Q: How do I answer questions in an interview that are about my personal life? As a young woman, I am always asked two questions: am I married? Do I plan to have children? And some of my friends are often asked about where their parents live, how old they are, etc.
A: I feel I have to provide some context for this question. I have several coaching clients who are Chinese, have come to the US to study and intend to return to their own country immediately or within a few years of receiving their degree. This question comes from one of them…and the sad thing is that it could have come from any one of them (now or future).
These kinds of questions are illegal in the US, but that hardly makes them extinct so I’m going to answer this question for two reasons: first, because the approach I suggest for my coaching clients is good general advice for anyone who expects and fears a particular question in interviewing, and second, because whether it’s a calculated (or blundering) risk during hiring or a political minefield once you’ve been hired, many Americans will still have to face some similar question at some point (or several) in their professional lives. It’s worth thinking about and preparing for. Read more