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Sample Questions

To best utilize these questions, we recommend that hiring committees spend time answering the questions as a group to identify how to differentiate between strong answers that demonstrate depth and experience and answers that simply utilize buzzwords. It is important for consistency that each candidate receive the same questions.



  • Please share an example that demonstrates your respect for people and their differences; and how you’ve worked to understand the perspectives of others?
  • Provide an example of a time you communicated a concept to an individual who spoke English as a second language.
  • What does social justice mean to you? How do you incorporate this principle in your work?
  • What is your definition of a diverse student population?
  • What strategies have you employed in working with a diverse staff?
  • The University has a diverse workforce (in terms of ethnicity, class, culture, language, sexual orientation, disability, and beyond). Can you tell us about your experience working with and serving such a diverse population?
  • What do you see as the most challenging aspect of a diverse working environment? What steps have you taken to meet this challenge?
  • What tools/techniques do you bring for promoting collaboration among underrepresented groups?
  • What behaviors, techniques, or decisions allow you to function most effectively as a provider or employee when working with a highly diverse student population? How do you define "diversity" in the workplace?
  • Please describe experiences you have had leading campus outreach activities for underserved student populations (e.g., developing and leading workshops, providing consultation to student service departments).


  • What do you see as the fundamental characteristics of organizations that create an inclusive environment?

Scenario-Based Questions

Write up case studies or scenarios related to equity and justice for candidates to respond to.  Allow candidates time to read the case study and write their answers out to then present to the hiring committee.  Support the introvert in not having to respond immediately on the spot, and allow for answers to demonstrate more depth of experience.

Hiring authorities could also invite candidates to bring samples or evidence of work that supports their involvement with social justice and equity (program reports, press coverage, etc.).  This could also be discussed at some point in the interview.  Instructions should be vague to allow for all types of representations (poem, keynote speech, etc.).


When assessing whether an applicant is open and committed to issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), a candidate should:

  • Demonstrate an understanding and acceptance of equity, inclusion and diversity concepts, and that they are broader than just race, ethnicity, and gender
  • Demonstrate self-awareness, in terms of understanding their own culture, identity, biases, prejudices, power, privilege and stereotypes
  • Demonstrate awareness of generational differences in work styles
  • Demonstrate willingness to challenge and change institutional practices that present barriers to different groups
  • Infuse equity, inclusion and diversity concepts in response to questions not directly prompting for them
  • Able to provide concrete examples and/or experiences relating to DEI
  • Use inclusive language.
  • Seem comfortable discussing issues related to DEI
  • Indicate experience, commitment, and/or willingness to promote issues related to DEI
  • Share successful experiences working with underrepresented populations.

If interviewing for a management position:

  • Demonstrate recognition that diversity and inclusion are threaded through every aspect of management
  • Create a culture of belonging where all team members feel valued Add

Campus core competencies for inclusiveness:

  • Show respect for people and their differences; promotes fairness and equity.
  • Engage the talents, experiences, and capabilities of others.
  • Foster a sense of belonging; works to understand the perspectives of others.
  • Create opportunities for access and success.

Assessment Activity: Take some time to complete the following activity to help integrate what you have learned in this section.

  • Draft two DEI questions that align with the position and competency levels described in this guide that will be asked during your phone or in-person interview.
  • What would be the ideal answer to each question?
  • Share your questions and ideal answers with your hiring committee

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