.
We want you to feel sure that the company you interview with is the right company for you. Does it match your career goals? Will you feel included and valued? Will there be opportunities for you to develop, learn and progress? If it isn’t a certain YES answer to any of these questions, then is this company where you need to be?
If you need any advice or guidance or just need someone to chew the fat with when it comes to finding a diverse and inclusive company, please get in touch with us at SISU. Our team are here to guide, educate and share knowledge. We believe in the power of people and we are dedicated to making a difference in the workplace to ensure that people like all of us feel comfortable, happy, valued and have an unquestionable sense of belonging around the world.