10 Diversity Questions to Ask Employers During Your Interview

by Kylee Stone Apr 17,2022

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

Modern companies understand the importance of diversity and inclusion. After all, we live in a globalized economy with a diverse international population. As such, it’s understandable that as a potential employee you’d be concerned with whether a company you apply for values diversity. You may be concerned with whether your particular demographic background is appropriately represented and fairly treated in the company. To help you understand how your company receives diversity, you can ask these 10 diversity questions.

Advantages of working in a diverse company

Diversity is a strength for modern corporations because diverse corporations enjoy highest advantage of the talent. As such, you need to make sure you work for a diverse company. 

1. Cultural diversity can improve productivity levels

Diversity improves productivity. Diversity allows groups of different people to use complementing skills to achieve a common goal. Even formal research proves the economic value of cultural diversity. This research found that cultural diversity across cities in the US positively correlates with productivity. The more multicultural an urban environment is, the more likely it is to be productive.  The reason cultural diversity is so effective in improving productivity is the diversity of skills and perspectives that a culturally diverse population brings. These diverse skills and perspectives work in a complementary fashion with one another to produce a positive overall result. 

2. Cultural diversity reflects positively on reputation

Cultural diversity not only improves a company internally, it also has a powerful effect on the company’s external reputation. In today’s diverse economy, potential employees are most likely to approach companies reputed for being the most accepting of diversity. When companies recruit employees from a diverse range of backgrounds, it proves to employees that the company values efficiency and diversity. This reputation results in skilled and talented potential employees being more likely to approach that company. The result is an overall increase in talent and productivity across the company. Therefore, cultural diversity has immense long-term benefits in terms of improved talent acquisition.

3. Cultural diversity encourages a wider range of skills

Cultural diversity results in a company possessing a greater range of skills across their entire staff. People from diverse backgrounds are likely to have a diverse range of skills and abilities. Therefore, when a company hires from a diverse population, they get a more diverse skill set overall. The benefit of having a diversified skill set means that companies will have improved talent across their entire company. Having a wider range of skills means that a company can complete more processes and is likely to solve more problems the company faces. Therefore, it is extremely beneficial for a company to prioritize obtaining diverse skill sets. 

4. Cultural diversity can increase profits

In the end, economic concerns primarily motivate businesses. Thankfully, cultural diversity is one of the best assets for increasing profits for most companies. Cultural diversity improves profits by increasing productivity and skill sets across the entire level of a company. For example, a 2013 survey by the Center for Talent Innovation reported that 48% of American companies with higher diversity at the senior management level achieved higher market growth than companies with lower cultural diversity at senior management. An example of the benefits of cultural diversity in American companies is if an American company does business with China. If the American company has employees, especially at higher management levels, who fluently speak Mandarin will find it easier to do business in China.

Also read: Remain Ahead of the Curve: Hire the Best Remote Talent in 2022

The 10 Diversity Questions You Should Ask 

Ask these 10 interview questions for diversity if you want to be certain the company you apply for recognizes the value of diversity. 

The Company Hierarchy

1-How diverse is the executive team?

Diversity matters the most at the highest levels. If a company has diversity at its senior management level, it’s an indicator that the rest of the company is also open to cultural diversity. Asking how diverse the executive team is one of the most important cultural diversity questions you can ask. So, ask this question during your interview and learn about whether the company’s higher management is committed to diversity. When looking at the executive team and note whether the executive team fully represents people like yourself. If the executive team is entirely homogeneous, ask your interviewer why that is. 

2-Is the leadership team committed to diversity?

Even if an organization’s executive team is technically diverse, that does not guarantee that the company itself is committed to diversity. You need to explicitly ask the company if their leadership fully believes that it’s important for their company to be culturally diverse. Ask the interviewer about their company’s support for diversity through their mentorship and sponsorship programs. The more a company supports diversity through their mentorship and sponsorship programs, the better that the company will support overall cultural diversity in their organization. If you find that the company does not support diversity through their mentorship and sponsorship programs, it’s evidence the company may not be fully committed to diversity. 

Management and Leadership 

3-What’s the makeup of the managerial team?

