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Make sure you are prepared for equity, inclusion and diversity interview questions

Make sure you are prepared for equity, inclusion and diversity interview questions

Artwork by: Stas Podgornov

  • What are diversity interview questions?
  • How to embrace and respond to diversity
  • Understand culture
  • Challenge your biases and stereotypes
  • Foster collaboration
  • 15 DEI interview questions and sample answers
  • Behavioral-based
  • Personal experience
  • Scenario-based
  • Skills and knowledge
  • Values and attitudes
  • Key takeaways

A dynamic workforce that revolves around equity, inclusion, and diversity has become crucial to an organization’s success. As such, companies are now incorporating these concepts into the hiring process. This article can prepare you for the top 15 equity, inclusion, and diversity interview questions.

Over the past few years, many companies have started to embrace diversity in their workforce. Since the workforce starts with the hiring process, that means you may be faced with diversity-based questions in an interview. That’s why having a good understanding of the various equity, inclusion, and diversity interview questions you may face is important.

In this article, we’ll cover: 

  • What are diversity interview questions?

  • How to embrace and respond to diversity

  • 15 DEI interview questions and sample answers

  • How you can demonstrate your commitment to diversity and inclusion

Statistical Insight

According to a Pew Research project, over 60 percent of employees feel that diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts their company makes are important. They say these efforts promote fairness when it comes to hiring, pay, and promotions.

What are diversity interview questions?

When it comes to diversity, a hiring manager will be interested in learning about your experience and interactions. These questions will reveal different aspects of your character and experience. 

In general, you will be facing DEI questions in the following categories:

  • Behavioral questions. These questions ask about specific ways you’ve responded to DEI situations. Hiring managers will use these responses to determine how you might respond to similar situations in the future.

  • Personal experience questions. These questions might involve challenges you’ve faced due to diversity or a situation where you’ve needed to work with people from diverse backgrounds.

  • Scenario-based questions. Hiring managers use these types of questions to assess how candidates respond to challenges and opportunities related to diversity.

  • Skills and knowledge questions. This set of questions is designed to test your knowledge and understanding of various diversity-related policies, practices, and concepts. 

  • Values and attitudes questions. A hiring manager will also want to know your personal views on diversity, which is where this set of questions comes into the picture. 

How to embrace and respond to diversity

Embracing diversity involves having an open mindset, showing respect to others, and including those from different backgrounds, cultures, and identities than your own. Below, you’ll find some ways to do just that:

Understand culture

First, you should learn about other cultures and the perspectives and experiences of those within it. You should practice active listening and promote inclusivity by being welcome and supportive of others and ensuring their voice is heard. 

Challenge your biases and stereotypes

Unconscious prejudice impacts about 95 percent of people. That’s why it’s important to spend some time examining your own biases and the stereotypes that may be influencing your interactions and perceptions of others.

Foster collaboration

Take extra steps to ensure collaboration among all parties is possible. Address discrimination when you see it and always adhere to policies and practices your company has in place. Lead by example, and display an attitude and behavior where everyone in your group feels safe and valued.

15 DEI interview questions and sample answers

You should prepare for key questions in advance. Here, you’ll find the most common equity, inclusion, and diversity interview questions as well as sample answers that can show your commitment to DEI.

With any of the following DEI interview questions, it is always a great idea to include any specific examples of experiences you have that relate to the question.


1. Do you have an example of a time when you navigated a conflict caused by cultural differences in the workplace? 

This question allows a hiring manager to assess your ability to resolve conflicts related to cultural differences. It also reveals answers regarding your communication style and your adaptability to uncomfortable situations.

In my previous role, I was part of a cross-functional team that included members from diverse cultural backgrounds. When issues related to those differing backgrounds emerged, I encouraged active listening, understanding, and respect for cultural differences. I worked with the group to identify common goals and compromises.

2. Describe a situation when you supported a colleague from a marginalized group.

A hiring manager needs to know your commitment to DEI in the workplace. Describing a specific situation can give them insight into your empathy and advocacy skills.

I once worked with a colleague who was part of a marginalized group. They were often overlooked during discussions. [Give a specific example.] I made an effort to support their idea and highlight how it would lead to our project’s success.

3. Share a specific instance when you advocated for diversity in a team.

This question shows a candidate’s willingness to promote inclusivity in the workplace, demonstrate their leadership skills, and show how they communicate.

I once joined a team that was obviously lacking in diversity. I raised my concerns with the team leader and suggested introducing diversity and inclusion to our team to improve the decision-making process. We expanded the team, which enriched our brainstorming sessions and created better results.

Personal experience

4. How have your experiences shaped your understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion?

Hiring managers want to see your journey and what has influenced your understanding and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. This question helps them see the depth of your awareness of DEI issues.

I grew up in a multicultural environment and have worked in diverse settings, which gave me first-hand experience with DEI issues. For example, [give specific example]. It was experiences like this one that helped me learn the importance of DEI.

