Yikes! He asked you what?!?!?
Have you ever experienced that reaction or had a friend exclaim that to you?
When interviewing for a new job - especially after staying at home to raise children - potential employers may be curious about your loyalties and commitment. They may wonder how many days a week you will be late because a child needs you...or when you need to leave early because someone is sick...or if you are going to start full-time and then request part-time work or ask to work from home.
It seems incredibly unfair - to be labeled before you even get the job. You may already be experiencing anxiety about working, leaving the kids and how you will manage it all. You certainly don't want more pressure from your employer.
Yet, if you look at it from the employer's point of view, the company is trying to determine whether or now you will be a good fit.
So what do you DO when you are asked an incredibly inappropriate question during an interview?
Sure, we'd love to go running to HR or to sue. But neither option will win you the job.
Instead, use the inappropriate question as a way of highlighting your business savvy and showcasing your ability to handle tough situations.
For example, if you are asked about how you will manage your new work-life situation, you can respond, "I am really excited to work at this firm because of [insert reason] and think I am a great fit for this role because [insert qualifications]. I can't wait to get started."
Or if you are asked whether you want [GULP] to have more kids, you can respond, "I feel blessed to have family in my life. I view my workplace/colleagues like family too. And I am excited to broaden my family by joining this firm."
In other words - deflect. Don't answer the question directly because, let's face it, you may not know the answer and most direct answers may not win you the job. Twist your response to focus on the company and job - and your interest in both. Be sure to use the answer as an opportunity to highlight your knowledge of the company and why you are the right candidate.
And don't let it get you down. If this company isn't the right one, the right one will come along - one that values women and their contributions.