Diversity and Inclusion manager is a key job role in modern organizations as they are responsible for driving the D&I agenda of the organization and aligning these to the business needs. Recruiting for this role is not easy since there are no specific technical qualifications or courses one needs to look out for.
D&I managers however need to display some critical behavioral competencies and have relevant experience to perform their role effectively. Here are 4 key areas of experience to look out for in a Diversity and Inclusion Manager along with key interview questions to ask during the interview to gauge the competency.
- Experience with Diversity & Inclusion Policies
- A Diversity & Inclusion Manager’s key responsibility is to drive the D&I agenda of the organization. They should therefore have experience related to best practices and policies that organizations need to effectively drive the D&I policy.
- A key interview question to ask here is “Tell me about your experience with driving D&I policies. What were some of the D&I policies you introduced and how did they align with the business?”
- Understanding Business Imperatives
- A D&I Manager needs to drive the D&I agenda within the business context of the organization. They must therefore be aware of the business needs and future business vision. After all, policies and initiatives can run only if they support the business needs. Also, making the business case for diversity and inclusion needs a good understanding of the business itself.
- A key interview question to ask here is “What do you understand about our business? How do you see diversity and inclusion supporting our business needs?”
- Influencing and Negotiating Skills
- One of the key competencies of a D&I Manager is Influencing and Negotiating Skills. A D&I Manager needs to influence policies and decisions at the highest levels. They must be able to negotiate the best deal for the diversity and inclusion initiatives and get the buy-in of the C-suite leadership to drive the D&I initiatives. The D&I manager must be able to communicate effectively and think strategically and influence business leaders.
- A key interview question to ask here is – “How did you drive a buy-in from senior leadership in your previous organization? Give an example of a situation when getting a buy-in for a D&I initiative was particularly difficult. How did you go about achieving it?”
- Emotional Intelligence
- The role of a Diversity and Inclusion manager is a people centric role. D&I managers drive key people-related agendas, especially of under-represented groups. They also deal with leaders across levels to gain a buy-in and change people mindsets. This makes Emotional Intelligence a critical competency for a Diversity and Inclusion manager. Being empathetic to the needs of various diverse groups is very important to the success of the role. At the same time the resilience and perseverance to deal with setbacks is critical. The job of a D&I Manager is a tough one and often they don’t get their way. Such situations require them to display resilience to deal with setbacks and perseverance to get back up and not give up.
- A key interview question to ask here is “Tell me about a time when you had a major setback in driving your D&I agenda. How did you deal with it? What was your way forward?”
Along with this good communication skills and a passion for the job are crucial to the success of a Diversity and Inclusion Manager. These should be assessed with every question you ask. Getting the right candidate for the role is job half done. Spend some time in analyzing what the organization wants from the role and assess candidates accordingly.