Talk Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity with Employers
Did you know? CCE hosts diversity recruiting events throughout the academic year. These events can connect you with employers who are dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. These employers are also interested in hiring candidates from diverse backgrounds, demographics, and life experiences.
Whether you’re just starting to explore careers or looking for your next opportunity, these events are a great space to learn more about the ways in which employers value and practice diversity, equity and inclusion.
We also know that preparing for this event may feel overwhelming, so we are breaking down some best practices below.
Preparing for the event
Carving out a bit of time before any employer networking or recruiting event to reflect, research, and prepare can help you make the most of the event and make a positive impression on employers.
We’ll walk you through some general preparation tips and then more tailored ones, specific to a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) lens.
Researching Organizations in Advance
In LionSHARE, you’ll be able to find the list of employers who plan to attend the fair. Take a look and identify the employers you are most interested in connecting with. Then focus your research efforts on those organizations.
Consider using a DEI lens to guide your research as you look into the participating organizations you’d like to connect with at the fair.
Sample Research Questions
Though you certainly don’t need to be an expert, these questions can give you some ideas about the type of things you can look for.
- Go to the company’s “About Us” or “Leadership” page. What does the leadership team or board of directors look like? How diverse is the team?
- How does the company represent itself through words and images on its website and social channels? Who is represented, and how?
- Does the company have a DEI mission statement? What does it say? Where does it appear on the organization’s website?
- Does the organization share numbers or data to support claims of equity?
- When you look at the company’s website, social channels, and news mentions, what evidence can you find about actions they are taking to support DEI?
- Does the organization feature on lists of inclusive companies, like the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index?
- What do employees say online about their experience working at the company? You might find such information on blogs or websites like Glassdoor.
- Looking at the company careers page, what diversity recruitment programs do they offer? How do they define diversity within these programs? What do these programs entail?
Reflect on your initial research
Based on your preliminary research, what additional questions do you have? How does what you’re learning relate to your values and priorities? What additional information are you looking for?At the Fair
When you speak with employers at a career fair, it’s a great opportunity to both share information about yourself and find answers to some of the questions on your mind.
Sharing Your Story
Many career fair conversations begin with an introduction, which we talked about above. But this isn’t the only way to share your story with employers. Consider the following strategies:
STRATEGY #1: FRAMING QUESTIONS
As you engage in conversation with employers, you can use the framing of your questions to integrate pieces of information about yourself as you ask the employer questions.
For example: “I’ve valued being a member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers on campus, especially the opportunity to experience mentorship — first as a mentee, and now that I’m a junior, as a mentor. How does mentorship show up at your organization, and do you have any identity-based mentorship opportunities?”
STRATEGY #2: REFER TO YOUR RESUME
In LionSHARE, the employer representatives will be able to see your resume while you’re chatting (if made public). They will also be able to download it after the event! They may ask you about experiences they see there, so you should be prepared to talk about them—and relate them back to your current career interests.
You can also take the lead, referring to an experience or project on your resume as a way to tell a brief anecdote about how your interest in the field or a type of work emerged, or how you built key skills toward future jobs.
As you share these anecdotes, you can showcase the unique strengths, qualities, and perspectives you bring from your identities and experiences.
Asking Questions about DEI at the Organization
You may have lots of different types of questions for the company representatives at the fair, some of which may be about specific diversity recruitment programs or how the company fosters belonging among employees.
Some examples of questions to ask include:
Questions about the Organization
- How does the organization actively support and further the commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion that it indicates on its website? Can you give me some examples?
- How does leadership support diversity, equity, and inclusion at the company? How are these values communicated and shared with employees?
- Who at your company spearheads DEI work? How do people at your organization engage with DEI work?
- What do you see as some areas for development at your organization? Can you give an example of how your organization has responded when you have identified gaps in this work?
Questions about Recruiting
- Can you tell me more about [Program Name]? What are you looking for from candidates? (If you’ve found limited information about existing diversity recruitment programs on their website or on Handshake.)
- What programs exist at your organization to recruit candidates from diverse backgrounds? (If their Handshake profile or website does not indicate this.)
- What are the short and long-term goals of these programs? How do they fit within the organization’s broader DEI initiatives?
Questions about the Workplace
- What training around DEI is offered at the company? Who participates in this training?
- How does your organization support employees from underrepresented backgrounds—for instance, mentorship programs, affinity groups, leadership development programs? How active are these programs?
- What initiatives exist at the company to ensure that employees from underrepresented backgrounds have equitable access to opportunities for advancement and promotion?
- How does your organization create an inclusive environment? Where do you see opportunities for improvement?
- How does your organization encourage employees to bring their full selves to work? Can you give me some examples? Where do you see opportunities for improvement?
Questions about the Person and their Role
- What is your role in DEI initiatives at the organization?
- Why is this topic important to you?
- What are some of your favorite company traditions?
Reflect on Your Experience at the Fair
Review your notes from your interactions. Reflect on how each organization, its programs, and its roles align with your values when it comes to your career and place of work.
Think about what you need to know to make informed decisions. Were you able to gather enough information from the employer representatives that you spoke with? Do you have additional questions to ask?
And finally, remember to send a tailored follow-up email to your new contacts.
Connect with Us to Prep and Practice
With a couple of weeks to go before the fair, we’re here to help you feel ready:
- Visit our virtual drop-ins for Quick Questions to get support from a career counselor on creating or updating your resume.
- Practice your introduction with a career counselor at Quick Questions.
- Review our identity-based resources for additional ideas about assessing workplace culture based on the identities you hold.