Elevate your candidate assessments with our curated set of 21 sample diversity questions, which will ignite conversations that highlight quality and foster a culture of inclusivity.

diversity questions

What are diversity questions?

Diversity questions are specifically crafted inquiries used during interviews to assess a candidate’s understanding, experiences, and perspectives related to diversity, equity and inclusion. 

These questions aim to uncover insights into how candidates value diversity, handle diverse work environments, and contribute to an inclusive workplace. 

These questions play a pivotal role in diversity sourcing strategies and help in identifying candidates who can bring fresh perspectives, foster innovation, and contribute to an organization’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Also read: Diversity hiring 101: A quintessential guide for recruiters

5 factors that make diversity questions important

1. Evaluating cultural competence

In candidate interviews, diversity questions allow employers to assess the candidate’s understanding of diverse workforces, beliefs, and company values. 

By including these DEI-oriented questions, employers gain insights into a candidate’s cultural competence level, ability to navigate diverse work environments, and capacity to interact respectfully with co-workers from various demographics. 

2. Assessing an inclusive mindset

diversity questions

Incorporating diversity questions in job interviews allows employers to identify candidates with an inclusive mindset who are willing to advocate for equity and actively embrace diversity.

Through these well-crafted questions, employers can assess a candidate’s ability to recognize and appreciate the value of diversity, their commitment to fostering an inclusive environment, and their efforts to promote equal opportunities for all employees. 

3. Uncovering collaboration skills

In diversity questions, candidates are asked about their experiences working with people from different backgrounds, revealing whether they can thrive in multicultural teams. 

These questions help employers gain insights into candidates’ most desired skills, like adaptability, communication, and bridging cultural gaps. 

Through this approach, hiring managers can identify candidates who have successfully navigated diverse work environments, fostered collaboration among team members with different perspectives, and contributed to a harmonious and productive work atmosphere. 

4. Measuring adaptability

Diversity questions provide a window into candidates’ experiences in diverse work environments, shedding light on their adaptability and willingness to embrace new perspectives. 

It allows employers to assess a candidate’s willingness to exhibit flexibility, thrive in diverse settings, and openness to learning from others with different backgrounds. 

This evaluation helps identify candidates who showcase the qualities needed to contribute effectively to diverse teams and drive innovation by integrating varied viewpoints.

5. Identifying problem-solving abilities

Incorporating these questions into the interview process allows employers to gauge a candidate’s ability to handle diversity-related issues, such as cultural differences, communication barriers, or biases, in real time.

This ensures that candidates can effectively combat significant diversity challenges, fostering a harmonious and productive workplace that values and respects the contributions of individuals from all backgrounds.

You might also like: 5 major things recruiters need to know about diversity hiring

Top 9 ways to craft the perfect diversity questions for your candidates

1. Understanding the objective

Before crafting diversity questions for interviews, it’s essential to understand the objective. 

The objectives may vary based on the specific role and organizational goals. 

For example, you may want to assess a candidate’s ability to work effectively in diverse teams, cultural competency, or commitment to promoting inclusion. 

2. Legal considerations

Being aware of legal considerations is essential. It’s important to ensure that the questions do not discriminate or violate employment laws. 

The diversity questions should be crafted to focus on gathering information relevant to a candidate’s qualifications, experiences, and abilities. 

Recruiters should maintain fairness and adhere to legal guidelines to conduct inclusive and respectful interviews with all candidates, fostering a diverse and equitable hiring process.

3. Respect and sensitivity

Curating diversity questions with respect and sensitivity is essential for a reputable employer brand.

It’s about ensuring the questions are framed to respect the candidate’s cultural background and experiences. 

This involves avoiding assumptions or stereotypes and being mindful of the potential impact of the questions on the candidate. 

Making it a norm to show respect and sensitivity not only promotes a positive candidate experience but also demonstrates the organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion from the very first interaction.

4. Open-ended questions

open ended questions in diversity questions

Open-ended questions can effectively gain insights into a candidate’s views on diversity. 

It encourages candidates to freely share their thoughts and experiences, providing a deeper understanding of their perspectives and beliefs. 

Open-ended diversity questions allow candidates to express themselves without constraints, offering valuable insights into their awareness, experiences, and potential contributions towards diversity and inclusion. 

5. Scenario-based questions

Using situational questions in interviews can effectively understand how a candidate would respond to diversity-related situations in the workplace. 

By presenting hypothetical scenarios, recruiters can assess a candidate’s problem-solving skills, empathy, and ability to navigate diverse work environments.  

Scenario-based questions offer valuable insights into a candidate’s practical application of diversity principles and readiness to contribute to a diverse and harmonious work environment.

6. Experiences with diversity

Asking candidates about their experiences with diversity can provide insights into how they have interacted with diverse teams. 

