Diversity Interview Do's and Don'ts

Diversity Interview Do's and Don'ts

Finding a job depends on a successful interview.  You may arrive to the interview early with a polished resume in hand and a bright smile, however, pre-employment interviews are used to filter out applicants from being considered for employment. Interviewers are looking for any reason to reduce their candidate pool to just a few.  Therefore, as a diversity candidate, making a solid first impression is vital. To increase your chances of impressing the interviewer and possibly landing the position, there are several things to keep in mind. Below are six interview tips to help you prepare for that special day.

Make sure your voice mail greeting sounds professional

Once you provide a potential employer with your resume, you should always be prepared to get a call, even if you never actually receive it. Recording loud, weird or obscene music on your voice greeting is a recipe for being rejected by your ideal potential employer. Recording clever messages that impress friends and family will often fail to impress a hiring manager or human resources representative. Record a professional greeting and have others listen to it to critique its professionalism.

Always adhere to a professional dress code

Some people believe that dress is not an important factor during an interview. More often than not, inappropriate attire will spell the end of your interview before it even begins. For example, a gentleman resisting the temptation to wear a tie and nice slacks can expect to fail the interview, while a man with sagging pants should expect unfavorable results. At the same time, a woman who is unable to sit properly due to her tiny, inappropriate skirt can most likely expect not to get a call back after the interview. Researching your company of choice to learn the recommended attire will help you prepare to meet the interviewer(s) expectations.

You have no obligation to discuss your age

Equal Opportunity and diversity policies prohibit employers from discriminating against prospective employees due to their age, as long as the individual meets the minimum age requirement. Your date of birth is usually requested on job applications; however, you have no obligation to discuss your age during the interview. Additionally, any age-related question asked during the interview to discourage you from employment is unlawful.

You have no obligation to discuss your religion

Unless the company interviewing you is not a religious institution, there is no need to discuss your church, religion or beliefs. Your ability to work and your reliability are totally unrelated to your religion, unless you are unable to work during “regular” work hours due to your religion. In addition, employers have a reasonable expectation to accommodate their applicants and employees’ religious beliefs as long as it doesn’t result in undue hardship to the company.

Questions regarding your mental state are not appropriate

In an interview, employers are not allowed to ask questions related to your psychiatric condition or any psychiatric disabilities that you may have. This includes questions which could cause you to reveal more information regarding various conditions such as depression (major), anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia and other mental impairments. Generally, an employer can discuss your mental state if you desire accommodations for your disability, if you notified the employer of it during the application process or the interview.

Resist discussing your race and ethnic background during the interview

One of the biggest challenges to diversity interviews is the issue of color and race. Although companies are legally allowed to request race during the pre-employment stage, race is considered a protected status and often contributes to claims of an applicant being discriminated against. Race is disclosed on an application to help employers implement affirmative action plans or to meet diversity requirements as mandated by the organization or the law. This information cannot be used to discriminate against individuals on basis of race alone and discussing your race during an interview should be avoided.

In conclusion, a general rule of thumb is to stick with job-related questions only during the interview. Your age, race, disabilities and religion are mostly likely not related to the healthcare job that you are applying and interviewing for. Taking the time to research the organizations in which you applied will help you prepare for the interview with the proper attire and an optimal mindset. Keeping these interview tips in mind will skyrocket your chances of nailing that diversity interview!