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Diversity and Inclusion Interview
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30 Questions and Answers by
| Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.

Question 1 of 30

Have you ever attended formal diversity and inclusion training?

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Diversity and Inclusion Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    Have you ever attended formal diversity and inclusion training?

      There are many available programs, courses, and workshops dedicated to diversity and inclusion. Many of these programs are in-house, some are offered by post-secondary educational entities, some through professional coaches, and others offered online. Udemy, Coursera, edX, and even Microsoft provide highly valuable D&I training options.

      If you have never attended diversity and inclusion training, take the initiative to do so on your own time. This addition to your knowledge base will be valuable as you search for new employment. If you have formal D&I training, give the interviewer an outline of the program you attended. Discuss what you learned, and highlight how this training will benefit the company, should they choose to hire you.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Although my former employers have not offered formal diversity and inclusion training, I did take the initiative to attend a self-paced e-course from Microsoft on Unconcious Bias. This course was geared for managers and employees and provided a helpful overview of how diversity impacts employee productivity, happiness, and overall business success. Through this coursework, I deepened my understanding of unconscious biases, how they influence my behavior, and impact others. I learned a few action steps that I could take to eliminate bias in my work environment. I highly recommend this coursework, and I am eager to put my new knowledge into action."

  2. 2.

    Why do you believe it is important to embrace diversity and support inclusion efforts in this role?

      No matter your job function, it's vital that you come ready to embrace and support the diversity and inclusion efforts of your employer. The interviewer wants to know why you believe this to be important and how you put this belief into action. A company that embraces diversity and inclusion efforts creates a cohesive work environment with higher morale, better productivity, and less turnover. Discuss with the interviewer why you stand by D&I endeavors and what you will specifically do in this role to support the hiring company's D&I plan.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I fully support diversity and inclusion in the workplace and believe that there are incredible benefits to a workplace built on equality. First and foremost, equality and inclusion should always be considered fundamental human rights. When it comes to the benefits of embracing diversity and inclusion in this role, I can play an important part in employee happiness, help to boost employee tenure, and increase productivity. Also, by supporting the diversity and inclusion efforts of your company, within my particular role, I will bring new perspectives, help increase the diversity of your talent pool, and positively add to your already innovative team."

  3. 3.

    If hired into this role, how will you support our anti-discrimination policies?

      An anti-discrimination policy is a policy put into place by a company to protects its employees from discrimination based on multiple factors. A robust anti-discrimination policy will cover various characteristics such as age, gender identity, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, medical history, physical abilities, sexual orientation, and more. An anti-discrimination policy should also protect employees from various forms of harassment, including sexual harassment. The interviewer wants to see that you will openly and actively support their policies. Talk about the efforts that you plan to make, should you be hired.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I plan to support your anti-discrimination policies in a variety of ways. I promise to quickly identify and expose any instances of harassment or discrimination in the workplace. I will genuinely embrace everyone in the organization and treat everyone with the utmost respect. I will show cultural understanding and help my co-workers to build their competency and understanding of others. I also plan to support your anti-discrimination policies by continually educating myself on emerging inclusion programs and practices."

  4. 4.

    Have you ever experienced or witnessed a lack of inclusion in the workplace? If so, how did you address the situation?

      Inclusion is different from diversity, and it's essential to be prepared to make the distinction. Diversity refers to 'what' the company is doing to create a diverse workplace, and inclusion is 'how' the company is developing a culture that is safe for all. The interviewer wants you to recount a time when you experienced first hand or witnessed a lack of inclusion in the workplace. This question is not the opportunity to speak poorly of an employer or co-worker but instead spotlight how you address a workplace imbalance.

      When responding to a question like this, it's best to give a specific story-based example rather than responding with a generalization. You can form your response using the STAR framework, an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Result. This framework will allow you to keep your reply well-organized so that the interviewer can follow along with your story.

      If you have not experienced this situation in the past, you can speak hypothetically, being sure to address how you would handle the issue and how you plan to support your co-workers in achieving equality in the workplace.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "(Situation) I worked for a company many years ago that did not have proper inclusion efforts for employees with physical disabilities. There was very little assistive technology, and accessibility was not a priority. (Task) As the HR Manager, it was up to me to put a spotlight on these shortcomings. (Action) I brought my concerns to the General Manager in the form of a few critical points, and I provided helpful resources. I explained that many companies are relatively aware that diversity is important, but this does not mean much without inclusion efforts as a follow-through. I spent time explaining the differences between diversity and inclusion. Together, we came up with a plan that would further support inclusion. (Result) In the end, our inclusion program expanded, and we made more effort toward creating a comfortable workplace for employees with physical disabilities. The company's head office was impressed with our plan, and they ended up deploying our ideas across all other locations."

