What Is Your Leadership Approach to Managing Diverse Teams and Being Sensitive to and Inclusive of All Your Staff?

Don’t answer this question by simply spouting off the talking points from your last diversity training. You need to show your interviewers how your values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice play out in the workplace, says Tameka Nikki Andrews, who has managed teams in nonprofits, tech, finance, and advertising; has extensive experience with DEI work; and is now the founder of the creative consulting agency Flannel and Blade. As a manager, you might supervise employees across spectrums of gender, race, sexuality, age, class, and more, Andrews says. So she says companies want to know: “How are you going to make sure that your own biases and narratives don’t negatively impact the way you manage people?” and “How do you effectively create a healthy and productive…team, when everyone is so different from one another?”

As a manager, it is your responsibility to be self-aware and educated on DEI best practices in hiring, performance reviews, and conflict management. “We’ve all seen what can happen if you don’t educate yourself on DEI as a leader,” Andrews says. Leaders with unexamined unconscious biases perpetuate the passing over and/or silencing of people of color, the stealing of ideas (usually by men from women), and the proliferation of microaggressions ranging from sexually inappropriate to racially insensitive comments, to name a few.

Tell a story about how you helped people work across differences by building bridges to different perspectives and communication styles, or tell a story about how you learned about differences through making a mistake.

Do not explain that you don’t pay much attention to these issues because you are “colorblind,” are more focused on hitting goals, or were taught to tolerate other people’s opinions—even if those opinions are harmful to others.