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September 5, 2019
Common Interview Questions You Never Realized Were Turning Off Diverse Candidates
Alex Csedrik

Spending time with only qualified candidates is the dream. To make this fantasy become a reality, your team employs several pre-interview screen questions to filter out applicants that don’t fit the criteria.

These questions, unfortunately, may include ones you never realized were turning off qualified diverse candidates. Here are two examples, along with tips to rethink them that’ll help you attract top minority talent.

What Is Your GPA? 

These four words can have a huge impact. 

Organizations use GPA to try to assess early-career applicants’ future success, but using this criterion disproportionately knocks out lower socioeconomic qualified candidates. According to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, 47 percent of college students who work more than 15 hours per week have a C average or lower. Asking these and other students what their GPA is will unfairly hurt their chances of being hired.

Instead of using GPA to filter out candidates, you can use an applicant’s proficiency in the role’s requisite skills. If you’re hiring a graphic designer, for example, you can ask candidates, “How would you rank your skill level in Adobe Creative Suite?” Anyone who ranks intermediate and above can be considered for the position and could perhaps qualify for a skills assessment.

How Committed Are You To This Role And Organization?

You want candidates that are invested in their role—and your company. If your team asks early-career talent to commit to more than 15 hours per week during the semester, however, it removes a lot of female candidates from your hiring process. In fact, a New York-based tech company found that female candidates were twice as likely to say they’re unavailable to fulfill the 15-40 hours per week requirement while also attending school.

Your organization should instead offer flexibility. Your team can say, “Can you commit to 300 hours throughout one or two semesters?” This gives candidates the option to intern while also understanding they have other responsibilities.

If your team reworks these two knockout questions, their dream of spending time with only qualified candidates will come true—and with more top diverse talent, too.

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