5. Can you share a challenging diversity-based experience and how you handled it?

Interviewers want to assess a candidate’s problem-solving skills as they relate to different cultures as well as their communication and leadership qualities.

I recently worked on a project where issues arose regarding [mention specific issues]. Realizing how frustrated the team was becoming, I facilitated open communication and dialogue to give everyone a voice.

6. Tell me about a time when you successfully collaborated with individuals from diverse backgrounds.

Having a specific example in mind allows you to show a hiring manager your skills related to navigating diversity-related challenges. It is also used to evaluate your interpersonal and communication skills.

I was part of a project team that consisted of a diverse collection of members from various departments and cultures. To ensure we collaborated effectively and capitalized on our diversity, I facilitated team-building activities, such as [give specific examples].


7. How would you address tensions caused by cultural differences when leading a team?

With this question, a hiring manager can assess a candidate’s management style related to diverse teams. You can use this opportunity to show your approach to nurturing inclusivity and collaboration.

When facing tensions caused by cultural differences, my leadership approach is centered around fostering open communication, empathy, and respect among team members. I’ve done this in the past by [give specific example].

8. How would you respond if a colleague makes an insensitive comment about a marginalized group in a meeting?

Your hiring manager is hoping to learn how you will respond to situations related to DEI in the workplace and how you resolve conflicts, foster diversity, and promote inclusion. Having a thoughtful response can show your readiness to address DEI-related challenges.

If a colleague makes an insensitive comment in a meeting, my immediate response is to address the situation directly and assertively. I believe creating a work environment where everyone feels respected, valued, and safe from discrimination is important.

9. How would you handle a situation where a team member feels excluded due to their identity?

During an interview, the hiring manager will attempt to discover a candidate’s ability to address DEI challenges while supporting and empowering team members from diverse backgrounds.

I prefer to address similar situations with empathy and sensitivity while fostering inclusivity and belonging within the team. I would start by speaking with the team member in private and offering my support. My goal would be to create a safe space for them.

Skills and knowledge

10. What strategies would you implement to ensure diversity and inclusion are prioritized in your team?

As a leader within an organization or team, you will need to know how to promote diversity and inclusion. This question allows you to demonstrate what strategies you would implement or explain what strategies you’ve used in the past.

Prioritizing diversity and inclusion is a top priority for me. One strategy I would implement when allowed to lead a team would be to develop clear expectations and goals related to diversity from the beginning.

11. Explain what unconscious bias is and why it’s important to understand its impact in the workplace.

Being able to recognize unconscious bias means you can recognize and challenge those issues as they come up. That means you can create a more equitable and respectful workplace for everyone.

An unconscious bias is a subtle and automatic stereotype, attitude, or belief about another person or group of people that affects the way we judge or interact with others. It can change the way we make decisions without us even knowing, which can lead to unfair treatment of others.

12. Why is representation in the workplace important, and what impact does it have on the company’s culture and employee morale?

When asking equity, inclusion, and diversity interview questions, a hiring manager will be interested in learning about your awareness of the impact representation has on an organization.

Representation in the workplace is important because it ensures all individuals have opportunities for employment and inclusion. It guarantees everyone feels respected and their voices are heard and valued.

Values and attitudes

13. Why do you value diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

Along with wanting to understand your skills and knowledge of diversity, a hiring manager will be interested in your values toward it. This question lets you show why you think diversity is so important.

I believe that everyone brings unique perspectives, talents, and experiences to the table. By embracing diversity and inclusion, we are enriching our work environment and driving innovation and creativity along with organizational success.

14. How do you prioritize building relationships with others from diverse backgrounds?

You can use this question to demonstrate your understanding of how diversity helps to drive organizational growth. Knowing how to prioritize building relationships with people from diverse backgrounds can show your readiness to engage or lead diverse teams.

Building relationships with others from diverse backgrounds is important to me because I believe it enriches our experiences, strengthens our abilities to collaborate with one another, and broadens our perspectives.

15. How do you demonstrate empathy and understanding toward individuals who may have different perspectives than your own?

Empathy is a driving force for effective collaboration and teamwork. Showing you can demonstrate this quality in an interview lets a hiring manager know that you can navigate different perspectives and cultivate inclusive relationships.

To demonstrate I’m empathetic and understanding when facing differing viewpoints, I put myself in the other person’s shoes to get an understanding of how they might feel by actively listening to their perspective. I then seek common ground and build rapport and trust with them.

When you have the answers to these interview questions about diversity prepared, it’s time to practice your interview skills with our Interview Prep Simulation!

Key takeaways

  1. With the increase in the need for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace, preparing for DEI interview questions is paramount when job searching.

  2. Equity, inclusion, and diversity interview questions typically fall into certain categories, such as behavioral, personal experience, and scenario-based.

  3. Embracing diversity involves an open mindset, respecting others, challenging biases, and fostering collaboration.

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