500 Questions: Tough Questions, Part 12

What do your spouse and children think about our company?

This may be an illegal question if it leads to questions about specific family members. The employer may be trying to find out if you have children or are married. Indicate only that you have established a strong support for whatever you undertake.

Do you have any day-care arrangements?

Questions about marital status and family are improper and therefore provision for child care should not be a question you are required to answer. You may want to ask the employer why they want to know. It remains a good idea, however, to construct a positive response.

How old are your children?

Questions regarding the age of your family are unrelated to the needs and requirements of most positions. However, this question should be viewed within the context of the overall discussion and not answered in a hostile manner.

Do you have any children?

It is not important for an organization to know if you have any family. However, it is your decision on how you will answer this question. Consider the context and manner in which the question is asked.

What groups or organizations do you actively participate in?

This could be a potentially illegal question if the interviewer is seeking information that might be used to discriminate against you such as religion or ethnic background. However, the interviewer may just be seeking information to determine that you have other activities to help balance out your life. Consider your answer carefully.

Do you have a savings plan?

This information should be irrelevant to the interviewer. Almost everyone has a savings plan, even if they have only one account with a minimum balance. You weren’t asked if you followed your plan. So answer “yes,” but be brief and to the point.

Are you married?

This is an illegal question and may not be asked by an interviewer or prospective employer. Questions regarding your marital status are inappropriate. You can tactfully change the topic to your qualifications or answer it. However, you may consider the context and manner in which the question is asked. You may be asked whether a family member works for the company, but otherwise you do not have to answer this question.

Are you involved in any political groups or affiliations?

Questions regarding your political associations are irrelevant to most job offers and may be an improper question. However, try answering this question by referring to your membership in professional affiliations that relate to the position.

Are you a citizen of the United States?

This is a not exactly an appropriate question. Employers only need to know if you are a legally allowed to work in the United States. If you are not a citizen, make sure to explain to the interviewer that you have been authorized to work in the U.S.

How much time do you spend with your family?

Be careful to project a balanced attitude here. This can be a touchy subject. You might be dealing with an interviewer who is work-oriented and who doesn’t recognize the value of family or one who does. Customize your answer to strive for balance with both work and home.