How to Answer Questions About Family at Interview

Job interviews are always stressful especially when it is the first interview after graduation. You never know how everything is going to be. Some recruiters prefer to conduct a conversation that can hardly be related to the job interview, while other prefer to act out different life situations just to see how you react. You may be asked different inappropriate questions that will be both provocative and offensive. You always expect some tricks at the job interview, and never believe that the questions that the recruiter asks are straight-forward. Especially when you are asked about family.

Of course, you understand that the recruiter wants to know you better but you are still wondering how your personality is connected to the private questions about your family? You do not even understand the importance of your answers! In this article, we will tell you how you should answer questions about family in such a way that your recruiter is satisfied.


Why are these questions so important?

Your answers to these questions can tell the interviewer even more than your answers to all other questions. You probably know that the personal factors are often more important to the employer than your experience and skills. If they like you as a person, they will hire you even if you lack some skills or expertise. That’s why they implement all the methods to test your personality.

The first reason they ask these questions is to see your reaction. Family questions are considered to be something intimate, so how you react to them will tell the interviewer even more than your answers.

The other reason to ask them is to see how quickly you can switch from one topic to another without losing your confidence. For example, if you have been talking about your responsibilities on your previous job, and the interviewer suddenly asks you whether you are married, you do not need to panic. Just tell the truth and wait for the next question. In most cases, you will just continue the discussion of your responsibilities at previous work.

However, sometimes these questions are asked to understand whether you have some dependents. It does not necessarily mean that if you have kids, the interviewer will decide that you do not suit this position. On the contrary, people who have some dependents are generally more responsible and understand how their actions can influence other people.


Legal and illegal questions about family

Although asking family questions is a common practice for interviewers, not all of them know that there are some things that they should never ask as they might be accused of breaking the law. Here is a brief list of what is legal to ask and what are the questions that may lead to problems:

  1. Number of family members you are taking care of

The recruiter is allowed to ask the number of your family members, but they should never ask how many people you are taking care of. Of course, if you write this information in your CV, the recruiter may ask some clarifying questions.

  1. Occupation of your family members

This is an absolutely inappropriate question as it has nothing to do neither with your personality nor with your professional skills. However, some employees are so preoccupied with the stalking and spying that they try to check everything about the people who come to their interviews.

  1. Children

The recruiter is allowed to ask whether you have kids and even how many of them you have. However, it is illegal to ask whether your kids have some problems with mental or physical health.

  1. Are you married?

This is a frequent question asked on many interviews, and this is a legal question. However, if the recruiter starts asking whether your marriage influences your career and how it affects the number of hours you spend at the office, it is better to stop this conversation – such questions are absolutely inappropriate.

  1. Your residence

Your current residence is important by far, so the recruiter is allowed to ask such questions. However, they have no right to ask questions concerning your previous residence. If you have no problems with the immigration law, you can tell the interviewer that you do not answer such questions because they are offensive.

  1. Age

This is another question that is frequently violated by recruiters. The only thing that the recruiter should know is that you’ve turned 18. Other details should not be important to them.

  1. Religion

This is the question that should never be asked by the recruiter if they do not want to get in trouble with the law.


These are 7 basic family-related topics of questions that may be asked by the recruiter. Now you know what questions are legal and what are not. Now, let’s talk how to answer such questions in a proper way so that you satisfy the desires of the recruiter and do not ignore your moral principles.


5 questions that should be answered properly: a brief guide

Let’s move on how you should answer questions about family during the job interview. Keep in mind that this is just a list of recommendations and ideas, and you can always introduce something new to make your answers sound more confident.

  1. Questions about family members

The best strategy to answer this question is not to tell the number of your family members. As we have already mentioned before, this is an illegal practice, and you can tell the recruiter that they are breaking the law by asking such things. However, we would recommend you not to create conflicts during the interview and give a half of the answer telling that you have a family that supports you in reaching your career goals and takes your family responsibilities so that you have more time for your job.

