Great Interview Questions – Illegal Interview Questions on Marital Status and Children

These particular illegal questions are very near and dear to my heart, as I have been on the receiving end multiple times to the questions.

At GE there was one manager that would ask the female employees at during their annual review to put their hands on the table. This was a subtle way for him to check to see if anyone had acquired engagement or wedding rings, since their last review.

I moved to Chicago after my marriage to live with my husband. Prior to that we had a long distance relationship.  (Which I would not advise anyone to do). I then started to interview for a new job in the city of my new home. On 80-90% of the interviews everyone wanted to know what my husband did for a living. It seemed at sometimes they were more interested in what his professional background, then talking to me about the position. I finally said to someone, “I do not understand why that should be of interest (referring to the question about what my husband did for a living) relative to whether I am being considered for a job or not.”

In retrospect I was younger and less informed on how to answer the question

Question:  “Are you married and do you have any children?”

Answer:  “Yes I am, but I do not understand what relevance that has in terms of me being seriously considered a qualified candidate for this position. Relative to children, I do have children. They understand that I do work, enjoy working, and sometimes I will have to work late and travel for my job. Know if you do not mind, I would rather talk more about the position I am interviewing for.”

With this answer technique, you have answered the question and turned it to your advantage but subtly showing your level of commitment to your professional life. You have also expressed that you are committed to your job and the duties and time commitments that are expected.

You can try to not answer the question because it does not relate directly to your candidacy, but you most likely will appear to be difficult and screen out as an “uncooperative “person. (Even though you are most likely in the right legally.

These are awkward situations at best, but remember what the big picture is. The big picture is for you to land that next great job.

One of my favorite with my kids several years ago.

Keep a cool and professional head at all times.

Have a good week interviewing!



Eleanor Anne Sweet

The Job Search Expert  tm

The Expert in Job Search Solutions. Tm

For more job search information, feel free to visit my blog, “Sweet Job Advice”, at


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