Statistics reveal that more than 80 percent women have said that they have had to respond to inappropriate questions while interviewing for jobs. If you have been job-hunting in post-COVID times, you've probably heard many bizarre and ridiculous questions yourself.
We have seen this happen to celebs no less! Back in 2012 during the promotion of The Avengers, Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson was seen getting upset over nonsensical and sexist questions coming to her while her colleagues Robert Downey Jr and others were quizzed more about the movie and their body of work. “How come you get the really interesting existential question, and I get the like ‘rabbit food’ question?” Johansson responded, referencing the inquiry to Downey Jr.
So while superheroes are not spared, decided to tackle these in the best way possible. Here’s a list to help you to steer off these questions with lesser awkwardness, anger, or sheer frustration.
Are you married?
For some reason, more than a fair share of interviewers assume that asking such personal questions and more, including current relationship status, is somehow relevant to a woman’s ability to land the job and a window to her commitment to work. Unless you feel inclined to divulge, politely saying that’s ‘something personal that I would not like to share at the moment’ should suffice.
Do you plan to wear that at work?
A bunch of my friends who wear a head covering such as a hijab, as part of their religious beliefs, often face this question and unwarranted second looks. As a friend puts it, “I’ve made it this far in life keeping my hair covered and will continue to do so if I wish to. Stick to work-related questions only, thank you very much!”
Do you plan to have children? or Are you pregnant?
A friend was unabashedly asked by a recruiter “you have been married for more than three years, and you have not planned your family yet. Is there a problem or health issue?” To be clear, this question is not only obnoxious, but it’s also perfectly illegal. Need we say more?
How do you plan to balance work and family?
How do all women plan to balance work and family? The same way any man would, one assumes! This also happens to be none of the interviewer’s business.
Would you be able to handle a predominantly male team?
Um, we’d handle a predominantly male team like we’d handle any other team because men shouldn’t take issue with having a strong, competent female boss. Right? If you happen to be in a male-dominated office or field of work, be prepared to hear this cringe-worthy question a lot.
Hope you are not planning a baby in the coming year, we need serious candidates.
Here’s a question for those asking these questions - why do parenting and all questions about work-life balance point only to women? A woman can choose to be a wife, mother and a CEO. Not giving us an opportunity on this basis is discriminatory and unacceptable.
What's the lowest salary you would accept?
When I asked my guy friends if they were ever put in a spot like this, they unanimously said no. Says it all.
Are you good to work all days of the month?
A dig at period leaves, this question implies that a woman shouldn’t regularly take days off to take care of herself. Both men or women could need day(s) off for their physical and mental well being. While the world is trying to find parity at work and otherwise, such an attitude from employers or professionals at the helm of hiring new talent is disappointing.
Let’s end with a reminder from Beyoncé: “Who run the world? Girls.”
(Edited by Teja)