Most job candidates agonize over how they will respond to questions they’ll be asked in a job interview. They anticipate, prepare and practice their answers. But a good interview is a two-way conversation. While the interviewer will obviously be taking the lead and asking the majority of the questions, job seekers should also take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about a company (instead of making a leap of faith that could lead to disappointment down the road).
The successful job interview allows both sides to learn more about each other, so the employer can determine if you are right for the job, but also so you can decide if the company is one you want to join. As a Hispanic professional, it’s a good idea to inquire about a company’s diversity programs, community outreach initiatives, and other opportunities that are available for Latinos.
Ask when and how you could become involved with these programs and if you can speak with one of the organizers. Just as the interviewer asked for examples about your experience, you can tactfully probe for more details about a company’s diversity initiatives, including:
- How active are these groups?
- Does the company sponsor these groups?
- Do they meet on company time?
Ask for information and examples that show how company decision-makers value diversity, such as:
- Does the diversity department influence decisions made by the company?
- How has diversity been promoted within the company?
- How has the CEO made diversity a top priority on the agenda?
Find out about the demographic make-up of the company to see how well your ethnicity is represented, given responsibility, and promoted. For example, you may want to ask:
- How many Hispanics are on the board of directors?
- How many Hispanics are in management or executive roles?
- Of those Hispanics in managerial roles, can you give me some examples of their career paths through the company?
Ask how your cultural knowledge and language abilities would be used in your new position. This not only provides useful information for you but also reinforces your specialized skills in the mind of the interviewer. You can ask questions like:
- Will I be dealing directly with clients who prefer to converse in Spanish?
- Will I be working on strategies to build a new client base in the Hispanic community?
- Will I be leading a group of workers whose primary language is Spanish?
- Will I be using my multicultural experience to expand company operations in Latin America?
Remember, as a Latino candidate, you are in demand both for your language skills and multicultural knowledge. While you certainly must impress potential employers during a job interview, they must impress you too! By taking the opportunity to discuss diversity, you will get a feel for a company’s commitment to mentoring its minority employees. The answers to these questions can help you find organizations where your career will be actively supported and nurtured.