An Inclusive Approach to Interviewing

An Inclusive Approach to Interviewing by Nonprofit Executive Search Firm KEES

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An emerging trend in executive interviewing at nonprofit and public sector organizations?

In today’s dynamic and diverse workplace, fostering inclusivity is crucial. An inclusive approach to interviewing not only reflects a commitment to diversity but also enhances the overall success of an organization. KEES, a nonprofit executive search firm that builds diverse teams with dynamic leaders in the nonprofit and public sectors, has found that multiple approaches are in play, all changing the approach to “gotcha” questions. One key aspect of this is the hiring process, and more specifically, the way interviews are conducted. Some organizations are providing interview questions in advance to allow candidates time to prepare or organize their thoughts.

An inclusive approach to interviewing may include some of the following best practices:

  1. Send questions to candidates X hours before their interview.
  2. Print out a list of possible questions (or top questions) and provide them at interviews so that candidates can refer to them during the interview.
  3. Have a printout and invite candidates to come 30 minutes early to review possible questions.

While this topic is currently being discussed among HR professionals and with our clients, KEES prides itself in proactively preparing executive-level candidates for success up front. To that end, we encourage our clients to share basic information in advance, so that the interviews can be more intensive and based on discussing information versus discovering the basics. This practice sets up candidates for success during interviews as they feel prepared and can better ask and answer relevant questions.

We encourage a highly individualized approach to constructing interview questions for each project. The samples below showcase common questions that Search Committees and Hiring Managers often ask and embrace for executive-level roles, and they may be given to candidates in advance.

Common Questions

  1. We are attracted to your candidacy due to your work in <insert area>. How will your recent experience directly benefit the strategy and leadership on the Executive Team?
  2. What will be the hallmarks of success in your first three years as our next <kind of> executive?
  3. This is an executive role that interfaces with both internal and external audiences. How will you connect with each key audience and how would you prioritize those connections?
  4. This role manages the <insert area> team. You have the latitude to assess and reorganize/reconfigure the leadership team to meet the needs and your performance expectations. What structure will best support your style, and/or what changes might you bring to how you manage our organization at the senior-most levels?
  5. Describe a challenging situation and how you mitigated the issues that surrounded it.
  6. Describe a challenging situation and a situation where you were exceedingly successful. How did you approach both situations? If you had to undergo one of those situations again which, would it be?

Throughout the years, we have seen the increasing importance of addressing the topic of equitable recruitment with our executive search clients, and prioritizing equity and inclusion in the workplace is more imperative now than ever. It’s time to rethink the way we interview and pave the way for a more diverse and innovative future. Interested in learning how you can make this a priority? Please reach out President and CEO Heather Eddy or Vice President Laura Weinman for more information.