So, have you been asked whether you are married or have kids on an academic job interview? Many of us have, even though the people interviewing you are not supposed to ask. What strategies have you used (or would have liked to use ) to deal with these awkward questions? Do you wear your wedding rings? Do you change the background of your computer screen before using your laptop to give your presentation? If you are part of a dual-career couple, when do you bring up your spouse to take advantage of spousal hiring opportunities?
This thread stems from a comment on this post about an invitation to tailgate on an academic job interview, and I didn’t want the comment thread to derail there, so consider this comment thread open!
(Note: I don’t think they’re technically illegal per se, but if they’re asked and you don’t get the job, they can be damning evidence in an AA complaint…)
My thoughts are below the fold…
For my own part, I was asked these questions in the context of trying to be recruited to a department, and I’m afraid it scared me off the department instead of drawing me to it. I always thought the query of “can you tell me how that question pertains to my job interview here?” a graceful answer to either of the questions. I kept my wedding rings on. I have landscapes on my computer laptop background. And I brought up my husband’s need for a job once the department chair called saying he wanted to make me an offer.
What are your experiences?