  5. 5.

    How has your education and experience prepared you to succeed in our diverse work community?

      As a working professional, you should be ready to take your education, life, and career experiences to help you succeed in a diverse workplace environment. Discuss your exposure to the topic of diversity in the workplace, show that you have a solid understanding of the depth of diversity and inclusion in business environments, and assure the interviewer that you will succeed in their diverse work community.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I am thankful to have worked for companies that are highly conscious of their diversity efforts and inclusion programs. Some of the efforts that I have been part of include changing job ads to include only inclusive phrasing and information. While working as an HR Assistant, I learned how to write formal job criteria and promotion criteria to help managers avoid biased workplace decisions. My education in business taught me about the importance of diversity in the workplace. While attending the University of XYZ, I took coursework on gender, diversity, and leadership in the workplace. During this coursework, I learned how the HR sector has changed over the years, with an increased demand for organizational diversity. I am eager to take this knowledge and my inclusive mindset to support your organizations' diversity efforts."

  6. 6.

    To what extent do you think a company should encourage diversity programs?

      Today, most companies have a diversity plan of some sort. Many of these programs are highly detailed, involved, and robust, while others have minimal detail or follow-through. The interviewer wants to know how involved you believe a company should be in generating a diverse workplace.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I have worked for companies that have diversity-friendly policies; however, not closely monitored or updated regularly. I have also worked for companies with robust plans and regular diversity training for their team members. I prefer working for an organization that is clear on its diversity plan and makes program updates regularly. At a bare minimum, I feel that a company should have a diversity program that includes recruitment and talent attraction, a fair promotion process, regular diversity training, cultural awareness workshops, accessibility options, and a way to measure their programs' efforts and progress. I read your company's diversity and inclusion statement online before attending this interview today and was impressed. Could you share additional details with me on your diversity program?"

  7. 7.

    Do you have experience recruiting a diverse workforce?

      Many companies have effective multi-stage strategies for recruiting a diverse workforce. An organization with a strategic diversity plan actively seeks to employ individuals with a wide range of characteristics. These characteristics could include cultural background, ethnicity, race, political views, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and much more. Going far beyond diversity hires, the interviewer will also want to know if you have experience building an inclusive workplace culture. Building a diverse team truly means something when you simultaneously create a culture of equality and inclusivity.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I have experience building a diverse workforce, and I believe that this effort begins with leveraging job boards that specialize in diverse hiring such as 'Recruit Disability' or 'Diversity Working.' My company also offers specific internships to attract candidates from underrepresented groups. After joining my current company, I suggested that we move to a more diverse interview panel, which I believe helped improve the fairness in our recruitment process. I still have strategies to learn as I believe this topic is ever-changing, but I am happy with the policies and practices I have incorporated. I am eager to continue these valuable efforts with your organization."

  8. 8.

    What is the difference between diversity and inclusion?

      There is an essential difference between diversity and inclusion, and the interviewer would like to know that you are aware of the critical distinction. Diversity is often explained as 'what the company is doing' to attract a range of workplace talent. Inclusion is the 'how' referring to what the company is doing to embrace this diversity plan. As you can see, using this distinction, diversity efforts mean much less when inclusion efforts do not occur in tandem. For instance, a company can hire a female executive; however, if she does not have an equal voice, this diversity hire is simply lip-service. Discuss what you know to be the difference between diversity and inclusion.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Inclusion is taking a diversity plan and putting it into action. It's approaching a diverse hire and ensuring that the individual also experiences equity in the workplace. For instance, in my current position, we make a great effort to hire a diverse range of individuals with physical disabilities. If we did not also ensure that these individuals had equal access to accessible technology or physical spaces that met their needs, we would not be meeting the inclusive side of our diversity and inclusion plan - only the diversity aspect. I strongly believe that, although these two terms are often used interchangeably in the workplace, the distinction is incredibly important."

  9. 9.

    Have you ever mistakenly said something offensive to a colleague? If so, how did you mend the relationship? What did you learn?

