Three Questions To Ask Candidates To Determine Their Diversity & Inclusion Value Add


It is no secret the public sector has been facing the challenge of a declining diverse workforce in recent years. Naturally, Australians expect the public service sector should reflect the diversity of the country’s population. Debates about our political structures’ diversity has led to government agencies developing and publicising Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) strategies, key to rebuilding trust and confidence in the government.

According to the OECD organisation, there seems to be growing consensus among OECD countries (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) that pursuing diversity may enhance core public service values such as fairness, transparency, and impartiality. Hence, policies to improve D&I strategies have started taking shape. A concern is that this level of diversity is only skin deep. 


For D&I to have any long-lasting effect, it needs to speak directly to the DNA of an organisation.  

Employees are the heart of every business. It is all well and good to aspire to build an inclusive culture which values differences, however, if your employees are not the embodiment of this core value, then no matter how strategic you are in your processes and how successful you are at increasing your diversity metrics, your D&I strategy may fail.

Looking at a candidate and ticking a box based on their skin colour does not encompass the entirety of diversity. For example, recruiters need to ask the right questions to candidates – looking beyond particular attributes – to determine their diversity and inclusion value add. 


Top three questions to determine D&I value add

By bringing this dimension to their diversity strategy, recruiters and talent acquisition managers will not only increase diversity statistics of their workforce, they will build a workforce which fully embodies the Commonwealth’s core value of D&I. 

Here are three questions to uncover whether candidates will support or hinder your organisation’s efforts to build a welcoming and supportive environment. 


1. Describe your understanding of diversity and inclusion and why it is important?

This is a great question to deep dive into the candidate’s broader understanding of these concepts. Employers can decipher whether or not the candidate grasps each term’s true meaning and whether they see merit and a commitment to them in the workplace.



2. Please provide an example of how you have demonstrated a commitment to diversity in a prior role?

This question will indicate how proactive the candidate will be in creating an inclusive and belonging culture. Our aim here is to know the candidate won’t just be a passive bystander,  they will actively help make the environment a welcoming environment where everyone feels supported to contribute and positive about their opportunities within the organisation.



3. Can you give us an example of a time when you worked with or helped somebody of a different culture or background to your own? 

Assessors can gauge how the candidate is likely to behave based on their past actions. This is specifically aimed at assessing the candidate’s ability to translate their values and beliefs into action.

D&I is a multidimensional concept which needs to be treated as such within hiring processes if public service is to experience any true, long-lasting workforce diversification and belonging. Recruiters and talent acquisition managers are encouraged to look beyond the colour of an applicant’s skin complexion and background. The public sector must bring in talent that aligns with their commitment to D&I. The right questions will give the assessor insight into the candidate’s values, beliefs and likeliness to act in ways which support D&I. 

If you need some guidance shaping your screening process, get in touch with us at Alcami Interactive to request a personalised demo.