Strategies for Underrepresented Job Candidates to Ace Interviews

Strategies for Underrepresented Job Candidates to Ace Interviews
By The Diversity Employment Team - Published on: Apr 23, 2024


Stepping into the job market is a journey filled with opportunities and challenges. For underrepresented candidates, this journey can sometimes feel daunting. You might worry about biases, fitting in, or standing out too much. It’s normal, so we’ve put together this guide. With more than just interview tips, we provide a map to help you confidently navigate the interview process, showcasing the unique value your diversity brings to the table.

This guide is crafted with care for entry-level job seekers like you. Whether you’re just stepping out of high school or looking to dive into new opportunities, we understand the hurdles you face. Beyond them, we see your potential. That’s what employers on Diversity Employment see, too. They’re not just looking for candidates. They’re seeking fresh perspectives, unique insights, and the richness that diversity brings to their teams.

So, as you begin this journey, remember: Your voice matters. Your story is essential. And your experiences bring invaluable depth to any role you’ll fill. Let’s get started. Ready to stand out? Let’s dive into how to ace those interviews and land your dream job.

Understanding the Challenge: The Extra Hurdle

Job interviews are tough, but they’re even more challenging for those from underrepresented groups. The usual nerves are there, of course. Yet, there’s more. Many face biases, both spoken and unspoken. Then, there’s the worry about how identity might affect chances. It’s a lot to handle.

Despite this, it’s important to remember one thing: preparation can level the playing field. Knowing how biases might appear and how to tackle them is vital. This doesn’t just help land the job. It turns the interview process into a chance to shine.

To start, focus on the basics of crafting a resume that highlights your unique value. Then, when it’s time for the interview, arm yourself with these tips on both standard and unexpected questions. Special attention to equal employment opportunity guidelines ensures you know what interviewers can and can’t ask. The fact is that challenges make success sweeter. And each interview is a step towards being where you belong, biases aside. So, let’s dig into how you can prepare and succeed.


Essential Interview Tips for Underrepresented Candidates

Interviews can seem like a hurdle. Yet, with the right tips, you can jump high. Here are ways to ace your interview:

  • Know Your Stuff: Research common questions for your field. Prep answers that spotlight your skills and dedication to diversity. Understanding the adversity many face can deepen your answers.
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Dry runs can ease nerves. They help you find straightforward, concise ways to talk about your experience. It’s also a chance to try answering tricky questions without flinching.
  • Backdrops Matter: For online interviews, a tidy, professional setting tells a lot about you. Check your tech, too. Smooth video and sound can make a big difference.
  • Stay Positive: Tough questions might come up. Keep calm and steer back to your strengths. Remember, your skills are why you’re here.
  • Ask About Diversity: Queries on the company’s diversity and inclusion efforts show you value these. It also gives you insight into the company culture. It’s not just about them liking you, but you liking them back.

Interviews are more than Q&A sessions; they’re your stage. So, let your preparation put you in the spotlight. Shine by showing how you, uniquely you, add to the team. Believe in your story, your journey. That confidence? It’s contagious.

Boosting Interview Confidence Tips

Feeling confident is half the win. Here’s how to boost it:

  • Dress the Part: Look sharp, feel sharp. Dressing well boosts your confidence. Even in virtual interviews, this holds true.
  • Know Your Worth: Review your achievements. You’ve earned your spot here. Voicing your victories lifts your spirits.
  • Positive Mindset: Think positive. Worry less about what could go wrong. Focus more on showing your best self.
  • Mock Interviews: Practice with friends or mentors. Get comfortable with your stories and selling points.
  • Deep Breaths: Before you start, take a moment. Deep breathing calms nerves. It helps you think clearly.

Lastly, keep smiling. It’s infectious and sets a positive tone. Believe in yourself. You know you’ve got this. So, let that interview confidence shine through.

Tackling Diversity & Inclusion Questions Head-On

Interviews might touch on diversity and inclusion. Here’s how to handle those moments:

  • Be Honest: Speak from your experience. Share how diversity shapes your view and work ethic.
  • Stay Professional: Even tough questions deserve a calm, thoughtful response. It’s about dialogue, not debate.
  • Use Examples: Mention times when diverse perspectives led to success. It highlights the value you bring.
  • Ask Back: Inquiring about the company’s diversity efforts is fair. It shows your commitment to inclusivity.

