Test Double performs an EDI & Culture interview for every management and executive position.
It helps us determine whether a candidate will add value to our culture and helps candidates decide whether they want to be part of that culture.
An interview specific to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion — aka an EDI interview — can uncover so many aspects of a person, even some the candidates hadn’t considered before.
Spoiler Alert! It can be intimidating for all parties involved. But don’t despair! There are ways to set everyone up for success.
Here’s an overview of our EDI interview process — including why we perform this kind of interview, the kinds of questions we ask and my advice to help you prepare for an EDI interview, whether you’re the interviewer or the job candidate.
To be fully transparent, Test Double holds these interviews for all management positions to ensure equitable and inclusive experiences for all employees who report to these leaders. Our software consultant candidates receive EDI questions throughout the qualification process instead of a separate interview. This allows us to gain insight without adding an additional interview to their process.
(Wonder why we call it EDI instead of the more widely known term of DEI? We switched a few years ago to clarify our strategy and put equity first. Read more about that change here.)
In order for Test Double to be more equitable, diverse, and inclusive, the folks with the most reach and influence here have to want that, too.
I need to know that they do more than care. I need to know they involve themselves in creating more equitable, diverse, and inclusive spaces because many of the same people who say they care deeply about antiracism are often the same people who perpetuate it.
Unsure about that last statement? Read Hannah L. Drake’s Dear White Women, It’s Not You. It’s Me. I’m Breaking Up With You!: Commentaries on Race, White Feminism, Allyship and Intersectionality.
If you aren’t sure what questions to ask, a quick Google search will yield lots of great results. Questions that appear consistently are probably worth considering.
Please pay attention to your resources. If all of your results are written by white people like me, you are missing out on very important perspectives.
A few tips I’ve picked up from the books and bloggers I’ve read:
- Ask questions about candidates’ lived experiences instead of “what if” questions.
- Ask questions that are similar in nature to surface patterns of behavior.
- Ask all candidates the same questions. This is best practice anyway as it gives everyone a more equitable experience.
- Be direct. If you want to know if someone has learned from an EDI mistake they’ve made, ask them.
First: To set everyone up for success, let candidates know at the start of the interview that everyone is asked the same questions. This avoids a scenario where candidates feel singled out based on their identity markers.
Second: Most bad answers aren’t overt. Candidates won’t say they are against diversity. You have to be aware enough of the behaviors people who don’t want to participate in improving diversity exhibit and provide opportunities for candidates to exhibit those behaviors. Likewise, be aware of behaviors folks who care about diversity exhibit and provide opportunities for candidates to exhibit those. Ask what someone does instead of what they think. When asking what they do to improve inclusivity, there’s a big difference between, “I believe everyone should be treated with respect” (describes no awareness or action ) and “my boss kept referring to Chris using the wrong pronouns. I took my boss aside, brought it to her attention,and reminded her how important it is to use correct pronouns” (describes awareness and action).
Third: As an interviewer, be fully aware of your capabilities and boundaries. Who you are and what you look like as an interviewer matters. People who aren’t a great fit here are often the same people who are likely to say things to me in an interview they wouldn’t say to a white man.
Unsure about that statement? Read Ijeoma Oluo’s Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy Of White Men in America.
Finally: It does get easier. Words cannot express how embarrassed I felt the first time I asked a Black woman about her antiracism practices. Ask enough times, though, and you’ll get over it.
This type of interview requires a lot of emotional labor. You need to be able to keep your mouth shut when what you really want to do is close your laptop and scream. There have been times I have left an interview angry. There are times I have left feeling sad for every person who reported to a candidate.
I’ve been disrespected in ways my male colleagues have not. My Black female colleague has been disrespected in ways I have not. Supporting your interviewers, and believing them when they share their experiences, is paramount. If you don’t support your interviewers, especially those who are most likely to be disrespected, you are not ready to hold this interview.
Every company is going to be looking for folks who add value to their unique culture.
If you’re a job candidate here at Test Double, my best advice to prepare for our EDI interview is to be honest.
One of our values is always improving. You will be asked about your mistakes and what you’ve learned from them. You will be asked for details regarding your lived experiences. You will likely be asked questions you have never been asked in an interview before.
There is a good chance this is going to be jarring and awkward. I can’t make all of that go away.
What I can do is reassure you that there’s a purpose to all of this: enabling Test Double to hire people who will add the most value to our culture and to set our folks up for success.