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Asked by Wanda on May 5, 2015

On the survey section of an application they state that it is voluntary. But want to know your race, gender etc? How or should you answer this question?

Answered by John, Hiring Expert at DuPont, on May 5, 2015

Thanks for the question.  

While companies are very interested in this information, it is voluntary as to whether you complete it or not.  If you feel comfortable providing the information asked, go for it.  If not, skip the voluntary portion.  

An associated question might be "will I be at a disadvantage by not answering the voluntary questions?"  You should not be, but it depends upon how the company utilizes the information in these voluntary areas of the application. 

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Answered by Stephanie, Hiring Expert at Emerson, on May 6, 2015

Good question! If you choose to answer the survey, do so honestly. Never misrepresent your race, gender, military status, etc. in the hopes it will help you land the job. The information from the survey should be kept invisible to the hiring manager. Job seekers should be selected for interview based on the qualifications on their resume, not their answers to the diversity questions. Choosing to not answer the survey should have no bearing on your selection to move along in the interview process.

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Answered by Minde, Hiring Expert at The Schwan Food Company, on May 7, 2015

Please know that some employers are required to ask these questions due to the nature of having certain federal contracts.  It is helpful for us to have this information.  In our situation, hiring managers, recruiters, and other interviewers do not even have access to this information, and it is reported only in the aggregate.  Providing this information is helpful, and should never be used in hiring decisions.  Federal requirements are now extending to disability status and veteran status, so you may start to see those questions pop up.  Again, we recruiters and hiring managers do not see the information, and honesty is helpful!

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Answered by Steve, Hiring Expert at Caterpillar Inc., on May 8, 2015

Excellent question.  The answer is it really is up to you.  Please know that employers do not and cannot use this information when making hiring decisions.  In most cases, it is used after the fact for the employer to measure the diversity of their applicant pool and hires.  If they see a decline in these numbers, they may take a different approach in their recruiting to attract more diverse candidates. Whether or not you wish to disclose this information has no bearing on if you are selected to be interviewed for a job or not.

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