Exploring past experiences can help recruiters gain a deeper understanding of a candidate’s ability to collaborate, communicate, and adapt to diverse work environments. 

Candidates may share stories about working with colleagues from different backgrounds, overcoming challenges, and embracing diverse perspectives. 

7. Contributions to diversity

Asking candidates how they have contributed to fostering diversity in previous roles can be insightful. This question allows recruiters to understand a candidate’s proactive involvement in promoting diversity and inclusion. 

Candidates may share examples of initiatives they have spearheaded, mentorship programs they have participated in, or diversity training they have facilitated. 

By exploring their contributions, recruitment professionals can identify candidates who champion diversity and have a track record of making a positive impact in previous positions.

8. Learning and growth

Including diversity questions that explore a candidate’s willingness to learn and grow in DEI is important. 

This allows recruiters to assess a candidate’s openness to embracing diversity, expanding their knowledge, and improving their understanding of different perspectives. 

These interview questions about diversity can inquire about a candidate’s experiences seeking out DEI training, attending relevant industry events, or engaging in self-education on diversity topics. 

9. Feedback and reflection

Asking candidates how they have received feedback and reflected on diversity-related issues can provide insights into their openness and adaptability. 

This question allows recruiters to assess a candidate’s ability to receive constructive feedback, learn from it, and apply it to diversity-related situations. 

Candidates may share examples of how they have processed feedback on their biases or actions, demonstrating their willingness to self-reflect and grow. 

21 sample diversity questions to ask candidates

1. “What does diversity mean to you?”

Recruiters use this question to assess a candidate’s understanding of diversity. It’s essential in almost every industry, revealing whether the candidate recognizes diversity beyond demographics, race, and gender. 

This provides valuable insights into their awareness of diverse dimensions and their potential to foster inclusivity in the workplace.

2. “Can you give an example of how you’ve worked effectively with people from different cultural backgrounds?”

For roles that involve teamwork, this question is crucial. It helps recruiters examine candidates’ ability to collaborate with diverse teams, which is particularly important in global companies. 

It helps you gauge their capacity to work effectively with individuals from different backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives, ensuring a harmonious and productive work environment.

3. “What steps do you take to ensure an inclusive environment for your colleagues?”

This question is important for leadership roles. It helps recruiters understand how a candidate fosters an inclusive environment critical to employee satisfaction, retention, collaboration, and innovation. 

It provides a glimpse into their ability to create a supportive and diverse workplace culture that values and leverages the contributions of all team members.

4. “How do you handle language barriers in the workplace?”

Questions like these help recruiters assess candidates’ communication skills and ability to overcome language barriers. 

This question helps you understand their adaptability, cross-cultural communication competence, and potential to effectively collaborate with colleagues from diverse linguistic backgrounds.

5. “Can you share an experience where you learned something valuable from a culture different from your own?”

Recruiters can use this question to assess candidates’ openness to learning from other cultures. It’s beneficial in creative roles where diverse perspectives can drive innovation. 

It provides insights into their ability to embrace new ideas, think outside the box, and leverage diverse cultural influences to inspire fresh, groundbreaking creative solutions.

6. “How would you address a diversity-related conflict among your team members?”

A must-have question while interviewing for a managerial position. It helps recruiters evaluate how a candidate would handle diversity-related conflicts, ensuring a harmonious work environment. 

It provides a clear idea of their conflict resolution skills, ability to promote inclusivity, and potential to cultivate a culture of respect and understanding among team members.

7. “What does “cultural competency” mean to you, and why is it important?”

An important query in customer-facing roles where interactions with people from diverse backgrounds are common. 

This question gives you insights into their ability to navigate cultural nuances, communicate effectively, and deliver exceptional customer experiences that resonate with a diverse clientele.

8. “How have you advocated for diversity and inclusion outside the workplace?”

This is especially relevant for roles in corporate social responsibility and community outreach. 

It helps you analyze their passion for promoting diversity and inclusion in a broader society, showcasing their potential to make a positive impact through initiatives that extend beyond the workplace.

9. “How do you approach working in a diverse team where opinions and ideas often clash?”

For project-based jobs, this question is vital. It helps recruiters understand how a candidate navigates the challenges of working in a diverse team, ensuring effective collaboration. 

It casts light on their ability to adapt to different working styles, leverage diverse perspectives, and foster a cohesive and productive team dynamic to achieve project success.

10. “How do you ensure your own biases do not affect your work and relationships with colleagues?”

This helps recruiters visualize a candidate’s self-awareness and commitment to fairness, essential for an inclusive workplace. 

It helps you understand their understanding of bias, willingness to challenge their assumptions, and dedication to creating a work experience where everyone feels valued and respected.

11. “How do you accommodate different learning styles and needs within a team?”

Recruiters highly value the question related to accommodating diverse learning styles in training and development roles. It provides valuable insights into a candidate’s ability to design inclusive learning experiences that cater to various learning preferences. 

