Are these interview questions considered illegal in India too?

Discussion in 'Education & Personal Growth' started by soumyapr, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. soumyapr

    soumyapr Senior IL'ite

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    Hi friends, I recently attended an interview for an entry-level position in a big company. I was asked a lot of personal questions, many of which I found very discomforting and I was not prepared for these questions.

    After getting back home I searched online for a correct response to such questions and after researching I found that in western countries it is considered illegal to ask any personal questions.

    How does it work in our country? Is it a done thing to ask discomforting personal questions in MNC's in India?

    Some sample questions I was asked and felt uncomfortable answering:
    "What are your plans for having kids?" I don't have kids and do not want to discuss anything about it to anyone except my DH and my doctor. I felt extremely uncomfortable when asked this.
    "How do you plan to manage your family life as you will be busy all day?" Is this question asked to everyone or just married freshers? I felt that being married is a kind of sin when I was asked this.

    "Why do you want to work?" This was asked referring to my age and long gap after graduation. I am trying to get a job after a very long time. I did not understand what to say. An honest answer is that I want to earn well and be able to support my DH financially. But I was unprepared for such questions and couldn't answer well.

    I was asked all the details about my family. They even wanted to know what my siblings do. Why is that so?

    It this the standard procedure in interviews?
    Can I deny answering some questions?
    Can I tell that I am uncomfortable and do not want to discuss my personal life beyond a point?
    Why is it legit in India while illegal abroad to ask personal questions?

    I am concerned because after the interview I have a feeling that if I am offered a position and join the company, at some point they might tell me that due to being married and so n so I am not able to perform when the reason could be different.

    Please note that I am just looking for some guidance here and not criticizing interview panel or anyone else; because I have a gut feeling now that if I join the company I might face discrimination for being married and older in age.
     
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  2. vandv

    vandv Silver IL'ite

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    All these questions are from the HR division and I don't think it will have to do anything with your work round once you join the company. You ll have to concentrate on the work and if you prove good, there wont be any discrimination because of age or marital status.
    These questions you have given here though sounds uncomfortable is the tact of hiring team you check your longevity in work, how long you will stay with the company and your boldness to face any kind of questions (which checks your ability to face any adverse situation).
    And the first question -- "What are your plans for having kids?" is absolutely unnecessary as it is entirely one decision and plan when and when not to have kids. Other than that all the questions are ok according to me.
    This question --"How do you plan to manage your family life as you will be busy all day?" is to know how you ll strike a right balance between work and family life. Your answer in such cases should be positive and show willingness to work sincerely and also make quality time with family.

    "Why do you want to work?".. this question you should expect especially when your are trying for a job after a long gap.
    Always before going for an HR interview should conduct a web search of probable questions and answers for personal interview. There are a number of websites which give perfect answers for such questions.
     
  3. soumyapr

    soumyapr Senior IL'ite

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    vandv

    how do I respond to the question about kids? What is the reason behind asking that? Is the company concerned that if I am planning kids I might need maternity leave and so the company would be at loss?

    Can I say that this is a personal question? Or should I tell them that yes I am planning to have kids in fact trying to have?? Wouldn't that be like inviting more queries if I am honest with my ttc thing? Moreover, I do not wish to discuss these things with anyone, even after I join a company.
    I would like to be very honest and not cheesy in the interview, when asked how will I manage if I had kids I said I cannot tell now as I do not have kids yet, I might want to be with my kids, but presently I want to work, is that a wrong answer? What would be a better response?

    I had done research and prepared answers like greatest strengths and weakness achievements till date etc..., but the above questions about my age, kids etc. completely threw me off guard. I was not prepared for these at least. I want to be prepared better for next few interviews. Please do give suggestions.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2012
  4. sushmavja

    sushmavja Platinum IL'ite

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    soumya,
    they want to know your confidence levels is what i understand as you are entering new into the workforce..
    in my interview a govt sector one...i was asked how i would manage if i would get a job out of my present place i.e where my DH worked..also i had a 11 month old then, they asked e how i would manage with the kid..
    i feel asking when you are planning to have kids is a wierd kind of question but still they would like to know how you have planned..

    "How do you plan to manage your family life as you will be busy all day?" and "Why do you want to work?" are quite normal questions i feel..
     
  5. shruthisp

    shruthisp Gold IL'ite

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    This could be a stress interview.. For an entry level position with hectic schedule i have seen people undergoing stress interview. The interviewers perspective may be to asses the confidence and the how the interviewee is handling stress. Guess u could have given a honest answer in a diplomatic way..
     
  6. pretty84

    pretty84 New IL'ite

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    Hi,

    I did not see any wrong in these questions, being a female you feel bit uneasy.

    Secondly, your employer may think that as soon as you join, you may proceed on maternity leave etc... and we do not know what are the employment priorities and their project schedules, you can tell them, I seek to prioritize employment commitments..

    Thirdly why do you want to work.. may be a question to test your confidence level, are you working for just to raise your family economy or you want to prove yourself in your career..

    Finally you can check with the interview panel is my prospective employer an "equal oppurtunity employer"..

    Not only in India even in abroad certain companies raise these questions..however best of luck..
     
  7. jasmin20

    jasmin20 New IL'ite

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    Hi

    I had faced all these interview questions ....not in HR round but in Technical round also...
    When I was in India, once an interviewer asked "Tell me about your family planning" , the comp was Patni...I became bit nervous coz I faced it for the 1st time...somehow I answered it, he discussed everything, asked about my husband, my parents and my siblings...at last salary...and u know they did not select me..:bonk

    I had faced more than 10 interviews in different software companies and I faced the same question about husband, where he works and even some people asked in which area he works etc etc..

    After that when I came to UAE, here also I faced family related questions, like where my husband works, about my kid, how old is my kid, in which grade he is, about his school, where I stay, the distance from that particular company...and all these questions in TECHNICAL round only..:hide:
    And the worst thing happened here is : Once I went for an interview...2 gentlemen were there, I was able to answer most of the questions, then they started asking me about family, abt my husband's office etc etc...even the year when I got married!!:spin
    After that the HR lady discussed salary and all...she told the offer letter will come to me in 2 days..I was so happy...when I left, came to the ground floor, one of the interviewers came running and asked me "Do u have kids?"..I told yes, then he asked the age and class, I told...then he asked "Is there anybody to take care of the kid at ur home?"..I told "after school, he goes to day care"..he again asked "no..not day care, is there anybody like ur mom or ur husband's mom stay with u to take care?"...I told NO and then left..

    After 2 days I did not get the offer letter...I called the concerned consulting comp, they told "the interviewer rejected me for some unknown reason":rant
    But I could guess the reason and all of u also can!!!
     
  8. soumyapr

    soumyapr Senior IL'ite

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    Wow Jasmin that was something. They openly discriminate against you if you are married with kids. I have been googling about how to face these question and every time I give a search it gives results like illegal questions ....
    Finally I found an article which said that these questions are illegal in North America and a woman can even sue the company for such discrimination, whereas in India they are fully legal even if the company is an "equal opportunity employer" in US.ven if it was illegal no body would have bothered... like dowry is illegal in India but practiced openly and even the movies show dowry as a done thing!!

    Anyways, thanks friends for the inputs, I am glad I faced that interview and now I will be better prepared for next few interviews.
     
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