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In general, all questions relating to personal background or family history must be asked of both male and female applicants seeking similar positions and must be specifically job-related. Questions about marital status and family plans are normally aimed at determining the student's long-range career commitment but, while the underlying reason for these questions may be legitimate, the overt questions are not.
When you are asked a question which you consider to be discriminatory, it presents a real problem. Although the question may not be legal, refusing to answer it may make the employer think you cannot handle the job. The best approach is to give a calm, rational answer to the CONCERN rather than the QUESTION:
Q - How will your spouse feel if you are away from home several nights a month?
A - I have given my career plan much thought and preparation. I am confident my personal life will not interfere with my job.
Questions such as the following require an answer because they reflect on how confident you are of your career choice and ability to do the job:
"Do you know how dirty a foundry is?" "How deep a mine is?"
"How will you feel if all your customers/co-workers are men?" "Can you lift a 94 lb. sack of cement?"
In addition, statements such as, "No man will buy machinery from a woman" need a positive, but not argumentative response.
If you have any problems in this area or any concerns about the way your interview was conducted, please see the Career Center staff immediately to discuss the situation.
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