An audit staff applicant at New York accounting firm Ernst & Young was asked, “What are the top five cities you want to go to and why?” An online magazine asked an editor, “Where do you vacation in the summer?”I guess being asked personal questions in a job interview isn't new. At my Apple interview I was asked if I liked pineapple pizza. But how often are "cultural fit" questions used to keep out people who are different?
“A lot of times, cultural fit is used as an excuse” for feelings interviewers aren’t comfortable expressing, says Eric Peterson, manager of diversity and inclusion at the Society for Human Resources and Management. “Maybe a hiring manager can’t picture himself having a beer with someone who has an accent. Sometimes, diversity candidates are shown the door for no other reason than that they made the interviewer a little less at ease.”How ironic that "having a beer" is given as the example of a social activity a manager should expect to perform with an employee. A lot of people don't drink alcohol.
A 2009 study by University of Illinois sociologist Cedric Herring found that companies with the highest levels of racial diversity reported, on average, 15 times more sales revenue than those with less diverse staffs.