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anonguest

Modern Job Application Form 'equality & Diversity' Questions

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Offering to help a younger relative in their job hunting activities - and how to draft answers to various questions on application forms.

One category of question that I have seen now for some time and, at least in public sector and academic sectors, that now seems de facto mandatory in one form or another is the seemingly obligatory question relating to 'Equality and Diversity'.

Maybe this is another symbolic example of showing my age, and aversion to PC b******t, that I have never had to think about this sort of thing. As a fair, tolerant, flexible and liberal minded, etc person I just 'do' it as a matter of course. I have worked with, got on famously, etc with people from all walks of life, racial, religious and sexual orientation backgrounds - and have never given it a moments thought. BUT NOW people are forced to actively think and articulate and somehow demonstrate their 'awareness' of such issues. Consider this latest representative example I have come across:

"Q.10

OTHER ESSENTIAL CRITERIA

Commitment to and understanding of equality and diversity issues within a diverse and multi-cultural environment.

(Essential to the job)"

I have tried previously to think about how one answers such a question, but simply failed to find the words.

I mean.....for heavens sake just how does one answer that!? I am forced to shrug my shoulders and tell my relative that I can't help on this one - which in itself makes me feel like I too have failed in the application.

I say, in the title of this thread, that I pity the young. Specifically because, by virtue of their lack of accumulated employment history, it is even more difficult to show 'experience' of such equality and diversity - compared with, say, someone with 20 years in the workplace.

Anyone? Any ideas?

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I am not recommending this approach, but on the last application I helped someone complete I said to the applicant "You really don't want this job", and after a moments thought they agreed. The application form was idiotic and therfeore drafted by idiots who would become the employers. So we decided to really take the proverbial and proceeded to fill it in, with the result that they got called to interview and got offered the job, which they took against my advice and their judgement. They quit after 9 weeks. My guess is that someone on the interview panel sympathised with their approach.

As to your question.

A) I love life

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You usually get a questionnaire about race, sexuality etc. with the application form for public sector jobs. It says you don't need to complete this and it won't affect your application if you don't. So I haven't on teh last two jobs I applied for, and as it happenes, got. So it genuinely doesn't affect your application.

I suppose for that question I'd say I liked Culture Club and early Mica Paris. That should be enough.

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You usually get a questionnaire about race, sexuality etc. with the application form for public sector jobs. It says you don't need to complete this and it won't affect your application if you don't. So I haven't on teh last two jobs I applied for, and as it happenes, got. So it genuinely doesn't affect your application.

I suppose for that question I'd say I liked Culture Club and early Mica Paris. That should be enough.

You're referring to the 'equal opportunities monitoring forms'. I am aware of and familiar with these too. This question is on the actual job application form and is intended to be seen/read by the selection panel - and the question is listed as mandatory and has to be answered!

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You're referring to the 'equal opportunities monitoring forms'. I am aware of and familiar with these too. This question is on the actual job application form and is intended to be seen/read by the selection panel - and the question is listed as mandatory and has to be answered!

Hence my Culture Club answer!

My reaction would be as others, if that was really an active part of the job then I would be throwing the application form in the bin. It would be like living in an episode of Claire in the Community.

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I am not recommending this approach, but on the last application I helped someone complete I said to the applicant "You really don't want this job", and after a moments thought they agreed. The application form was idiotic and therfeore drafted by idiots who would become the employers. So we decided to really take the proverbial and proceeded to fill it in, with the result that they got called to interview and got offered the job, which they took against my advice and their judgement. They quit after 9 weeks. My guess is that someone on the interview panel sympathised with their approach.

As to your question.

A) I love life

I'm not convinced that this attitude is fair and indicates the intelligence level of the staff that one would end up working with. I suspect that these token PC questions are now deemed obligatory by the resident HR staff, who draft the standardised application forms for the organisation. The actual staff, on the selection panel, who the successful applicant would end up working with would still (I hope!) be like you and me - and not care if this question wasn't included.

Thus, sadly, if one wants a particular job they are going to have to jump through this additional particular hoop.

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"I understand and am committed to equality and diversity within a diverse and multi-cultural environment".

Box ticked, job's a goodun.

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I am committed to and have an understanding of equality and diverity issues within a diverse and multi-cultural environment.

