When interviewing for a job, it is just as important to be aware of the company’s work as it is to be aware of its policies and initiatives. Taking the time to prepare your questions for a potential employer can not only impress in an interview but will also allow you to compare the employer’s values with your own.
- Review the organization’s diversity statements, and any programs and initiatives. Highlight aspects of the statement that resonate with you and generate questions.
- Review the website and look for the diversity in the staff and leadership profiles.
- Use Emerge and LinkedIn to see if there are any alumni who work, or who have previously worked there.
Write Up Your Questions
Write down 1–2 questions that will generate the most comprehensive answers. Reference company information to provide context for your questions.
- What are some of the ways you’ve focused on cultural competency for your team?
- What professional development opportunities for diversity are available for staff?
- I enjoyed reviewing and learning about your Task Force for Meaningful Change statement. Can you talk more about the D & I programming that has been developed?
- I reviewed your announcement for the DEI Advisory Committee and its plans. Can you talk more about the mandatory education courses that employees are required to take?
Here are other questions to ask to get a sense of what the company values and the work environment:
- How would you describe the culture of (name of organization or department)?
- What are ways in which staff are provided the tools and resources to communicate efficiently, especially in diverse groups?
- How has the organization managed issues and needs of staff during the pandemic?
Just like when on the road, we have traffic lights to let us know if we can continue driving, slow down, or some to a complete stop. Consider traffic lights as an analogy for how to consider opportunities when on an interview.
Questions an Employer Can Ask You
- Are you eligible to work in the United States?
- Can you tell us about your experience working with or leading diverse groups of people?
- Can you please expand on what aspect of our diversity statement resonated with you? (If you brought this up to them earlier.)
- What languages do you speak or write fluently? (If the job requires being bilingual.)
While the employer cannot ask you about their religious background, they can share with you the required work schedule to avoid conflicts with holidays or other observances.
Questions an Employer May Ask, but Proceed with Caution
- Where are you from?
This is sometimes asked after a rapport has been established between you and the interviewer. It can be a great way to get to know you, but at times to get more information about your background.
Questions an Employer Is Not Allowed to Ask
- Are you married?
- How old are you?
- Do you have any children?
- What country are you from?
- Where is your family from?
- Do you have any disabilities?
Compensation and Benefits
This conversation around salary and benefits is usually brought up during the second round of interviews. For specific information on this topic, see our Salary Negotiation Guide. Additional information on benefits is often included during the job offer, when the employer discusses in more detail. This is when you can learn about things such as workplace accommodations, family and medical leave, and other benefits.
Make as many helpful connections as possible
It’s great to seek out alumni who worked at or currently work at an organization you’ll be interviewing with. They can provide you with information about their experience. Emerge and LinkedIn are great resources for building your network for this purpose.
Companies are a work in progress
No two companies address DEI in the same way. Keep that in mind when on the interview and asking about the committees, programs, and initiatives established.
Establish your career community outside of work
Your employer is one of the many ways you can address and advocate for diversity and inclusion. This is both for yourself and for others. Follow thought leaders and organizations whose sole purpose is DEI, as well as Emerson alumni in the field.