Do you have a family?
When asked this question on an interview last year, I nearly choked. This is a question that is not only illegal, there is no good answer. Saying “yes” says that “I will be leaving work early to go to piano recitals” and saying no says, “yes, but I might in the future.”
Several people asked if when a lawyer asks this question, is it some kind of test as to whether or not you know this is an illegal question. Several people have suggested that I take the interviewer to task over this question. Those people clearly do not understand the market, in which applicants are a dime a dozen and employers have the upper hand.
So how have I handled this question? The last time, I simply said, “yes.” Because well, everyone has a family. I said yes in a halting way, as if I found the question offensive and the interviewer had better clarify why he/she had asked it. Which he/she did, or tried to. But I walked away from the interview wondering if a job that asked me about a family was somewhere I wanted to work, so the question really hurts both people.
The tips I found on the internet for avoiding illegal questions are to say things like, “I can meet the demanding requirements of this job, if that is what you are asking.” I’m not quite that slick yet, but I’ve been practicing. I think another easy “don’t-you-know-that-question-is-illegal” answer is, “what exactly are you asking?” The problem is, they might clarify by saying, “do you have children?” And a don’t-ask-don’t-tell, “it is my understanding that you are not allowed to ask me these types of questions” is probably not the right response, but will do if you’ve already decided you don’t want the job.
I’ve actually been asked this, or if I am married, quite a lot. So I need to have a better response in my back pocket that says, “MYOB.” Any suggestions? Has anyone else faced this?