They might ask you to give further information at interview in which case you have to say something like that you'd follow the company's own procedures for ensuring equality and diversity. You could also say you'd be happy to have further training to ensure that you met the company's needs in this area.

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Another thought that comes to mind is WHY are these questions even deemed necessary at all? After all any such organisation will almost certainly, if only to protect itself against law suits, have a formal 'equality and diversity' policy that employees are expected to adhere to? And IF any employee transgresses the policy then said organisation will also likely have disciplinary mechanisms in place?

So....IF one gets a job at such an organisation it would be assumed that they will be required to sign/agree to the terms of the equality and diversity conditions? No need to actually try and 'prove' your worthiness, in advance, vis a vis equality and diversity - by answering such questions. You will either respect equality and diversity or you won't!

I mean what dopey twit is actually going to fill in that part of a form with answer along the lines of:

"I don't like like working with pooftas and dagos......" ????!!!! Ooops! I'm sorry I'm probably in line for arrest now having used such language in public.

I think, on balance, I'll admit defeat and tell my relative to look elsewhere......

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Sample interview questions, pick a couple and make up some answers to those as part of the response to make it a bit more believable.

Provide the mission statement with value on diversity. How has your experience and background prepared you to be effective in this environment with this diversity value/initiative?

What do you see as the most challenging aspect of a diverse working environment? What steps have you taken to meet this challenge?

What kinds of experiences have you had working with others with different backgrounds than your own?

Tell me about a time you had to alter your work style to meet a diversity need or challenge?

How have you handled a situation when a colleague was not accepting of others’ diversity?

What does it mean to have a commitment to diversity and how would you develop and apply your commitment at this company?

What was/is the diversity value at your current/former employer? What impact did you make on this value?

What efforts have you made, or been involved with, to foster diversity competence and understanding?

What have you done to further your knowledge about diversity? Have you included diversity in your professional development? How have you demonstrated what you have learned?

What kind of leadership efforts would you make to ensure a commitment to the diversity initiative or value?

What strategies have you used to address diversity challenges? What were the positives and negative

s?

http://www.shrm.org/TemplatesTools/Samples/InterviewQuestions/Pages/Diversity.aspx

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I cant even see a question in the question. It is a statement...as it is posted that is.

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I think, on balance, I'll admit defeat and tell my relative to look elsewhere......

No just get them to write what I'd put.

Application forms are a box ticking exercise for the most part.

If you can't fill it in you can't have any dinner.

So play the game.

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I'm not convinced that this attitude is fair and indicates the intelligence level of the staff that one would end up working with. I suspect that these token PC questions are now deemed obligatory by the resident HR staff, who draft the standardised application forms for the organisation. The actual staff, on the selection panel, who the successful applicant would end up working with would still (I hope!) be like you and me - and not care if this question wasn't included.

Thus, sadly, if one wants a particular job they are going to have to jump through this additional particular hoop.

Did no one question the daftness of the way the question was drafted ? Hence my statement about the company or its employees.

You can ask the question and a Yes/No tick box would do for a response. A written response is OTT for a question drafted as broadly as the one in the OP's application. Every applicant will just write banalities. You'll find out at interview. A tick box would be fine for subsequent action if the person said 'yes' but turned out otherwise.

It shows a completely unthinking company or employee in HR. Yes, the interview panel may sympathise, but do you want to work for a company where employees bond because HR or management is so naff.

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I cant even see a question in the question. It is a statement...as it is posted that is.

I get your point. BUT, seriously, it IS a question - requiring the applicant to answer.

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Another thought that comes to mind is WHY are these questions even deemed necessary at all? After all any such organisation will almost certainly, if only to protect itself against law suits, have a formal 'equality and diversity' policy that employees are expected to adhere to? And IF any employee transgresses the policy then said organisation will also likely have disciplinary mechanisms in place?

So....IF one gets a job at such an organisation it would be assumed that they will be required to sign/agree to the terms of the equality and diversity conditions? No need to actually try and 'prove' your worthiness, in advance, vis a vis equality and diversity. You will either respect equality and diversity or you won't!

I mean what dopey twit is actually going to fill in that part of a form with answer along the lines of:

"I don't like like working with pooftas and dagos......" ????!!!! Ooops! I'm sorry I'm probably in line for arrest now having used such language in public.

