What Is It Really Like to Work Here?

Image CC0 by José Martín
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?

Author: Khürt Williams

a human, an application security architect, avid photographer, nature lover, and formula 1 fan who drinks beer.

4 thoughts on “What Is It Really Like to Work Here?”

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  2. These are important questions many think of once they join a company. By then, it might be too late. It's a pity you have to have the courage to ask these questions during an interview. Hopefully, if you are a very strong candidate, it won't effect the decision.

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