_NIKON D5100_20150524_6750-Edit

Khürt L. Williams © Khürt L. Williams  CORPORATION (35mm, f/10, 20 sec, ISO100)

We were supposed to take a trip up to Stamford to visit my brother and his family. But my wife and the kids stayed up too late, slept in and backed out of their commitment to going with me. I could have made the two-hour trip without them but I know my brother. He would have insisted that I only make the trip if all of us were coming. When my wife and kids said they weren’t coming I had to call my bother and back out. He was understanding but … I felt disappointed. It’s been awhile since I had seen him.

My wife convinced me to pick another date but given how busy things can get the earliest weekend is three weeks from today. To make it work, I cancelled every single photography event I had planned. That made my disappointment worse because I had a really bad winter and really wanted to make sure my entire summer isn’t wasted. Like it was last year.

I went out for a walk near the Kingston Mill house with my camera and tripod. A few hours by myself doing something creative help me clear my head. I ended up with this shot of the water flowing around a rock near the bridge over the old Route 27.

What Is It Really Like to Work Here?

Image CC0 by José Martín
Canon Canon EOS 60D (18mm, f/10, 1717986919 sec, ISO100)
Image CC0 by José Martín

After reading Joanne Cleaver’s The Dirty Truth About ‘Best Places to Work’ Lists and her follow-up article Are ‘Best Places to Work’ Lists for Real? 5 Ways to Tell, I have decided to change my typical response, when during an interview, the interviewer ask if I have any questions. Normally I would respond with questions designed to show my interest in the firm and the role. For example, I might ask about any specific challenges facing the department or the organization. The interviewer’s response is an opportunity to offer some ideas on how they might approach the problem.

While I think that it’s important to continue to ask these questions, what I read in those two articles has made me realize that perhaps instead of generic questions about work environment and company culture, that more specific question might serve me better. Heck, it might even help the interviewer.

So, after some thought, here are the questions I would ask.

  • How many women/blacks/Hispanics/Asians/LGBT work on your team and in information technology?
  • How many women/blacks/Hispanics/Asians/LGBT have leadership positions?
  • How many women/blacks/Hispanics/Asians/LGBT have senior leadership positions?
  • How well are women/blacks/Hispanics/Asians/LGBT compensated compared to their cis-gendered white male peers?
  • Outside of Media/Communications and Human Resources how many women are in leadership positions?
  • What specific programs does your department or the organization have in place to encourage diversity?
  • How well is the diversity program working?
  • What would you change about company culture?

These questions are not designed to make the interviewer squirm but if she/he does then I have my answer as to her/his mindset. There is a risk that I might be eliminated as a candidate for the job. But would you want to work in a place where these sort of issues are not openly discussed?

What sort of question would you ask?