What if you get, "The Illegal
Question" in an interview?
It's usually directed at women:
"Are you married? Do you or will you have kids?"
The question behind the question:
"Will you be coming late and bolting early for school programs, teacher
conferences, medical issues and sports?"
There is an abundance of advice
online on how to dodge or rebuff this question. But Natalie McCandies, attorney
at law, has another suggestion.
I contacted Natalie, because I was
impressed by her answer, which I first heard when we were both speaking at
Valparaiso University Law School.
"I am a mother, I have a son.
We are planning on having more. But that won't have any effect on how I do my
job. I try to keep my professional and family life separate. But my family is
very important to me and I am a mother first."
Natalie had the question when
interviewing for a public defender's department. Obviously, they would know
asking about family or kids is illegal. So why ask it?
"They are looking for your
response," explains Natalie. "In the legal field, you deal with all
kinds of people and people will test you. Will you fly off the handle or be
Natalie was hired. "They liked
my honesty," she said.
She even brought her son into the
office while working long hours as second chair with another attorney on a
Natalie is now a prosecutor. But
she said people in that public defender's office, appreciated her hard work and
still provide excellent references for her. The askers of The Illegal Question,
were nice people and good mentors after all.
When asked The Illegal Question in
interviews, you have options. Natalie's option to answer it with honesty and
candor, is a good one.