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  • RMEQ

Interviewing for an Inclusive Manager & Team

Have you ever worked for a manager who inspired you to bring your entire authentic self to work, reinforcing fairness and respect regarding gender identity and sexual orientation? Have you worked for a manager who created and reinforced an inclusive space for teams to do their best work? 

Looking back on an exciting and challenging career, my most fulfilling roles were working for managers who created a positive, inclusive space for teams to collaborate, made efforts to hear every team member, built trust, and supported teams to make decisions. These managers had deep self-awareness, integrity and respect for others.

My most unfulfilling roles were in cultures where managers weren’t held accountable to company values, put their personal selfish interests first, and didn’t support and invest in their employees. In these situations, having the courage to speak up about doing the right things didn’t always go well for me, although the truth is, it strengthened me.

My earliest memory was in 6th grade where my report card said, “Jennifer is a leader for the good and the not so good.” Questioning a religious leader was not my proudest moment. But that was just the beginning. I developed the skill to articulate unfair or biased treatment in an appropriate way in support of fairness and respect for individuals. This skill is also critical for me to have in a manager.

You deserve to be in an inclusive and psychologically safe workplace. So, what do you look for and ask about when interviewing the hiring manager and team members? These interview examples can be restated whether asking a manager or team member.

  • Commitment Inclusive managers are committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment. 

  • Please share an example of when you took action to build a diverse and inclusive team. 

  • Tell me about a time you led a team and encouraged different points of view. What did you do? What was the outcome?

  • Please share an example where you built trust within your team. What action did you take? What was the response from your team?

  • Courage Highly inclusive leaders display courage by challenging the status quo, their colleagues and even themselves. They utilize bold yet respectful questioning. 

  • Please share an example when you questioned business practices to improve diversity and inclusion in your organization. What did you do and what was the result?

  • Tell me about a time you owned one of your mistakes at work. Who was your audience and how did you handle it? What was the outcome?

  • Please share an example where your manager was open to respectful questioning from team members. What did your manager say and do?

  • Cognizance of bias — Being aware of and concerned for blind-spots that a manager may have lays the groundwork for inclusive leadership. While everyone carries unconscious bias, learning to recognize bias and take responsibility can foster change.

  • What is your experience and training with unconscious bias?

  • Please share an example of a time you realized you had bias in a business decision and how did you handle it? What was the outcome?

  • It is common to have affinity bias in the hiring process. Please share a time where you realized you were favoring a candidate who was more like you. What did you do and how did you handle it?

  • Collaboration — An inclusive leader builds collaborative teams secure enough to share a variety of ideas in a respectful way. Inclusive colleagues value your contributions, show you respect and support you through difficult work situations. 

  • Please describe a project or task that required you to collaborate with others to meet the deliverable. Explain your role and approach to do this. What was the response from your teammates?

  • What methods have you used to understand the diverse thinking style of team members?

  • Please share an example where you facilitated a conflict between team members. What was your role and what did you say or do? What was the outcome?

Remember, this is your opportunity to interview a company, manager, and team as much as they are interviewing you for optimal fit. Managers influence career experiences and play a big role in work assignments, success, and career growth. Preparing well for the interview process will position you to be more comfortable and confident during the interviews. This should enable you to watch for things like use of pronouns, inclusive language, body language during inclusion topics, generalizations and labeling, and openness to continual learning. We are moving into a time where employees are looking for more stability and you deserve to work in an inclusive and trusting environment where you can thrive.


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