Diversity is one of the buzz words of these days. Either you promote it, or you are a backward–thinking individual. Or at least that’s what mainstream media says… When it comes to interviewing for a job though, and especially in one of the multinational corporations, it doesn’t matter much what your personal opinion on diversity is. You will face it in your new workplace, and you will deal at least with one interview question related to diversity during the hiring process.

I think it is a common sense that you should show a positive attitude towards diversity. Any situation you describe–and it can be a situation from work, school, non-profit, or even from your personal life, you should embrace diversity, and explain how the experience has broaden your horizons, and helped you get rid of prejudice. Because that’s exactly what the hiring managers want to hear from you in the interviews.

Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers to this tricky interview question. I tried to include on my list answers for both experienced individuals, and answers for people who have never experienced diversity first-hand. One or two philosophical (and rather unconventional) answers also made the list. Perhaps you want to say something unique, something hiring managers will remember for a long time. In such a case, these are the answers you should draw your inspiration from. Enjoy the diversity on my list, and hopefully once you are done with the reading you will know what you will say in the interviews.


7 sample answers to “Describe your experience working with diverse populations” interview question

  1. I had such an experience in my last corporate job. Not only that I belonged to an extremely diverse team of sales managers. I also phoned daily to different continents, and talked with executives from all corners of the world, all kinds of companies. And I must say that while it wasn’t easy, especially the sales part, since cultural differences come into play in the process, and the sales pitch that works great in South East Asia may fail terribly in US or Europe. One needs to constantly adapt, and consider all these nuances. But I can say that I enjoyed the experience, and it helped me become more tolerant and open-minded. Within the team I even made some friends with people I would find it very unlikely to have made friends before. To sum it up, I enjoyed working with diverse populations and hope I will get such a chance also in my new job.
  2. This is my first job application, but living in New York you cannot really escape diversity, be it at school, or in your private life. In my opinion, you have only two options: Either you accept it and try to learn from others, judging people by their deeds, and not by their origin or color of skin, or you approach everyone with prejudice and fill your heart with fear and hate. I decided for the first option, and this isn’t going to change in my professional career. When you open your heart and stop judging people prematurely, you can learn something from everyone.
  3. My experience was rather painful. As a social worker visiting families I worked with all kinds of people. The diversity was sometimes present within a single family, but throughout the day you couldn’t really escape it. And I didn’t fare as well as I hoped for. I struggled to approach everyone equally, to clear my mind of prejudice. It isn’t easy in a job of a social worker, especially when you see daily the terrible conditions some kids have to live in. And it is one of the main reasons why I am considering a career change, and apply for this job with you. I know I will face diversity here too, but no doubt the profile of an average client will be much different, and I should not have problems to deal with anyone. My experience from social work should help me too.
  4. In my opinion, diversity is just a myth. People seem different and look different, but at the end of the day, we are all driven by the same passions and instincts, and we all dream of the same in life: happiness, love, wealth, good health. I believe that in order to make this world a better place, we should focus on things we have in common, and not things that separate us. That is my attitude to life, and I try to let in shine in my interactions with other human beings. Of course it isn’t always easy, but I try my best.
  5. As a school teacher in XYZ district, diversity was my daily bread. Teaching Math at secondary school, seven different classes each week, I had do adjust my teaching methods, as well as my expectations, before every lessons. Because the classes could not be more diverse. In fact the more diverse they were the better. Not only that I learned the most from my students in such classes, but when the diversity was high the students found it easier to respect each other. On the contrary, when in some class just two or three students stood out, they often faced bullying and other problems from their peers. As a teacher I always tried to bring more understanding and compassion to the classes, and I hope I succeeded in my efforts. But you would have to ask the students to know.
  6. I have none up to this point. Being raised in a strictly catholic family, and always hanging around with people from my church and my street, I haven’t yet had a chance to interact, let alone work, with diverse populations. But recently I finally realized how limiting it was. I let my parents to shrink my world, to accept a single perspective. Maybe I was a happy child, but I was also living in a bubble, far away from the reality of the world. Now I finally want to change this, and experience the diversity the world has to offer to me. That’s exactly why I applied for the job with you, since I know I will work with all kinds of people here.
  7. In my last job in a call center I couldn’t really choose clients. Working for the national ISP provider, I answered calls from all types of customers, belonging to every social and demographic group of society. It took me some time to learn how to communicate effectively in each group–because individual approach is important, as long as you want to achieve good level of customer satisfaction. But eventually I enjoyed this diversity. It made my job more colorful, and I also understood how vast is the world, and that unless we learn to respect each other, we will never be happy as a community…

Ready to answer this one? I hope so! Do not forget to check sample answers to other tricky interview questions:

Matthew Chulaw
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