Understanding a company’s culture before accepting a new position is equally as important as doing well during the interviewing process. However, for Black women, this exploration comes with a nuanced approach, requiring finesse and subtlety. Susana Alba, a seasoned career counselor, unveils the art of delicately weaving culture inquiries into job interviews. She empowers many Black women to make informed career decisions and amplify their voices.

Getting the Scoop on Company Culture at a Job Interview

The job hunt is not merely about acquiring a job. It’s about finding a professional home that values and respects your identity and contributions.

“It’s important to correctly ask questions about company culture because historically we’ve been excluded,” Alba emphasizes. “Therefore asking the right questions allows us to make informed decisions about where we share our time, talent and attention.”

Alba shares some invaluable insights into crafting questions that resonate with the experiences of Black women in the workplace.

“Some of my favorite questions are,” she begins. “Could you share what professional development looks like in the organization, specifically for people of color? How does the company measure and report progress in meeting its diversity, equity and inclusion values? What strategies does the company use to ensure pay equity amongst its team members?”

These questions not only delve into the company’s commitment to diversity, but also signal to employers that inclusivity is non-negotiable.

Red Flags to Look Out For

However, navigating the responses requires a discerning eye. Alba warns against falling for vague answers, suggesting that they might indicate a lack of genuine commitment to fostering an inclusive environment. “If they struggle to articulate their answers, it’s likely that they’ll struggle to create opportunities that are fair for women of color, specifically Black women.”

One of Alba’s ingenious strategies involves reframing questions to elicit vital information without raising eyebrows. For instance, asking, “Are you able to share why this position is vacant?” subtly probes into the turnover rate without sounding accusatory. Similarly, inquiring about how the company celebrates and rewards employee success opens a window into their appreciation practices without directly asking about bonuses.

By mastering the art of discretion in questioning, Black women can navigate job interviews with confidence. You can ensure that your potential employers align with their values and aspirations. It’s not about settling for any job. Instead, it’s about finding the right fit.

“It’s not just about landing the job,” Alba said. “It’s about ensuring that the job values and respects your identity as a Black woman.”