‘What if I get a question about babies?’ asked a childless, but clucky younger woman I’m mentoring before a job interview.
My response is unequivocal. Lie.
Employers and recruiters shouldn’t ask a woman about her baby plans. In fact, it’s illegal. But despite the law, it does happen. I’ve had it twice in the friendly post-interview chitchat as I’m being escorted to the lift, as if it’s somehow not illegal to ask an illegal question once you’re standing up and on your way out of the building.
Some would say that lying to a recruiter or potential employer is manipulative and unethical and that, if asked, women should politely decline to answer the question. But telling your interviewer that they’re breaking the law by asking such questions is not the best way to become the preferred candidate. Often the only acceptable response feels like ‘Oh God no, I hate kids.’
It’s a gutsy woman who would answer any other way, and an even gutsier one who would dare to raise the subject of corporate maternity policies in a job interview.
Sending the message that you not only have the audacity to breed, but you’re demanding enough to expect to receive the benefits to which you’re entitled, is a great way to get your job application stamped with ‘Poor cultural fit’ and filed in the rubbish bin.