Creating a workplace culture of belonging where employees are empowered to be their authentic selves and diverse perspectives are leveraged to enhance decisions requires leaders and employees to practice inclusive behaviors every day. If your organization is dedicated to building a culture of belonging, ensure new hires contribute to this goal by evaluating candidates for inclusive behaviors during the interview process.
Inclusive behaviors are fundamental competencies that help people work together in a diverse environment by embracing diversity as an asset. Demonstrating inclusive behaviors doesn’t mean you are an expert in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Instead, individuals who demonstrate inclusive behaviors are willing to:
- Acknowledge that they look at the world through their own life experiences and recognize when their attitudes and beliefs may influence their actions and decisions.
- Be humble to appreciate the limits of their personal experiences and acknowledge that they sometimes may be wrong.
- Approach life with genuine curiosity about others to replace their assumptions and biases with empathy and understanding.
- Seek understanding even when faced with differing opinions.
- Vocalize their commitment to DEI and hold themselves and others accountable for supporting belonging for all.
- Extend grace to themselves and others, recognizing that no one is perfect and everyone is prone to making mistakes when engaging across differences.
When interviewing candidates, use the following questions to gain insights into inclusive competencies and commitment to belonging candidates bring to your organization:
- How has your education or previous work experience prepared you for collaborating with a diverse population?
- Can you share an example of a time when you actively sought feedback on your behavior? How did you use that feedback to improve?
- Can you share an experience where you sought to understand and appreciate differing opinions, especially when they were contrary to your own? How did you handle the situation?
- Describe a time when you sought diverse perspectives or alternative information sources to inform a decision. What approach did you take and what was the outcome?
- Share a situation where you worked with someone holding a significantly different viewpoint. How did you handle it?
- In a team setting, how do you encourage and foster an environment where everyone feels valued and included, considering the diverse backgrounds and perspectives of team members?
- How would you address a situation where a colleague displayed cultural insensitivity, sexism, racism, or homophobia?
- How have you demonstrated your commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in previous roles? Can you provide examples of actions you’ve taken to support belonging for all?
By incorporating these thoughtful and probing questions into the interview process, you can ensure your organization is not just hiring for skills but for a genuine commitment to fostering a culture of belonging. As you welcome new hires who embody these inclusive behaviors and a sincere commitment to DEI, you’ll be sure to accelerate and sustain your workplace culture transformation efforts.