Imagine yourself fully prepared with an excellent resume and appearing for the interview for your dream job. You sit for the interview ready to answer all the questions that you are so well prepared for and all of a sudden they throw questions about your family at you and you are dumbstruck. Asking some interview questions related to personal lives is very common nowadays at interviews. Almost every company no matter how reputed it is, asks about family directly or indirectly. You may choose to ignore or avoid them or answer them straight but it is not easy to face such questions.

why interviewers ask family

Answering such personal questions may be easy for some, for many it is somewhat difficult. You may feel embarrassed or even tensed to answer questions related to your personal life. While for some it is quite easy to face such situations. They in fact become more friendly and relaxed once they talk about family. While some recruiters may ask such personal interview questions out of plain curiosity, others may have specific reasons for it. Here are some of the basic reasons why interviewers ask about your family and personal questions during interviews.

Answering Personal Questions at a Job Interview:

The following mentioned are few common interview questions and answers asked in a personal interview.

1. Questions about family members: Most interviewers are trying to get to know how many family members you have in order to see how many people you have got to support or maybe they want to know whether any family member is going to act as an interruption to your career.

2. Questions about what your parents do: Interviewers ask this question to measure the intensity of your need for the job. If your parents are well off they might feel you will not need the job as much, if they are not well off it might come across that you need the job desperately to support them. It can also be that they are checking whether you want the job to be independent or because you are forced to support your family financially.

3. Questions about your kids: This family question may be asked by interviewers to get a rough estimate about your additional responsibilities which might hinder your performance at work or which might make you take more leaves or make working overtime impossible for you. They mostly associate children with additional responsibility back home.

4. Question about whether you are married or not: This personality interview question may be asked for many reasons. One can get to know about your additional responsibilities towards your husband, children and your extended family members while according to another psychological theory it is said that employers feel that an unmarried woman has no roots and is more of an independent individual, therefore will not think twice before quitting a job and settling for a new one.

5. The place of residence of your family: This question interviewers ask is to know about your roots, your family background i.e. your nationality. Interviewers have very generalized views about locals and foreigners. If you are a foreigner working in a country on work permit, it is evident that once your duration is over you need to go through a lot of complicated procedures to renew your permit or visa which indirectly means that you provide no sense of permanency to the company. This is not the case with the locals.

Some other illegal questions for job interview related to your personal lives which are commonly asked at interviews and the reasons behind them are.

6. Questions related to your gender: This question is asked plain and simple just to discriminate you on the basis of gender. A general idea that men have in fact most women have is that women are the weaker section of society and will not be able to deliver their duties as efficiently as men. Men are said to be with fewer family responsibilities as compared to women. Therefore questions arise on how you are going to manage your work as a woman.

7. Questions related to your age: This question of interview  is asked to assess your maturity firstly and secondly to see how much hard work you can put and for how long. Basically according to employers people who are too young are not mature enough to handle complicated projects and people who are too aged are not energetic enough to work as hard as someone in their mid 20’s or 30’s.

8. Questions about your religion: There is no specific reason why recruiters ask this sort of a question as a person’s religion is irrelevant when it comes to judging his ability to work but still many recruiters ask this sort of a question to take note of festivals or religious days which you might observe and take additional leaves. Therefore, to know such things as how many extra holidays you would need, recruiters ask you about your religious beliefs.

Is it illegal to ask about family in an interview?

No matter what is the reason behind these family interview questions, it is absolutely illegal to ask these question and answer for interview. No matter how reputed the company is or how desperately you want that job, you are absolutely not obliged and should not answer these questions at all. The interviewer is only allowed to know that much about you that is written in your resume like date of birth, age, parents name and the like. Additional information on these topics or elaborating on these topics is definitely not needed.

The difference between legal and illegal questions at the interview is shown by these following examples.

1. Family members:
Legal: Legally a recruiter only has the access to know about the names of your parents that has already been mentioned in your resume. Other than this, everything else is irrelevant.
Illegal: Elaborating on questions about your family such as asking how many additional members live with you or how many people are you responsible to look after are downright illegal.