      Saying something unintentionally offensive at work is a terrible feeling and an act that can be very challenging to repair. Your approach to this question should include honesty and a significant focus on the positive action you took once you realized your error. Show the interviewer that you are accountable for your actions and that you take the time to repair workplace relationships when necessary.

      When responding to a behavioral or situational-based question, it's best to give a specific story-based example rather than responding with a generalization.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "When we hired a new Sales Manager, I made some assumptions about her that I should not have. I asked her if she was married with children, and she said yes - she was married and had two children. Making small talk, I asked what her husband did for a living, and how long they had been married. She replied by telling me that she and her wife had been together for 15 years, having adopted their two children. She told me they were married for just eight years due to same-sex marriage laws in our state. I was mortified with my assumptions and finished the conversation pretty quickly before walking away. Before approaching this colleague again, I gathered my thoughts on how to present an apology. Later that day, I apologized to her genuinely and told her that I wanted to learn to lose the assumptions and automatic reflexes I had formed over the years. I owned up to my behavior and admitted I was wrong, which helped us to build a good working relationship, moving forward. The biggest lesson that I learned was never to make blanket assumptions about any aspect of another persons' life. Since this incident, I have taken sensitivity coursework online and am much better at leading conversations in the workplace."

  10. 10.

    In which areas of diversity do you have more to learn? How do you plan to grow?

      Some of the most common areas of desired growth among working professionals include unconscious bias, gender equality, creating diverse teams through broader talent attraction strategies, and effective leadership in varied environments. The interviewer would like to know where they can best support you in meeting their diversity and inclusion efforts and expectations. In a sense, this question is asking, 'what is your greatest weakness' when it comes to the topic of diversity and inclusion. Be honest in your response and spend the bulk of your reply addressing the actions you are taking to improve and grow.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Admittedly, I could learn more about the psychology of unconscious bias. As much as I am keenly aware of this topic, I believe there is always more to learn about understanding stereotypes, discrimination, and prejudice and learning how to reduce instances in the workplace. These topics are critical, and they are fluid, which means that I will never stop learning. I want to identify acts of stereotyping in the workplace better, and I would like to develop stronger strategies for engaging a diverse team. To meet these goals, I will continue to enroll myself in self-led online courses. I will read books from thought leaders such as Candice Morgan, who is the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Partner with Google Ventures. I will continue to listen to podcasts such as 'Change Cadet' from Dr. Akilah Cadet, and of course - I am eager to take any workshops your organization arranges for its team members."

  11. 11.

    How do you feel about workplace diversity today, and how have your views changed over the years?

      Diversity has been a part of the corporate conversation for many years; however, the conversation has changed significantly over time. Today, corporations consider many more groups when building their Diversity & Inclusion plan. The interviewer would like to know how your views have evolved over the years, and where you stand today on diversity and inclusion topics and efforts.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I believe that diversity in the workplace is one of the fundamental components to a company's success, brand story, and reputation. Today, diversity is a much broader conversation versus when I first entered the workplace twenty years ago. Then, the biggest conversation was about the increase in women in the workplace. Today, a company's diversity plan includes race, religion, culture, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical abilities, socioeconomic status, and more. The most significant change in my personal view of diversity over the years is my realization that diversity has to go far beyond thought and move into action while including a broader range of groups. I am passionate about D&I, and I look forward to bringing my perspective to your organization."

  12. 12.

    Have you ever reached out to a colleague you felt was experiencing workplace discrimination?

      There are many obvious signs of discrimination in the workplace and many more subtle signs. The more obvious signs are unequal pay, limited promotions, and demeaning communication. The more subtle signals of discrimination can include undue references to age, gender, race, and other microaggressions. Other less obvious signs of workplace discrimination could also include bias interview questions or unfair disciplinary action.

      When responding to a question like this, it's best to give a specific story-based example rather than responding with a generalization. You can form your response using the STAR framework, an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Result. This framework will allow you to keep your reply well-organized so that the interviewer can follow along with your story.

      If you have not experienced this situation in the past, you can speak hypothetically, being sure to address how you would handle the issue and how you plan to support your co-workers should you witness such a situation.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "(Situation) While working for Company ABC, I noticed that one of the new sales team members was not fitting in as well as expected. (Task) As the Sales Manager, I needed to ensure this team member felt welcome, respected, and comfortable in his new work environment. (Action) I asked this person to lunch so that we could make a stronger connection. We spoke about his first week, and he mentioned previous trouble fitting into new work environments due to a physical disability. I listened carefully and asked him what we could do as a company, and what I could do as his manager to eliminate this situation from recurring. He asked for some new accessibility options and also asked if he could share a bit about his disability with the team so that they would understand him on a more personal level. I agreed, and we held a very informative meeting the following day. (Result) The team embraced our new member, and they were much warmer after taking the time to understand him on a deeper level. It felt great to listen and implement inclusivity measures to make this team member feel comfortable and respected."