Preparation is vital. The goal? Balance being professional with being authentically you. That’s when your natural strengths shine.


Addressing Interview Biases Effectively

Biases can sneak into interviews. Here’s how to face them:

  • Stay Calm: Keep cool, even if a question seems biased. Your calm answer can change views.
  • Reroute the Conversation: Gently steer back to your strengths and how you fit the role.
  • Know Your Rights: Familiarize yourself with what’s legal to ask in an interview at This knowledge empowers you.

Being aware of potential biases helps prepare you. This isn’t just about overcoming obstacles. It’s about breaking barriers for all who follow. Your goal is to showcase your skills. Your experience and unique insight are your power. Addressing biases directly yet elegantly highlights your professionalism. It shows you’re not just ready for the job. You’re ready to lead and inspire change.

Virtual Interview Tips

Many interviews happen online nowadays. Here’s how to ace yours:

  • Test Your Tech: Check your video and audio beforehand. A smooth experience shows you’re organized.
  • Good Lighting: Make sure your face is well-lit. It makes a great impression.
  • Quiet Space: Find a silent spot. Background noise can distract.
  • Professional Background: Keep it tidy. A neutral, clutter-free backdrop is best.
  • Dress Up: Dress professionally, top to bottom. You’ll feel more prepared, even at home.

Also, practice looking at the camera. It feels more like eye contact. That builds connection, even through screens. Log in a few minutes early. Use this time to settle in. Breathe. Center yourself. With these tips, you’ll not only feel ready. You’ll be prepared. Virtual or not, your interview is a chance to share your story. Make it count.


Following Up Interview Tips

The interview’s done, but you’re not quite finished. Following up is critical:

  • Send a Thank You Note: A quick email saying thanks can set you apart. It shows you value their time.
  • Be Prompt: Send it within 24 hours. It keeps you fresh in their minds.
  • Mention Highlights: Recall a moment or answer from the interview. It refreshes their memory of your strengths.
  • Express Enthusiasm: Make it clear you’re excited about the role. Enthusiasm is infectious.
  • Ask for Feedback: It’s not always easy, but it shows you’re keen to grow. It also keeps the door open for future opportunities.

Following up is more than good manners. It’s strategic. It can nudge the decision in your favor. So, take this step seriously. It could differ between waiting for a response and getting an offer. Each step, from preparing to following up, is part of a bigger picture. You’re showing who you are: committed, prepared, and proactive. And that makes all the difference.



Got questions? Here are answers to some common ones:

What Should I Wear for a Virtual Interview?

Dress as you would for an in-office meeting. It shows professionalism, even from home.

How Can I Address Gaps in My Resume?

Be honest. Highlight skills you’ve gained during those times. Link them to the job you’re applying for.

What If I Get Asked an Illegal Question?

Steer back to your qualifications. You can also gently mention that you’re focusing on job-related topics.

Can I Ask About Salary During the First Interview?

It’s usually best to wait until they bring it up. Focus first on showing your value.



Interviewing is more than just answering questions. It’s a chance to showcase your unique skills, experiences, and perspectives. For underrepresented candidates, it’s also an opportunity to break down barriers and pave the way for a more inclusive future. Your diversity is your strength. It brings invaluable viewpoints and innovation to workplaces, enriching teams and driving success.

With these interview tips, confidence boosters, and preparation strategies, you can tackle any interview with poise and professionalism. Embrace your unique story and let it shine through in every answer you give and question you ask. Your journey is inspiring, and your determination is the key to unlocking doors to exciting opportunities. Preparation is your best ally. Use these interview tips wisely. They guide you through from start to finish. With each interview, you get better. Keep going!

Finally, we invite you to join Diversity Employment. Connect with employers who value and celebrate diversity. Let’s build workplaces where everyone belongs and every voice is heard. Your next great opportunity awaits—let’s embark on this journey together.