This is one of the difficult interview questions: How do you feel about reporting to someone of a different gender or race than you?
Some interview questions are becoming less and less common due to changes in tolerance in the workplace. Though issues like sexism, racism and ageism still exist, they are becoming less common and, at the very least, less of an apparent workplace problem. Still, prejudices do and always will exist. So sometimes employers feel the need to ask applicants directly if they will have a problem taking orders from someone younger, someone of a different race/ethnicity, and someone of a different gender. Answering this question is both easy and difficult.
How to Answer:
You do not need to elaborate in this answer. The key is to not try to prove you are not racist/sexist, etc. If you try too hard to explain why you are not, you make it sound as though you group all of the people of that race/gender/age together. Ideally, you should act as though the question is somewhat superfluous.
“I have a lot of black friends. We get along. They all seem just as educated as I am.”
No good. You make it sound like you still see people of color as vastly different than you and that you “tolerate” them. That’s not what you want.
“I don’t know if I understand the question. I do not care who supervises me provided they have the skills, knowledge and personality necessary to be an adequate supervisor.”
This answer doesn’t focus on the race/gender/age of the supervisor. Instead, it makes it sound as though you had never even considered it. You are essentially saying “Why would I care what they are?” without the bitter tone. You also are not elaborating, nor are you making it appear as though you are trying to come up with the most politically correct answer possible.
Take Away Interview Tips:
- Don’t try to “prove” that you are not sexist/racist/ageist
- Don’t be sexist or racist or ageist