  1. Questions about jobs of your family members

If you do not want to answer such questions, you may just say that they are irrelevant. However, sometimes the occupation of your parents may play a significant role, for example, if you have interview for the photographer position and your parents are photographers. Of course, if you have some powerful relatives (judges, politicians), it’s totally up to you to use this information. However, we would recommend you not to tell it to the interviewer. The matter is that they probably did a research and know that you have such a family, and it will look like bragging if you tell that you have powerful relatives.

  1. Questions about kids

If you have kids, it is better to answer truthfully and tell the interviewer that the kids do not affect your working life. Although if you do not want to explain that to the employer, you may always tell that this is an irrelevant question which has nothing to do with the job requirements.

  1. Questions about marriage

Interviewers ask this question to get to know whether you are planning to get married in the soonest time. It is better to answer this question honestly and not misguide the interviewer. If you are married, tell that and explain that the marriage has nothing to do with your work and does not affect you as a specialist.

  1. Age and religion questions

We strongly recommend you not to encourage the interviewers to ask such questions! Tell them that these are offensive questions and you may use them to take the interviewer to court. These are not threats but your responsibility.


How to deal with provocative family questions?

The recruiters are masters of asking provocative questions. If you have been to several job interviews, perhaps you’ve noticed that the recruiters always ask the same questions concerning your professional skills, but they have another approach to asking personal questions. Here, we will talk how to deal with such questions no matter how they sound and what answer they presuppose.


Make use of the question to demonstrate your commitment

Every provocative family question can be used to demonstrate that you are committed to your job. If you are asked whether you have kids, you may just tell that you have them but they spend most of the time with a babysitter or a nanny, as you spend all the time working. If you are asked whether you are married, you may tell that you are not, as currently you have decided to commit yourself to work and spend your free time studying something new and improving your skills.


Ask a clarifying question

If you are not sure how to answer a question about your family, it is better to ask what exactly the recruiter means by this question and how it relates to your work. For example, you may tell that you have never been asked such a question before so you are a little bit confused by it. Ask the interviewer to explain to you why this question is important and how it matters to the job.


Show that you do not mix up family and job

It is always better to follow the position that your family does not affect your job (although there may be some exceptions). If you do not know how to answer the question, just tell that the object of the question (kids, wife, relatives, dog) do not influence the results of your work as you know how to keep your personal and professional lives separate.


Do not risk with answers

If you do not know how to answer a certain question and you understand that the answer will have a huge impact on the results of the interview, it is better not to answer it. The same goes for questions that you are not comfortable with (for example, whether you have disabled relatives). Always remember that a polite ‘No’ is better than a lie or a poor attempt to answer the question.


Never initiate a conflict

If you have been asked an uncomfortable question, your main task is to remain calm and answer in a polite manner. Sometimes, complicated situations happen during interviews when an interviewee initiates a conflict which leads to unpredictable results. So, if you are not satisfied with the question that you’ve been asked, at least try to avoid conflict.


Control your emotions

You may sometimes want to answer a question in a rude manner just as a first reaction. However, it is always better to control your behavior and keep your emotions under control. If you think that the question is too private, count to 10, and only then answer. Thus, your ‘No’ will sound more polite.


Learn your employer

If the interviewer asks too many personal questions that sometimes are even illegal (for example, questions about your religion), it’s better to avoid cooperation with them. It means that the employer does not respect the rights of employees and if you become a member of such team, you will only get more problems.


Tricky questions during the job interview are obligatory but they should never offend you as a person. If you have some hesitations about the appropriateness of such questions, it is better not to answer them at all. We hope that this article was useful for you and you will use our recommendations when answering the family-related questions during the interview.




Author’s Bio:

Richard Nolan is a writer and a private tutor, sharing his experience in spheres of  writing, blogging, entrepreneurship and psychology. Richard writes for numerous blogs and gives useful tips for bloggers and students. Currently, Richard works as a general blog editor for ProWritersCenter. Follow him on Twitter.

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