When one is asked a question regarding what it means to be inclusive, it means that their opinion is being sought on this fundamental matter. This is not a question that one often faces during interviews.
However, employers worldwide are focusing a lot on being inclusive and trying to make their workplaces safe and accommodating for everyone.
Hence, if you are faced with the question of “what does diversity mean to you” during an interview, you need to focus on working in an environment with people from all races, cultures, ethnicities, and socio-economic backgrounds together.
You might not have worked in a diverse environment before for several reasons.
You might be a novice, and you have never worked in an office set-up before, or the location of your precious office was such that it offered little scope for multiculturalism.
If they face you with this interview question, you should be able to answer it confidently.
Why Do Interviewers Ask, “What Does Diversity Mean to You Interview Question?”
Your recruiters want to know whether you are comfortable working with people from all walks of life. That will show your flexible and reasonable communication skills to interact with people from multicultural backgrounds.
Employers who want to promote an unbiased work environment and keep their employees safe from racial or gender discrimination will ask this question when hiring new employees.
You might be faced with different versions of this question during the interview. Other variations of this question are:
- Do you think diversity is essential in a workplace?
- Why is it important for a workplace to support inclusivity and diversity?
- What does equality mean to you, and how would you ensure it in your workplace if you were a manager or a supervisor?
- How will you handle clients and customers from diverse backgrounds?
Your hiring managers will measure your interpersonal skills well when you answer this question. It shows that you are a team player, willing to overlook any differences in the company’s well-being and that you are unbiased and accommodating.
How Should You Answer, “What Does Diversity Mean to You?”
Diversity is an important issue, and you should consider it before appearing for the interview. After all, there have been increased reports of intolerance from workplaces worldwide, regardless of the employee policies against discrimination of any kind.
If you believe in diversity, you can answer the question from your own experiences and talk about the positive aspects of working in diverse backgrounds, then do so.
You can talk about age diversity, gender and sexual orientation diversity, national diversity, and disability diversity. As long as one is efficient at their jobs and has the relevant expertise, their backgrounds should not matter.
Here are some points to keep in mind while answering this question.
1. Define Diversity in Your Own Words
Start with your understanding of what diversity is. Define it yourself and talk about how it applies to the workplace.
Talk about why a diverse background can bring about multiple perspectives, which can help in problem-solving for the entire team.
No matter where the clients and customers are, the workplace will always have someone who will understand their needs and will address the issues accordingly.
It will increase the real-life work experience of all the team members and will cater to clients and customers from all across the world, giving the organization global exposure as well.
2. Explain How Diversity Can be Invaluable in a Workplace
Next, you can discuss why diversity can be valuable for a workplace. For example, it will make the team members more flexible and receptive to the other’s point of view. It can also instill compassion and understanding for others who follow different ways of life.
However, constantly interacting with them can provide new information and knowledge. It can help broaden an employee’s scope of thinking, making them eager to learn more.
The employee can learn new vocabulary while working with colleagues from diverse backgrounds, which can be used later while interacting with customers and clients from similar backgrounds.
Providing examples of how diversity can help solve problems will be a bonus. For example, you can discuss how the team could not move past a particular situation. However, a colleague from another ethnic background helped them understand the issue’s relevance for the people of a specific community.
This allowed the team to address the problem from another angle. Further research led to many cultural discoveries that helped them make a mark on the global platform.
3. Greater Solidarity Among Employees
An organization is only as strong as its employees. When they are plagued with racial or gender discrimination, it can cause plummeting mental health. This will directly impact their quality of work, and they will perform poorly for no fault.
A diverse workplace, where everyone is open and accepting of each other, creates a strong sense of belonging among the employees.
They are in solidarity with colleagues from various backgrounds and cherish and respect their employers for building a workplace that is mindful of their wellbeing and makes them feel welcome.
With employers hiring from a global talent pool, promoting a diverse workplace is very important so they do not lose out on the best talent.
If you show you agree with the idea and can be a valuable part of the team, you will be much closer to landing the job.
4. Relate It to The Position You are Applying For
While answering this question in the interview it would be best if you could relate the issue of diversity with the position you are applying for.
Not only will it show that you are a team player but also that you have a good understanding of why being diverse can improve you and could mean growth for your career.
For example, if you apply to work in a restaurant, you can discuss the importance of having a diverse menu. It could be a comfortable haven for customers living far away from their home country as they revisit their cuisine.
It could promote the business as the restaurant would become a hit among clients from various nationalities and those who want to try different cuisines.
You can relate the issue of diversity with any position that you might be applying for.
How to Answer “What Diversity Means to You” in Various Kinds of Positions (with Examples)
Depending on what job and position you are applying for, here are some sample answers to help you respond to the question. You can customize the responses to suit your role.
1. Medicine and Health
If you are applying for the role of a doctor or nurse, you must be open about working with people from diverse backgrounds.
You can say that according to the Hippocratic oath, you will not discriminate between your patients and colleagues based on their experiences and will always uphold it.
You will ensure that you will provide the best possible health care to your patients from every walk of life and will not let their skin color, age, language, ethnicity, race, gender, or sexual orientation come in the way of your service.
While teaching in a school, college, or university, you must not differentiate between your students based on their backgrounds. As an educator, you will come across students from various walks of life.
You will make all your students feel loved and grow up to be confident young individuals under your care and guidance.
You will also set an example in front of other students by being inclusive and showing them how to be compassionate and accepting towards their classmates. Thus, you will help them become global citizens, free from biases.
3. Customer Service Executive
As a customer service executive, they expect you to cater to customers from all walks of life. They have diverse backgrounds, and not all have the same understanding of how a product or service could work for them.
Respecting people from other communities, cultures, and countries is essential, especially if the organization has a global presence. Many customers might not speak English, so patience is necessary while communicating with them.
This can only happen when you have an intrinsic interest in your customers, no matter their background, and you can tell your employer that you will do all possible to improve their experience.
Moreover, you are also willing to expose yourself to various cultures to communicate with your global customers more efficiently.
The transport industry sees people from all kinds of cultural backgrounds. Be it travelers from different countries coming for a vacation or truck drivers crossing international borders to deliver goods and items, people working in this sector frequently cross paths with people from multicultural backgrounds.
You can talk about how you can use translation tools to help them understand better during communication so they can travel safely.
5. Hospitality Industry
The hospitality industry has to accommodate people from all over the world. People working in this sector must welcome everyone, irrespective of their race, gender, ethnicity, or mother tongue.
They have to cater to their needs, especially those of the disabled. If you are applying for a job in this industry, you must be ready to work in a diverse setting.
It would be best if you prepared yourself to handle queries and explain things to people from other nationalities. At the same time, you also need to respect their culture and make them feel comfortable.
You can talk about how you look forward to gaining a global perspective and meeting new people through your job.
Being diverse requires one to possess an open mind. Simply stating that one favors diversity in a workplace is not enough. At a point, you have to prove this through your actions.
Whether you support your colleagues from diverse backgrounds and will promote inclusiveness in the workplace is something that your actions will show.
If your actions speak otherwise, your employers will understand that you are not as inclusive as you claimed to be in the interview, which can work against you.
Please do not confuse it with adding variety to the workplace, or do not say that diversity is not that important. Hence, you must understand the generosity of the question and frame your response accordingly.
Also Read: Is Recruitment A Good Job?