  13. 13.

    How would you introduce diversity to a team member with limited cultural experiences?

      The interviewer wants to know precisely how you would help a team member increase their understanding of diversity and inclusion. Discuss how you would approach promoting diversity in the workplace if you encountered a colleague who would benefit from gaining a broader life perspective.

      If this situation has happened to you in the past, tell your real-life experience. Share the actions that you took to make a difference. If you have not encountered this experience before, give the interviewer an overview of how you would approach this hypothetical situation.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "There are many effective strategies for introducing and promoting diversity and inclusion to others in the workplace. If I knew that my colleague had limited experiences with individuals outside of their group or comfort zone, I would encourage them to seek new perspectives. I would kindly suggest trusted resources such as information from Juliette Austin, the Senior Diversity Equity & Inclusion Strategist for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. If the situation were more difficult, I would make a formal recommendation to the Human Resources department to enroll the individual into sensitivity training. This type of training can be incredibly impactful for helping employees and leaders to increase their awareness of multiple dynamics in a workplace environment."

  14. 14.

    How do you demonstrate sensitivity to others?

      Respect and sensitivity towards others are common topics in the corporate landscape. If you have ever heard of an executive mandated to take 'sensitivity training,' you may be aware that sensitivity towards others is a common issue for leaders and employees. Show the interviewer that you are a professional individual who acts and reacts with correct behavioral and emotional responses in the workplace. The interviewer would like to know specifics on your approach to demonstrating sensitivity to others.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Sensitivity in the workplace is incredibly important. I demonstrate sensitivity to others by respecting the needs, emotions, and beliefs of everyone on my team. I can adapt to the concerns and needs of various groups, no matter how different they are from me. I work very hard to cultivate healthy and trusting relationships with members of my team and while also being a consistent example to my co-workers when it comes to team member relationships."

  15. 15.

    What have you done this year to further your knowledge and understanding of diversity?

      The interviewer wants to discuss your interest in expanding your understanding of diversity and inclusion. Show that you go beyond saying the right words and that you have taken action to grow your knowledge and empathy toward people with characteristics different from your own. If you have not recently pursued a broader understanding of diversity, some excellent resources can be found on Coursera, Udemy, edX, and Microsoft online.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "This year I have taken a keen interest in diversity and inclusion efforts, especially in light of the Black Lives Matter movement, and other calls for equality. Over the past six months, I have immersed myself in multiple online courses, including a course called Race and Cultural Diversity in American Life and History. I took another course on what it means to identify as transgender and gender non-conforming since, admittedly, I had a lot to learn. I am pleased to say that I have learned a great deal about other groups and myself along the way. I will continue to educate myself and broaden my knowledge as I believe this topic demands more attention from the majority of working professionals."

  16. 16.

    What experience do you have relating to people with a background different from yours?

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  17. 17.

    How do you currently serve diverse groups in your personal or professional life?

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  18. 18.

    How have you demonstrated an active commitment to diversity and inclusion in your most recent role?

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  19. 19.

    How would you help a co-worker to increase the value they place on workplace inclusion?

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  20. 20.

    As a manager or leader, how would you approach an equity problem in the workplace?

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  21. 21.

    If you were to create a diversity and inclusion plan for your current company, what would be your priorities?

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  22. 22.

    What challenges do you believe you'll face when it comes to upholding anti-discrimination policies in this role?

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  23. 23.

    Do you have any questions or concerns about working among a diverse population?

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  24. 24.

    We have a steadfast commitment to our company's diversity and inclusion plan. What does our D&I plan mean to you?

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  25. 25.

    What are the most common mistakes you see in a company's Diversity & Inclusion plan?

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  26. 26.

    In your opinion, how can a company best embrace diversity?

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  27. 27.

    Have you ever encountered a situation where a colleague was not accepting another colleague due to their gender or sexual orientation?

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  28. 28.

    What does inclusion mean to you?

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  29. 29.

    What strategies have you deployed to address diversity issues in the workplace?

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  30. 30.

    How do you define workplace diversity?

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