Job Seeking and Diversity Equity Inclusion



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The CEO of a company that partners with organizations to develop and retain the youngest members of the workforce thinks students should change their mindset from just getting a job to actually seeking an opportunity that aligns with their big picture.  And for the increasing number of students who are becoming keenly interested in racial justice issues, Chelsea Williams says they need to seek companies whose values and goals match theirs.

Williams founded College Code to provide workforce development and career coaching.  She recommends that concerned students ask specific questions during job interviews about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as well as actions that organization have taken supporting that commitment.

Williams has a list of questions students can use to differentiate between organizations that may only talk about DEI, versus organizations that are making active progress on these important issues.

  • How does your organization define diversity? What lenses of diversity has your organization made a direct commitment toward? 
  • Does your organization have a chief diversity officer (CDO) or a designated leader to drive DEI and engage internal and external stakeholders?
  • What social causes does your organization support?
  • Does your organization actively support diverse suppliers, contractors, and small businesses?
  • Has your organization made any formal commitments in support of racial equity?
  • How does your organization center diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging?
  • Does your organization offer any formal employee training around biases, anti-racism, or general DEI?
  • How has your organization prioritized executive accountability toward DEI advancement?
  • Does your organization have any affinity groups or committees to support diverse populations? If so, how do these groups contribute to the culture of the organization?
  • Does your organization complete annual compensation equity analysis?
  • What resources has your organization provided to its employees in support of COVID-19 and racial injustice?

While DEI is not an important value for all students, for those invested in the concept, the answers to these questions can help guide whether to continue pursuing an opportunity with an organization. Williams says some clues that an organization is invested in DEI include: commitment to a safe and healthy work environment; representation across all levels and titles; all leaders, managers and employees are held accountable for actions; equity is the driving factor in all aspects of recruitment, training, promotion, pay, and benefits.  

To find out more about College Code and some of the resources it offers to students, go to this URL: