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10 DEI Questions to Ask a Potential Employer

By Marbella Miller

As an employee, do you find it important to work for a company that values diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)? If your answer is "yes," then the good news is that you're not alone. In a recent CNBC/SurveyMonkey survey, nearly 80% of respondents said they wanted to work for a company that values DEI.

The good news doesn't stop there. In Gartner's 2022 Top HR Priorities report, DEI was listed as one of HR's Top 5 priorities for the year. So, employees and employers seem to be in alignment with what they consider to be important in the workplace.

That's great news, right? Yes... if you work for a company that walks the walk and isn't just talking the DEI talk.

Although research continues to show that companies with a strong DEI culture have higher rates of employee satisfaction, employee retention and employee engagement, not many companies have an effective strategy in place to execute and foster their DEI initiatives.

In the same CNBC/SurveyMonkey survey, it was also reported that 33% of workers said their organization is doing "a lot" of work on diversity and inclusion, another 37% said they are doing "some" work on DEI issues, whereas 14% said they're doing "just a little" and 12% said they are doing "none at all."

So, if you don't have a trusted inside source who can vouch for the company's active DEI efforts, how can you be sure they are in practice before accepting a position? Make it your job to uncover the truth during your interview.

Consider asking some of the following DEI-related questions to your potential employer, and ask the same ones you choose to anyone else you interview with to potentially unveil any conflicting information:

  1. How would you define diversity, equity and inclusion?
  2. What does DEI training look like at the company and how often is it?
  3. When and why were DEI initiatives instated?
  4. How diverse is the executive team?
  5. Does the company have DEI programs in place?
  6. How does the company encourage DEI to employees who don't think it's important?
  7. What actions have been taken to create an inclusive company culture?
  8. How does the company avoid inequities at work?
  9. How does the company encourage a culture that embodies DEI on a consistent basis?
  10. What steps will you take to eliminate bias in the office and from your hiring process?

Achieving DEI outcomes that change the culture requires participation and ongoing training from every level of employment at the company, a list of measurable and actionable goals and objectives, and the elimination of bias from hiring and promotions, among other things.

Don't wait until you've accepted a position to figure out if the company views DEI as a game of numbers or if they are actively working to implement a DEI program and put policies in place to ensure its success. Land a job that is rewarding to you with a company that finds DEI in the company culture as important as you do.