In today's job market, the ability to collaborate with all sorts of people — particularly those from different cultural backgrounds — is absolutely crucial.
Cultural sensitivity interview questions such as, "Have you ever had experience with another culture?" can be tricky to handle. It's important that you answer these questions well because:
Saying the wrong thing might make you sound offensive instead of culturally aware.
Your answer measures your ability to work with a diverse team.
You can demonstrate your approach to communicating with colleagues to avoid misunderstandings.
Why Interviewers Ask This Question
Cultural sensitivity is defined as: "Being aware that cultural differences and similarities between people exist without assigning them a value — positive or negative, better or worse, right or wrong."
Employers nowadays value diversity, equity, and inclusivity in the workplace. They're keen to see if their employees can work effectively with diverse individuals.
Your response to this question reflects your interpersonal abilities and teamwork skills. Even if you don't consider yourself an expert, a little preparation can go a long way in demonstrating your genuine dedication to fostering inclusivity.
So how how you can best answer this question?
1. Develop Your Cultural Competency
Take some time to research the company and gain insights into their core values, mission and vision statements, and commitment to diversity to better understand their perspective on this matter.
I'm impressed by your company's diversity initiatives, such as the implementation of mentorship programs and working groups that actively support underrepresented employees.
2. Provide Specific Examples
Recall a situation where you worked with individuals from diverse backgrounds:
Focus on your role and the positive lessons learned. If you have additional skills like speaking a second language, feel free to mention them.
During my time as a volunteer with a community organization, I had the opportunity to engage with a wide range of individuals. This experience not only broadened my perspective on diversity, but also allowed me to actively contribute to the organization's mission.
3. Highlight Relevant Skills
Explain how you adapted your communication style, embraced different perspectives, and demonstrated flexibility in your past experiences.
Collaborating with diverse teammates on a number of projects cultivated an open-minded attitude and honed my communication skills, as I got to work alongside people with differing perspectives and solutions to problems. This makes me a great addition to any team that values diversity.
Give It a Try
The interviewer asks: "Have you ever had experience with another culture?"
Your possible answers:
In my previous job, I had the chance to collaborate with diverse individuals. We participated in a cross-functional project with teams spanning different countries. I developed an appreciation for cultural differences, which in turn helped me to build trust and respect among my teammates.
My previous job required me to work with colleagues from other departments. Although I haven't had much experience working with diverse teams, I'm an adept learner who can swiftly adapt to such situations, and this allowed me to take initiative and create good synergy with my teammates.
Which answer shows a stronger understanding of cultural sensitivity?
Now that you've learned how to respond to the question, set aside some time to get your answer ready.