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Congratulations! You landed an interview for a job in DEI! 

So… now what?

In the past few years, many organizations have come to realize the bottom-line benefits of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Now, they’re hiring diversity professionals to help them create a tailored DEI strategy. In fact, from May to September 2020, DEI job postings increased 123%, according to Indeed. Yet, with increased job opportunities come the new challenges of preparing to interview for a role that may have never existed or that you have little experience performing.  

Here are our 5 top tips to prepare for your DEI job interview. 

1) Demonstrate a teacher’s mindset

The person on the other side of the table (or screen) may not have the expertise in DEI that you have. You may be faced with ambiguous questions or scenarios. The key to navigating these conversations is to keep in mind that everyone is on their own personal learning journey. The organization you’re talking with may be brand-new to DEI, but they are taking an important step by posting this diversity job. Meet them where they are without judgment.

2) Show your expertise

Certifications and courses provide the credibility that company execs and recruiters rely on. Many industries are hiring DEI leaders for the first time with little guidance on what to look for in a candidate. Your certifications are an easy way for a recruiter to benchmark your proficiency. For instance, consider enrolling in The Diversity Movement’s self-paced online course just for DEI practitioners, The Diversity Leader’s Blueprint to Strategy and Implementation

3) Speak the language

Using inclusive language throughout your interview is a powerful indicator of your understanding and good practice in this field. As you prepare for your interview, take advantage of our free guide to inclusive language: “Say This, Not That.” In particular, we suggest you rehearse correct terms for people-first language and gender inclusive pronouns. Understanding inclusive language around disabilities and accessibility is also critical. 

4) Make the business case

Realistically, every business will have someone who is not convinced by the human case for DEI. It is possible your interviewer might want to focus on time to value (TTV), return on investment (ROI) and/or the bottom-line benefits. As we call it, the ROI of DEI. No organization wants to miss out on potential top talent or lose existing high performers because they lack inclusion, but sometimes, the people who are interviewing you will need you to connect the dots for them and show how DEI impacts their business outcomes.

Here are some key facts you should know. Companies in the fourth quartile of ethnic and cultural diversity were 36% more profitable compared to companies in the first quartile, according to McKinsey’s “Diversity Wins 2020” report. The same study noted that the most gender-diverse companies performed 48% better than those that were not gender diverse. And the job review platform Glassdoor found that 67% of job applicants use diversity as a strong factor when considering companies and job offers. 

5) Map their journey through data

This organization realizes there is a need for change but doesn’t know how to manage it. To convince them you’re the right candidate for the work, you may want to gather and analyze metrics regarding the organization’s current employee population and their sentiments regarding inclusion. Look online to see what data you can find about their specific organization or about their industry at large. 

Ultimately, you are the diversity professional. By demonstrating your expertise and empathy to the interviewer, you are showing the value you can add to the organization. With some preparation and research, you can outline a viable path to creating a diverse and inclusive environment at this organization. While the journey may be difficult at times, this is the work that is necessary to create sustainable and systemic change and reap the benefits of diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Ok. Go get started! And good luck on the interview. Your DEI colleagues at The Diversity Movement wish you all the best.