Over the years, we have written about the economic advantage of diverse teams and how companies can better support diverse communities. In general, these topics that fall under the same theme: diversity distinguishes forward-thinking organizations and their ability to grow. If you are a candidate interviewing for new positions, what approach can you take to learn more about a company’s policies and their perspective on DEIB?
We’ve seen these types of inquiries increasing on the candidate side over the last few years. We commonly get questions about the makeup of an employer’s leadership team, if they have ERGs, and other questions about diversity. A lot of candidates are curious if companies are being proactive or reactive when it comes to growing diversity on their teams and continuing to engage those employees once they are on board.
Reasons vary as to why people prioritize diversity at their place of work. Whether you’re a member of an underrepresented community in tech or you find it important that the company you work for actively supports having a diverse team and inclusive culture, it’s not always easy to find out how much a business really does. Since all employers aim to make themselves look as attractive as possible to incoming candidates, it may take some additional questions to understand what’s on paper and what’s in practice.
Let us start by saying we encourage our candidates to ask questions related to company diversity and culture. Finding a culture that makes you excited is an incredibly important piece of accepting a new job, so there’s no shame in being open and honest about what you are looking for. How to phrase those questions and engage in a productive conversation is where things sometimes get tricky. Here’s 9 questions you can ask that get right to the point…
Remember, interviews go both ways. These days, businesses are competing for you as much as you’re competing for and vetting them. Putting yourself and your values out there by asking tough questions can be rewarding, as you will gain a better understanding of the company you might take a job with.
Now that you know the questions, it is also key to know what you’re looking for once you ask. Consider who you are having a conversation with, and what kind of knowledge that person has about the company. While a hiring manager can speak to specific actions they have taken to increase equity on their teams, an HR representative is more likely to have specific information on the company’s overall diversity policy and inclusion programs or culture.
Additionally, if you’re able to ask more than one person who works for the prospective company these kinds of questions, you will get a more fleshed out picture of what it means to everyone who works there. Keep in mind that your interviewer has an obligation to answer your questions a certain way. Not saying you have to take those answers with a grain of salt, just be aware that different people will answer questions differently based on their positions, so gathering more than one answer is beneficial.
How interviewers respond to your questions is also telling. Are they fumbling for a response or do they seem confident and comfortable when answering your questions? Do they come off defensive or say ‘absolutely’ and continue with a response? These emotional human interactions give you a good idea of where someone stands in their journey towards greater workplace equity.
Companies must recognize no number of trainings, resource groups, or mentorship programs are a substitute for real accountability. We’ve covered this topic before in our post on implementing a healthy call-out culture, but ultimately, nothing will change for underrepresented groups if employees are not being held accountable for the internal culture they are cultivating. So how can companies measure and do a better job of actual implementation?
One idea is to use anonymous surveys and DEIB scorecards to measure how your employees feel about the company culture, and how those feelings change over time. Another technique is to build reporting systems, with the chance for employees to remain anonymous, to expose mistreatment or persistent issues they may be experiencing. Are there any consequences for those whose behavior is reported but doesn’t change? Is the system upheld or is it for show?
Accountability and workforce equity have both become important factors for business leaders that are elevating DEIB initiatives. In fact, this will be the number one priority for HR executives this year. Transparency and reporting results are a big part of that. For example, Adidas representatives said they will fill at least 30% of new US positions from underrepresented groups and made global anti-racism and unconscious-bias training mandatory. In tech, Microsoft and Intel have tied half of executives' annual cash incentives to successfully achieving diversity metrics. The bottom line? Candidates are aware of just how easy it is to simply walk away and find organizations that prioritize diversity, equity, and employee wellbeing. If you’re seeking a new job, do not hesitate to reach out to our team to learn more about this topic.
Here at BWBacon Group, we know and live what you are experiencing as an employer or job seeker in Denver, Boulder, Dallas, San Francisco, New York City or any of the other cities we work in. We believe great recruiting starts and ends with understanding people.
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