The interviewer might just be trying to make conversation but this question could leave some job applicants squirming in their chairs.
Children. Love them or hate them, most people are going to have at least one during the course of their lives. Some individuals relish the idea of having a family, but there's no doubt children can be time consuming. Some companies may consider employees with family commitments bad for business.
Let's make one thing clear: it is illegal for potential employers to disqualify somebody from a job on offer on the basis that they have children. This is especially pertinent for women given that some employers may still have an archaic mindset that motherly responsibilities may compromise their commitment to work.
For an employer to ask whether you have any kids, it could be that they are trying to find out if your work ethics will be compromised due to personal 'distractions', which is completely inappropriate, or they may just be trying to make conversation. While you're not obliged to answer the question, if you don't you may come across as rude. So how can you answer this question?
Employment expert and business author Lynn Taylor suggested a number of ways to respond and none of them involve flat-out answering the question. Stay calm, don't get emotional and try to rephrase the question. Here's Taylor's sample response:
"Perhaps you’re asking if I’m focused on my work, can travel, or handle late hours. I can tell you that I have a very strong work ethic, regardless of what happens in my family life, and feel I can contribute a lot, particularly in the [xyz] area. I would like to know more about your goals for xyz."
Or you can choose to keep it vague:
"I try to keep business and personal matters like that separate. I don’t think that my family life would ever affect my ability to do an excellent job here."
How would you tackle this question? Have you ever been asked this question in an interview? Let us know in the comments.