The "marital status" question at job interviews

114 posts in this topic

I have had a few job interviews over here and the one question that really annoys me is along the lines of: "Are you married or single?" or "Do you have a girlfriend/wife and children".

 

Firstly, interviewers should know that it is against the law to make a hiring decision based on a potential hire's marital or parental status.

 

But secondly, what is the correct answer? Should I decline to answer? Should I tell them the truth and then ask if the interviewer is married or single? Should I tell them what they want to hear, whether it's true or not?

 

Any ideas?

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well here in germany we need a "lebenslauf " CV where my family status is noted anyway. Your profile doesn't show if you male of female. On the one hand being a male I can't imagine this question has anything to do with getting the job or not on the other hand being female maybe they want to know if in the near future you will not be able to work because of pregnancy. I would just ask them if the answer is relevant and why? I would just answer them if they want to know. It's nothing top secret.

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in Germany it is quite common to be concerned about the person as a whole, not only regarding the profession but also private aspects. You are always well off if you tell them that "ich lebe mit meiner Partner/in (meinem Partner) zusammen" or "Ich bin in festen Händen". It also gives a good impression to tell them something about your hobby, wich should be Jogging or Fitness.

 

In case you are female and be asked about your "Kinderwunsch" this is a strictly illegal question and you are entitled to lie about it (of course children are not for you, your partner already has children or sth similar.

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i still stay it's stupid and has nothing to do with how you can work.

If i want kids or not, have a boyfriend or not, am a runner or knitter doesn't show how i work and my job potential. If for some reason one of those things actually have something to do with the job (working for a knitting/yarn store) then that's all together different.

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It is best to say you are not married otherwise they will think that you are stupid and you will never get the job.

However you must say that you have a girlfriend otherwise they will think that you are gay.

Common sense really.

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Speaking as an American, applying for a job in Germany can be a shocking experience. Even though I was offered a job with my company to move here, I still needed to submit a standard application containing questions such as: marital status, sexual orientation, religion, and a picture! I've learned this is standard operating procedure here, but it's still hard to swallow considering being brought up with an Ami background.

 

If any of those questions were asked in an interview in the US, it would be grounds for a lawsuit against the potential employer for discrimination. These questions really bothered me because the implication is that they are considered during the decision process. If they were completely irrelevant, then why would they be asked?

 

In light of Germany's role in WWII, it still surprises me that it is acceptable here to ask these types of questions, that simply categorize people in a similar fashion as was done in years past.

 

I can just imagine a possible rejection letter. "We're very sorry to inform you that we are really looking for someone better looking to type on our computers."

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As a woman I answer:

 

"I have a child and have no plans to have any more."

 

If I change my mind, that's MY business because THEY have no damn business asking in the first place. If they are unethical enough to ask an illegal question knowing that they are backing you in the corner, then fuck them. Tell them what they want to hear and then do what you want.

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If I change my mind, that's MY business because THEY have no damn business asking in the first place. If they are unethical enough to ask an illegal question knowing that they are backing you in the corner, then fuck them. Tell them what they want to hear and then do what you want.

My pet sheep is quite happy with that approach as well :lol:

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My wife was turned down for a position with Lush Germany on the grounds that "you have a child and they might be sick and you wont be able to come to work " the regional manager actually said that to her face, but apparently there is nothing that one can do about it. Their headquarters in the UK were also shocked about this, but again couldnt do anything.

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Davo I think the German system is better as when one requests a photograph one has the opportunity to just select the hot babes for an interview, Imagine for one moment that you were the boss doing the hiring. Germany is easily the better place to work, than the USA, by far.

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@BattalionBoy

Agreed, there are advantages to being an employer and getting this info upfront from your applicants, but it still sucks to be on the applying side.

And I'm certainly not saying that working here is bad. In fact, I quite like my job. I just didn't appreciate the application process too much. I was SO tempted to just include a picture of Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise on my application and see what the reaction would've been. Or conversely, a pic of the Elephant Man!

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It's not just your face that can get an applicant rejected. I was recently told by someone in the know that a lawyer here in Germany was rejected for employment because her hands were not to the liking of the law firm partner who interviewed her. This became known when he wrote on her Anschreiben "don't like the bad hands".

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We just hired a woman for a team who was up against five male candidates. We felt she was best qualified, but after having another team member go on maternity leave and come back part.time, it was a huge risk to consider a woman in her early 30s for the job. I will just say we did our best to discover her intentions about motherhood. Now we're just crossing our fingers.

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Fact is some narrow minded German companies are scared of getting lumbered with "women" on maternity. The other factor maybe that they are looking for someone with certain qualities which they feel are more present in a married and childed person, or know that someone who has that behind them will fit better into the team picture. Can also apply to singles. Young and Single often means cheap and abusable to some employers, and often impressionable to some boses. If a company doesnt want to employ you because of you status whatever it is, then you dont want to work there anyway. These things can change drasticly and quickly.

 

A lot of employment descisions are made on other descisions than just your experience and qualifications. That's life.

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We just hired a woman for a team who was up against five male candidates. We felt she was best qualified, but after having another team member go on maternity leave and come back part.time, it was a huge risk to consider a woman in her early 30s for the job. I will just say we did our best to discover her intentions about motherhood. Now we're just crossing our fingers.

Unfortunately that is exactly how many employers think.

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Let's be frank- we abhor gender discrimination, but at the same time employers are in business to make a profit. If an employee is in Mutterschutz, she is collecting her salary but not doing any work, so someone has to be hired at additional expense to do it, or co-workers have to pick up the slack. If the woman decides to exercise her right to maternity leave for three years, or not to return to her job, then, absent a restructuring, someone has to be hired to replace her. That costs time and money.

The maternity leave law must be respected and female job applicants should not be discriminated against, but let's not overlook the fact that there are costs to the employer if a female employee becomes preganant.

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