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Gauging a Company’s Commitment to DEI – Part 2: Interview

October 18, 2021
3 min read

Okay, so you’ve done the pre-application work and decided that you want to apply. Now, the hiring manager has reviewed your application and asked you to schedule an interview. 

As frustrating and stressful as they might be, interviews are a great way to gauge a company’s commitment to DEI. During your pre-application process, you spoke to people that worked there, looked at the leadership team, and/or read the Chezie reviews. You got a good sense of the company’s DEI work, but your research probably also left you with some follow-up questions. The interview is your chance to bring those up and get more specific information about how inclusive the company really is. 

Typically, your interviewer will give you 5-10 minutes at the end of the interview for you to ask whatever questions that you have. Pro-tip: if you have more questions than you think you’ll have time to ask, don’t be afraid to send them in an email either before or after the interview.

In addition to your follow up questions, consider asking these as well:

1. Can you share your diversity numbers with me?

Assuming that the company hasn’t publicly shared its representation numbers, you can definitely ask. It’s hard for any organization to set goals if it doesn’t know where it’s starting, so a company that doesn’t know its numbers likely doesn’t have a roadmap for improvement.

2. What goals does the company have related to diversity, equity, and inclusion?

In the same way that a company has goals for other business functions - sales, marketing, product, etc. - it should have goals for DEI. Asking about these goals should tell you where the company is in its journey. 

For example, perhaps the company has a short-term goal to do a self-identification campaign so they can figure out what the baseline numbers are. That tells you that the organization is earlier on in its journey. Or perhaps the company wants to increase the inclusion score on its annual DEI survey by 10 percentage points. That tells you that it has a plan for measuring and improving its DEI. In either case, just the fact that the company has goals and the hiring manager is aware of those goals enough to articulate them to you in the interview is a good sign.

3. How does DEI factor into my manager’s performance review?

People don’t leave jobs, they leave managers. 

Your relationship with your manager can be the difference between you truly loving your job and dreading every zoom call you take. Managers at the company are likely judged on the performance of the teams that they lead, but they should also be reviewed on their contributions to the company’s DEI efforts. Asking this should give you a sense of how embedded DEI is into the company’s operations. 

Creating an inclusive environment is everyone’s job, and the same way that managers shoulder more responsibility for your success and the success of the company, they should be held even more accountable for supporting the company’s DEI work.

4. What did your company do to support employees when the COVID-19 pandemic started? How has the company continued to support employees?

Take these two scenarios:

  • Company A takes a business-as-usual approach and doesn’t make any provisions for employees. People are still expected to perform and get their work done.
  • Company B, seeing the potential impacts of the pandemic on people’s personal lives, offered additional paid time off to promote mental health. 

Which company would you want to work for?

Obviously things are not this black and white, but this hypothetical brings up a good point. Part of DEI is realizing that the playing field is not equal. Certain groups of (often historically marginalized) people need additional accommodations to deal with the pandemic, and a company that’s committed to DEI is one that does what it can to support those people. 

Remember, interviews are a two-way street. Take this opportunity to interview the hiring manager and the company as a whole. Even if the employer decides that they want you, it’s possible that they don’t give sufficient answers to your questions. If that’s the case, maybe the company actually isn’t where you want to be.

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