2. Parents occupation:
Illegal: There is no legality for this question other than what is already mentioned in your resume, if at all it is mentioned. Writing about parent’s occupation is not compulsory even in the resume.

3. No. of children:
Legal: Recruiters may ask you whether you will be able to put in extra hours or not.
Illegal: They cannot frame the question in a way which sounds like whether your children will come in the way of your responsibilities at work or not. This is illegal.

4. Marital status:
Legal: A recruiter may inquire whether you have worked at some other organization under a different name or not just to check your employment history.
Illegal: They can in no way to ask questions like whether you are married or not or what your maiden name was and whether marriage is a disadvantage to your professional life. Such questions are illegal.

5. Residential information:
Legal: Recruiters may only ask you whether you are allowed to work in the country legally and your answer should be a yes or no and nothing more as their concern should only be whether they are hiring someone illegal or not.
Illegal: Asking directly about the country you lived in before or whether you are a foreigner here is illegal. There is no law that discriminates between locals and foreigners on the basis of job.

6. Gender related:
Legal: They can ask you whether you have it in you to work efficiently or not and whether you will be able to give in your 100% for this post.
Illegal: They cannot ask you whether as a woman you will face any difficulties handling a team of men or not or whether being a woman will act as a hindrance to your work.

7. Age related:
Legal: They can only enquire whether you are of the legal age to work under the company or not as anyone below 18 years of age is a minor and is not allowed to work.
Illegal: Asking whether you are mature enough to handle a task because you are so young even though you are above 18 is illegal or telling that you are too aged to handle something is illegal.

8. Religion related:
Legal: They might just tell you that you will have to work on weekends and also on holidays.
Illegal: They cannot ask you about your religious beliefs or ask you whether you observe certain religious days or not.

What is your Family status Best Answer:

The best way to answer about family status would be to first analyze the reason why you are being asked the questions and then mould your answer to exactly what the interviewer wants to hear. If it is about a general concern then you may answer highlighting your skills but if it’s just out of curiosity then don’t answer. You may say that whatever your family status may be, it can never affect your work because you have strong leadership skills and work ethic and know the rules of professionalism.

1. Answer about family members:
The best way to answer this question would be to answer it half by not mentioning the number of members but saying that yes you have a family but that can in no way come between you and your professional life as they are very supportive.

2. Answer about what your parents do:
You can just say that you are an individual and your parent’s occupation can have no effect on your professional life or growth therefore you feel that answering interview question like this one is not relevant.

3. Answer about your kids:
You can say yes you have kids but that is not a relevant question to ask as kids have nothing to do with your work. Also, mention that you are someone who knows how to balance your personal and professional life tactfully.

4. Answer about your marriage:
Just twist your answer and redirect the interviewer towards your good qualities by saying that perhaps they wanted to know whether you are capable of working late hours and being focused on your work or not and say that you have a very strong work ethic which maintains a safe distance between the family and office.

5. Answer about your place of residence:
If you are asked this question just inquire back whether they are asking this question to know whether you are legally allowed to work there or not. If they say yes that’s the motive behind their question, just say that yes you are legally allowed to work there. If there is any other motive behind this question then you can say that it is irrelevant.

Ways to answer some other Illegal questions are:

6. Answer about gender:
Just say that being a woman empowers you more as women can multi task and surveys have proven that they are at par with men when it comes to intelligence and hard work.

7. Answer about your age:
You should say that age can never be the basis of judging one’s ability therefore your age does not define you and you are competent enough to survive and thrive in the most difficult of situations.

8. Answer about your religion:
You can say that regardless of your religious beliefs you are a leader enough who will be present when you are needed, be it during the weekends or during holidays to assist your boss and colleagues. Your religion empowers you and does not act as your drawback.

Therefore, always remember that your boss too has some restrictions upon him and if you deny answering these questions you will gain more respect. There is no need to get intimidated by anyone in your life as the law always has certain guidelines to protect your privacy. The only thing that you need to do as citizens is be alert and get the necessary awareness about your rights and about the benefits which you are entitled to as the worker. Power does not only belong to the boss but also to you.