Naturally, you’ll work closely with your manager, so it’s important to make sure your manager is also fully committed to diversity and inclusion. You need to make sure that your manager understands the value of properly treating people of diverse backgrounds. Have a look at the company’s management team. Note how homogenous the management team is. Is it entirely made up of men? Women? People from the same university? The same race or ethnic group? Etc. The more diverse the management team is, the most likely that business is fully committed to cultural diversity. 

4-What does the promotion and evaluation process look like and who is in charge of these decisions?

You will not ask for promotions on your first day at the office, but you will probably want to improve your position long-term. For this reason, this is one of the most important interviews for diversity that you can ask. So, ask the company how they handle annual and bi-annual evaluation and promotions. You need to specifically ask the company how they make evaluation decisions. Does the company have a formal evaluation process? Or is the company dependent on individual opinions by managers? The best companies to work for will always have specific evaluation criteria for promotions.

Company Goals 

 5-How do you prioritize social events that all employees feel they can take part in?

Business social events are an important aspect of the entire experience of being an employee at a company. Yet, it can be difficult for all employees to be fully included in a business’ social event. You’ll want to make sure that your company understands that different people have different needs for social events and that they operate accordingly. For example, many employees with children cannot stay for late events, and may not be able to frequently attend events. Another concern would be whether social events include vegan food options for people who cannot eat meat. The more accepting is a company’s social events are of diverse needs, the more it indicates that a company is culturally diverse and progressive. 

6-What are your most important values?

This is an extremely important question since it reveals the entire nature of the business to you. By asking this cultural diversity question, you’ll not only obtain a better understanding of how much the company values diversity, but you’ll understand this company’s overall values. The answer you receive for this question will ultimately impact your overall perception of the company. The best companies to work for fully understand the importance of having the most progressive values. They also understand that they need to properly communicate that they value diversity to potential employees. Therefore, listen carefully to how the interviewer responds to this question. 

7-How do you foster an open, communicative environment for your employees?

No matter how diverse a company currently is, there will be areas that they should improve. The degree to which a company will recognize that fact and invest effort in improving their work environment says volumes about the company. Ideally, your employer should inform you about all the details of their company’s formal policies. You also want to make sure that the company explicitly states that it’s committed to progress and creating an openly communicating environment. The best companies will inform you they have a highly progressive culture, and they will cite specific progressive policies to prove that as well. 

8-How do you celebrate the diversity of ideas and people?

The celebration of diversity is an extremely important aspect of a good modern company’s corporate leadership. The celebration of diversity demonstrates the full commitment to diversity and inclusion that a company believes in. Ideally, your company will have specific events and policies in place to celebrate achievements from minority employees. This is also one of the most important diversity questions since it reveals just how much a company values its employees’ achievements and how much the company strives to celebrate those achievements.

Also read: How company culture shapes employee engagement?

Future Prospects 

9-Where do you think the company needs to improve the most? 

Some companies will outwardly accept and promote diversity, but they will actually lack it. This doesn’t mean the company doesn’t believe in diversity so much as it could mean they haven’t achieved it yet. So ask your interview about how the company feels about its diversity-related weaknesses and what they can do to improve those problems. This is an invaluable question because if a company cites diversity as a major area of improvement, it means they recognize the importance of diversity. 

10-What tangible goals does the organization have surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion? Who makes sure these goals are met? 

It’s not enough to intend to improve diversity, a company needs to have plans and goals to achieve it. You need to ask your employer about what this company practically intends to achieve to improve diversity and equality in the company. The best companies should provide you with a small list of policies and goals they’ve developed to improve diversity. These goals should be specific and realistic to prove the company’s efforts are sincere.

In conclusion, diversity is one of the most important aspects of modern business life, given that diversity brings numerous practical benefits to organizations. As an employee, you want to join an organization that fully values diversity and the best way of achieving that would be to ask your employer these 10 diversity questions. 

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Kylee Stone

Kylee Stone supports the professional services team as a CX intern and psychology SME. She leverages her innate creativity with extensive background in psychology to support client experience and organizational functions. Kylee is completing her master’s degree in Industrial-Organizational psychology at the University of Missouri Science and Technology emphasizing in Applied workplace psychology and Statistical Methods.

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