Search committees should use standardized interview questions for all candidates. If other groups are interviewing candidates on campus, search committees should ensure that other groups are using standardized questions as well.
Questions should be behaviorally based. Search committees and others should not ask questions pertaining to a protected status. The most common illegal questions include questions about children and marriage, religion, disability/health, and sexual orientation.
More Information about Interview Questions
Search committees should ask all candidates about their experience working with diverse populations or working toward equity and inclusion. The “diversity” question should not be asked by search committee members who are visibly marked as marginalized. Examples of questions that assess diversity competencies include the following:
- Please describe a time you actively worked to create a campus environment that is welcoming and inclusive for everyone.
- Describe how you consider the diversity of your audience prior to communicating with them. What factors influence your communication?
- We have a diverse workforce and serve those from diverse backgrounds, including faculty, staff, and students of color, individuals from other countries, individuals with disabilities, veterans, women, LGBTQ+ individuals, impoverished or homeless individuals, and people with diverse religious backgrounds. Can you speak to a time where you worked with diverse individuals and how you approached it?
- Tell us about a time when you sought to improve the work (learning) environment to better meet the needs of a diverse (student) population.
- Tell us about a time when you changed your style to work more effectively with a person who was different than you.
- How have you sought opportunities to improve the workplace or learning environment for individuals who are historically marginalized?
- Tell us about a time you took responsibility for an action that someone may have found offensive. How did you take ownership and what was the outcome?
- Describe a situation where you needed to use your skills in multiculturalism to solve a problem.
- How have you integrated multiculturalism into your professional development?
- What do you see as the most challenging aspect of working in a diverse environment?
- Describe a time when you observed someone being insensitive to another person in the workplace. How did you handle the situation?
- Talk about a time when you wanted to diversify curriculum or a program that you implemented. What steps did you take to ensure it was inclusive?
- Describe a time when you ensured that an event, program, or workplace meeting was accessible for all participants. What steps did you take to consider accessibility in preparing for it?
The answer to diversity-based competency should be taken into account just like all other competencies when making recommendations. We encourage search committees to discuss what an exceptional answer to these questions looks like.