Sample interview questions

The questions that follow are samples only, and do not constitute a required list. These are examples of ways to find out about an applicant's experience with supporting diverse environments, or her/his thinking about how to do so in a way that will be relevant to the functions of the job. Many of the questions are based on the principles of behavioral interviewing, which uses questions about specific past performance to predict future on-the-job performance. Some candidates have not encountered behavioral interview questions before, so be prepared to ask follow-up questions that encourage them to give specific examples rather than general responses.

These samples include a range of questions that might be asked of people applying for all kinds of positions at institution, with various levels of responsibility. Not every question is appropriate for every position. Please review the questions to see how they are designed, and see whether you find any that are particularly appropriate for the position you are filling. You may also write your own questions that are tailored to the needs of your unit.

  • (after giving them the university Mission Statement and drawing their attention to the section on the value of diversity) How has your background and experience prepared you to be effective in an environment that holds this value?
  • Tell me about a time that you adapted your style in order to work effectively with those who were different from you.
  • What kinds of experiences have you had in relating with people whose backgrounds are different than your own?
  • Can you recall a time when you gave feedback to a colleague who was not accepting of others?
  • Can you recall a time when a person's cultural background affected your approach to a work situation?
  • Have you ever realized you had said or done something that may have been offensive to a colleague? How did you respond to that realization, and what was the outcome?
  • Give examples of times when your values and beliefs impacted your relationships with your colleagues.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to adapt to a wide variety of people by accepting/understanding their perspectives.
  • In your experience, what are the challenges faced by members of historically underrepresented groups in the workplace? What strategies have you used to address these challenges, and how successful were those strategies?
  • What does it mean for you to have a commitment to diversity? How have you demonstrated that commitment, and how would you see yourself demonstrating it here?
  • Describe the climate for diversity at your present position. What impact have you had on that climate?
  • What efforts have you made, or been involved with, to foster multicultural understanding and cultural competence?
  • Have you encountered concerns about "chilly climate" raised by members of identity groups that have historically experienced discrimination? If so, how have you handled them?
  • What measures have you taken to make someone feel comfortable when some people seemed uncomfortable with his or her presence?
  • What have you done to further your knowledge/understanding about diversity? How have you demonstrated your learning?
  • Tell us how you work with people to create or foster diversity in the workplace.
  • In what ways have you integrated multicultural issues as part of your professional development?
  • What do you see as the most challenging aspects of an increasingly diverse academic community, and what steps have you taken to meet such challenges?
  • Suppose that you encounter a pervasive belief that diversity and excellence are somehow in conflict. How do you conceptualize the relationship between diversity and excellence? What kinds of leadership efforts would you undertake to encourage a commitment to excellence through diversity?
  • In what ways do you feel it is appropriate to incorporate topics related to diversity and (your discipline) into the classes you teach? How would you do this?
  • Has diversity played a role in shaping your teaching and advising styles? If so, how?
  • What is your vision of diversity at an institution like Oregon State University?
  • Describe a specific situation in which you worked with a diverse group of people over a period of time. Based on this experience, what did you learn?