By evaluating their response, recruiters can assess the candidate’s skills in creating training programs that accommodate diverse learning styles and promote a positive and inclusive learning environment.

12. “Can you give an example of how you have adapted your communication style to suit a diverse audience?”

In marketing and communications roles, understanding how candidates tailor communication to diverse audiences is crucial. 

This question evaluates their ability to develop culturally sensitive messaging, adapt strategies to different cultural contexts, and engage diverse target markets effectively. 

It highlights their aptitude for inclusive marketing campaigns that connect with diverse audiences and drive business growth.

13. “What role do you think diversity plays in innovation?”

For roles in research and development, this question holds significant importance as it enables recruiters to evaluate a candidate’s grasp of the role diversity plays in fostering innovation and creativity. 

By asking this question, recruiters can assess the candidate’s ability to recognize and appreciate the value of diversity in driving research and development outcomes. 

It highlights their understanding of how a diverse team can generate more innovative and robust solutions that better cater to the needs of diverse populations.

14. “How would you handle a situation where a colleague made an insensitive remark about another culture?”

Essential for all roles, this question assesses a candidate’s commitment to addressing cultural insensitivity and fostering an inclusive workplace. 

It reveals their proactive approach to tackling cultural sensitivity issues and creating a harmonious environment for all.

15. “How do you stay informed about different cultures and their practices?”

sample diversity questions

Asking this question allows recruiters to assess a candidate’s dedication to cultural awareness, which is vital for building strong international relationships. 

It demonstrates their commitment to fostering positive collaborations and their potential to bridge cultural gaps, enabling successful global partnerships and effective communication across borders.

16. “How have you utilized employee resource groups or affinity groups to foster a more inclusive workplace?”

In roles emphasizing inclusivity, this question is invaluable for gauging a candidate’s use of employee resource groups or affinity groups to foster an inclusive workplace. 

It reveals their practical experience in leveraging these groups to promote diversity, empower underrepresented individuals, and cultivate a sense of belonging.

17. “How do you ensure that all voices are heard in team meetings?”

For managerial positions, this question assesses a candidate’s ability to facilitate inclusive communication, create a psychologically safe environment, and encourage diverse perspectives.

This shows how well they foster open dialogue and involve all team members.

18. “Can you give an example of how you have used diversity to solve a problem at work?”

By leveraging diversity, recruiters can better understand how candidates approach challenges.

This question highlights their aptitude for leveraging diversity as a strength and their potential to drive creative problem-solving processes that lead to impactful and practical solutions.

19. “How would you support a colleague marginalized or excluded due to their background?”

This helps recruiters assess a candidate’s empathy and commitment to inclusion, ensuring that all employees are supported and valued. 

It provides insights into their ability to understand and empathize with the experiences and perspectives of others, their dedication to creating an inclusive and supportive work environment, and their potential to foster a culture of belonging and respect. 

20. “Can you share an example of a time when you helped implement a diversity and inclusion initiative? What was the outcome?”

For roles in organizational development and human resources, this question is pivotal. It allows recruiters to assess a candidate’s practical experience in implementing diversity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives and the resulting impact. 

This valuable insight helps organizations strengthen their DEI strategies by building a diverse workforce capable of driving meaningful change.

21. “How would you address the needs of a team member with a disability to ensure they have equal opportunities and feel included?”

In managerial and HR roles, it is crucial to assess a candidate’s ability to support colleagues with disabilities. 

This question examines their approach to creating an inclusive environment where all employees receive the necessary support and have equal opportunities for growth and contribution.

Also read: The galaxy is big enough for everyone: Diversity hiring strategies from the Guardians

Frequently asked questions

1. How can we ensure unbiased job interview questions during diversity hiring?

Focus on job-related skills and experiences rather than personal characteristics or backgrounds to create a comfortable environment for all candidates, irrespective of their backgrounds.

2. What is the importance of asking open-ended questions in diversity hiring interviews?

Open-ended diversity questions encourage candidates to share diverse perspectives and experiences, providing deeper insights into their abilities and potential contributions.

3. How should interviewers handle uncomfortable or sensitive responses during diversity hiring interviews?

Actively listen, remain non-judgmental, and provide a safe space for candidates to express themselves without discrimination or bias.

4. What is the role of structured interview questions in promoting diversity and minimizing bias?

Structured questions ensure consistency and fairness, allowing for objective evaluation of candidates based on job-related criteria rather than personal biases. This helps in better decision-making while picking candidates.

5. How can interviewers create an inclusive atmosphere during diversity hiring interviews?

Use inclusive language, show genuine interest in candidates’ experiences, and avoid assumptions based on stereotypes or biases.

By leveraging these insightful diversity questions for interviews, recruiters can engage in goal-oriented candidate evaluation that helps them land the right candidate for their DEI targets.