I think, on balance, I'll admit defeat and tell my relative to look elsewhere......

I worked somewhere where they got stung for £20k, mainly because they didn't have a D&E policy in place and the complainant was black and played this factor up. Hence the company was deemed to be at fault so a policy was brought in as it ticked that box, within that policy was recruitment so you then have to evidence D&E in recruitment.

It comes down to money rather than beliefs.

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Did no one question the daftness of the way the question was drafted ? Hence my statement about the company or its employees.

You can ask the question and a Yes/No tick box would do for a response. A written response is OTT for a question drafted as broadly as the one in the OP's application. Every applicant will just write banalities. You'll find out at interview. A tick box would be fine for subsequent action if the person said 'yes' but turned out otherwise.

My point is that, I guess, this sort of question (at the very end of the list of questions, I should add) is put there by HR staff - and not decided on by those on the selection panel - and they would have no say in it its inclusion or ability to have it removed.

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My point is that, I guess, this sort of question (at the very end of the list of questions, I should add) is put there by HR staff - and not decided on by those on the selection panel - and they would have no say in it its inclusion or ability to have it removed.

I added a bit to my response ;)

It shows a completely unthinking company or employee in HR. Yes, the interview panel may sympathise, but do you want to work for a company where employees bond because HR or management is so naff.

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I worked somewhere where they got stung for £20k, mainly because they didn't have a D&E policy in place and the complainant was black and played this factor up. Hence the company was deemed to be at fault so a policy was brought in as it ticked that box, within that policy was recruitment so you then have to evidence D&E in recruitment.

It comes down to money rather than beliefs.

This anecdote reinforces what I suspect is the driving motive for these 'new' trendy questions.

BUT the question remains redundant so long as a successful applicant is required to agree to the companies E & D policies before commencing work.

Thus, asking the question is pointless and of no value or protection for the company IF the company has not yet implemented an E & D policy. In other words, in the format asked, it doesn't matter what 'experience' an applicant claims they have vis a vis E & D. They could still go on to commit E& D trangressions when in the job, and leave the company exposed to litigation by 'offended' fellow employees.

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This anecdote reinforces what I suspect is the driving motive for these 'new' trendy questions.

BUT the question remains redundant so long as a successful applicant is required to agree to the companies E & D policies before commencing work.

Thus, asking the question is pointless and of no value or protection for the company IF the company has not yet implemented an E & D policy. In other words, in the format asked, it doesn't matter what 'experience' an applicant claims they have vis a vis E & D. They could still go on to commit E& D trangressions when in the job, and leave the company exposed to litigation by 'offended' fellow employees.

Indeed they could. Here's an answer for the question:

Commitment to and understanding of equality and diversity issues within a diverse and multi-cultural environment.

At my previous workplaces there has always been a strong commitment to fostering inclusive attitudes to colleagues and customers whatever their background and belief. I have always supported this and believe that it makes for a successful company and a happy working environment as everybody feels valued by the company.

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Sample interview questions, pick a couple and make up some answers to those as part of the response to make it a bit more believable.

s?

http://www.shrm.org/TemplatesTools/Samples/InterviewQuestions/Pages/Diversity.aspx

Shame that website doesn't also give 'template' answers too. My guess is because the berks that drafted these questions haven't a clue themselves how to answer them!

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snip

as everybody feels valued by the company.

yeah right!

whos head is up for the next cuts, this years non payrise, and totally unbiased promotions?

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Indeed they could. Here's an answer for the question:

Commitment to and understanding of equality and diversity issues within a diverse and multi-cultural environment.

At my previous workplaces there has always been a strong commitment to fostering inclusive attitudes to colleagues and customers whatever their background and belief. I have always supported this and believe that it makes for a successful company and a happy working environment as everybody feels valued by the company.

Hmmmmmmm........not bad. Just the right sort of length, not too short not too waffly. Actually comes across as reasonably sincere too. Pure b******t of course, but still good. :D

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No just get them to write what I'd put.

Application forms are a box ticking exercise for the most part.

If you can't fill it in you can't have any dinner.

So play the game.

Game? tut tut tut.....anyone would think you don't take these questions, trying to determine an applicants probity, at all seriously. ;)

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