Equality and Diversity questions

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I have been asked onto an interview panel for a new employee for a small business whose managers are concerned (almost paranoid) about E&D issues.

What questions can/should we ask re candidtaes' attitudes to/experience of equality and diversity issues?
Geoff Roberts


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Hi Geoff

I would suggest that you take a look at the competence areas for the job you are interviewing for and ask questions linked to those to test what experience the applicant has in applying E&D "issues".

For example, if one area of competence is around communicating effectively you could ask something like "tell me about an occasion when you have had to modify a message to take account of the specific needs of the recipient". Follow up questions could include "how did you decide what modifications were necessary", "how successful were you", "what was the outcome", etc etc.

In the area of customer service, say, you could ask about experiences of dealing with customers who have been more challenging (but not in the awkward sense).

If the person is to be a manager you could ask the person to demonstrate competence in valuing all members of the team - "what have you done in your team to ensure all members are treated equally" or something to get them started.

This is just off the top of my head. I would be happy to chat if you like. My details can be found on my profile.

All the best


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I agree that this is a challenging area (and rightly so). My experience is that the first reaction is usually focused on disability and then widens to include ethnicity. The area most often ignored is sexual orientation, probably because it is perceived as being even more intrusive than the two areas mentioned above. Of the three general areas, my own view would be that prejudice (and this is after all what we're monitoring) is more easily concealed in relation to sexual orientation and therefore may deserve more attention in our EO and diversity policies.

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I agree with Jenny that asking behaviourial questions is the best technique (eg 'give me an example of when you have practiced equal opportunities/E & D').

This is much better than a theoretical question such as 'what do you understand by Equality & Diversity?' or hypothetical, such as 'how would you apply E & D?'

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