We propose a series of questions that we recommend you ask in the interview alongside your wider competency and values/behavior questions to unearth the schema your potential future D&I Lead uses in thinking and doing when it comes to inclusion work.
First off though, it’s worth saying that the very act of creating a D&I Lead where there was none does not in and of itself do anything. It is not absolution, an ointment, redemption, or a remedy for times gone past. It doesn’t even mean that the future is bright. Further, in our experience, it’s generally unreasonable to have just one person solely responsible for this endeavor. If you’re a small organization, all the more reason that building equity into the organization should be everyone’s priority, and if you’re a large organization, a team will be necessary by definition to develop the path so that it is also everyone’s priority. In the latter context, we can only see how one person may be sufficient if there are plans to build out a team, or their role is to embed the practices of inclusion and equity into the wider organization within a certain period and they are spearheading that process.
What are some of the conditions that set up a role like this to possibly / make a difference? A few thoughts include, though this isn’t an exhaustive list, that the role:
- Reports to the executive level of the company
- Has a dedicated budget and resource
- Has an explicit mandate and authorization to move to action
- Has a team of people and is working in coalition with them and other stakeholders in the first instance
Then we need the person in the role to have the necessary skills and capacities to drive change. While passion is essential for this role — as it is for many others in an organization — be weary of passion alone. Any ‘expertise’ (and what this involves is of course a site of contention) in subject matter is often downplayed in D&I roles, instead, they often over-index for project management skills and enthusiasm in general.
As such, we propose a series of questions that we recommend you ask in the interview alongside your wider competency and values/behavior questions to unearth the schema your potential future D&I Lead uses in thinking and doing when it comes to inclusion work.
Question 1: Please explain to us how you conceive of and understand a system of oppression to operate.
Question 2: Can you share with us some of the ideas at the root of anti-semitism? Now can you share with us some of the ideas at the root of cissexism?
Question 3: We would like to offer you a scenario. You’re speaking to a colleague in our Singapore office about our thinking and action when it comes to challenging anti-black racism. Your colleague says that they do not think that anti-black racism — because it’s an American issue, given that’s where the epicenter of the recent uprisings was— is relevant to people in South East Asia. They propose that perhaps if there are any workshops rolled out on the issue, other more salient issues for the region could be the focus instead.
How would you respond?
Question 4: In reflecting on a generic or traditional recruitment process what are some of the ways that we can build equity into it?
Question 5: Please share with us a key text related to inclusion equity and/or justice that has shaped your thinking and how it’s informed your thinking too.
Question 7: We are thinking about rolling out mandatory 60 mins unconscious bias training for the whole company. What are some of the reasons why we shouldn’t do this?