I never did give them hell. I just told the truth, and they thought it was hell. (Harry S. Truman)
How about this for answering an illegal or immoral question without losing the job?
Q: “Do you have any children?”
A: “I don’t have any entanglements that will keep me from traveling as needed. In the last year I have had to hop a flight 5 times with only an hour’s notice.”
Q: “That’s good, but are you married or divorced?”
A: “My personal life is very stable. It is a great support to me in my work and is why I have been able to increase sales 40% this year at my current job.”
Q: “Are you living with anyone?”
A: Smile and laugh “If you are worried about my goldfish, don’t. If you will ask me what you are really worried about, I’ll answer the question. What are you concerned about? What red flags have been raised because of previous people who held this job?”
Three times is too much. If an interviewer comes back to an inquiry you don’t want to pursue for a third time, stop them. One way is with the Shirley Temple laugh I mentioned in my last article. The other is to stop the interview cold and ask what the real problem is. You can combine the two effectively. I have found that if you ask for respect, you’ll get it. Smile, chuckle with your interviewer about the question, and then lay your concern on the line. If you have to yell and threaten to get respect, you will only get an enemy, not respect or a job.
If you help your interviewer cure the underlying concern, you will be respected. If you allow a lot of BS questions that are offensive to you, you won’t want the job and it won’t be offered to you. The interviewer will have felt your resentment and pass over you. So stop things and discuss the real problem. You have a right to ask questions too.
Something to do today
Send me a list of offensive or difficult questions you have been asked in an interview. I’ll answer them in my newsletters.
Later: The meek will inherit…
How to quit
The old boy network
Exploit the old boys
The money question