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Indian female here, residing in India. Been attending technical interviews and there were a few where one or two personal questions were popped up right at the beginning. They didn't make me uncomfortable per se, but made me think 'Why is this even important?'

A few of these are :

  • Where are you from? This/that city or this/that region? (I am residing in the same city as the company and there is no question of relocation)
  • How can you manage your family, kids and work if you are willing to join our organization? (It has regular office timings; nothing like working in US/UK shift)
  • Do you have kids?

Kindly remember that here in India, people get personal very easily and there is nothing illegal about such questions as considered in the other countries.

As much as I wish that the discussion was purely technical, I understand that I cannot change what is being asked. All I want to reply is, 'I am here for a technical discussion and do not want to get into my personal details.'

My question is how do I put across this thought in a diplomatic way so that I am not asked about these further?

I am stressing it here; a few recruiters and interviewers get personal very quickly and get offended very quickly too. Yes, I am glad that I do not work for them. But, I want to reply in a smooth manner as well.

26

While I am not Indian, I am familiar with the culture and how personal it is, and how offense is given and taken.

The best solution is to either be brief, and say "I do not think this will be an issue" or something like that to any personal inquiry, or to bury them in details, then change the subject.

Example:

Where are you from.

A: I am local

How can you manage your family.. etc

A: I do not think that will be an issue, as I have been working for some time and managing it all quite well.

or, alternatively......

A: Well, the youngest one is in school right now, and is doing very well, science is her favorite subject, she got excellent grades last year and is doing quite well this year as well, the oldest prefers math and will likely be looking into physics as a career some day. My spouse and I coordinate quite well in all of these things....

and drag it on for some time being vague, but verbose.

Judge which approach works best on a case by case basis. If time is a concern with the interviewer, they will stop asking personal questions if you drag out the answers. If the brief approach works, use that and complete the answer by dragging it back to your skill set.

Where are you from?

I am local, and I have been working in this industry for X years. My last employer was pleased with the fact that I delivered the widget project on time and under budget....

Either approach is a good way to be assertive, keep them from getting too deep into your personal life, and keeping from offending as well.

Do you have kids?

A: I believe family is important, which is why I want to work for you. I know you have a strong commitment to your employees and their families.

  • 1
    @WonderWoman just added a response to that. If you are ever cornered, and must answer, or offend, answer and then drag it right back to promoting yourself without giving them time to follow up on the personal question. – Richard Says Reinstate Monica Dec 31 '18 at 16:46
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    I so admire you for these answers. I can't wait to use these replies. I know I cannot avoid such questions; but answering them tactfully is important too. Thank you so much. – WonderWoman Dec 31 '18 at 16:50
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    Is the point of "drag it on for some time being vague, but verbose.", to simply to make them unwilling to ask another because you are boring? Or is it so you can make them feel like they have satisfied their (possibly subconcious) quota for personal small talk? Or for some other reason. – Lyndon White Dec 31 '18 at 19:10
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    @RichardU "Vague but verbose" wow, I don't think anyone has ever summed up my personality in three words before! Thank you! – corsiKa Dec 31 '18 at 21:12
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    @Mazura The culture in India is very different than America. In America, even asking is a HUGE no-no. In india, it's more the norm. The cultural gap is huge here, so NOT answering can be considered rude – Richard Says Reinstate Monica Dec 31 '18 at 23:02
1

I don't think there's an easy way to dodge these questions, as they will be in the mind of most of the recruiters if you're between 20 and 35 :/

A lot of employers are afraid to employ women who may become pregnant during their stay in the company and they will often want to know if you plan to have kids in the near future.

  • If you already have kids reassure the employer that it won't cause any trouble.

  • If you don't have kids and wether you actually plan to have some or not, convince him that it's not something you plan to do any time soon. A pregnant woman can be a burden for a company (need to be replaced when she leaves and will need work that isn't attribued to her anymore when she comes back) but there's nothing you can do about it and it isn't your concern, you need to work even if you plan to have kids later. Being frank about it may get you rejected in a lot of places, unfortunately :(

About other types of personal questions, it can either have implications you don't see at first (i.e, where you live can affect travel time, occasional lateness, reactivity in case of emergency...) or just to get to know you better (where you're from, what do you do in your free time, what kind of music you listen to...).

In an interview, the recruiter will both want to know if you're qualified for the job but also if you will fit with the teams and if they'll enjoy working with you. I don't think you'll ever be free of at least a few personnal questions.

(disclaimer : I'm not from India but I just read https://money.cnn.com/2017/03/30/news/economy/india-maternity-leave-law-employment-hiring/index.html which make me believe I may be right in my assumptions)

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