Illegal Question #2: Do you have Children?

Why they ask it:
Like Question #1, this sometimes comes up in casual conversation during an interview with the interviewer not realizing that it’s an illegal question.

In other cases, the interviewer is trying to figure out the candidate’s commitments outside of work. People with school aged children occasionally take time off when their kids are sick or the school is closed. They may have restricted schedules due to child care arrangements.

How to answer it:

Illegal Job Interview Question 1: Are you married?

Why they ask it:

Sometimes, the interviewer will ask it by mistake because they’re just trying to develop rapport with the candidate. In some rare instances, the interviewer may be attracted the candidate but most people in a position that requires interviewing are professional enough to never do this.

In other cases, the interviewer might be probing for information about the candidate’s commitments outside of work. In some people’s minds, single people are typically able to work longer hours, travel more often and can put their jobs ahead of their personal lives.

Illegal job interview questions

Are you married? Do you have children? You have an interesting name, what is the origin of that name? Are you a U.S. citizen?

These are all questions that we’re often asked in everyday conversations, but what many people are unaware of is that they’re illegal to ask during a job interview. Sometimes, these questions are asked because the potential employer is trying to figure out if a candidate will be able to fulfill their duties. Other times, the interviewer is completely unaware that he or she has asked an illegal question and is just trying to make pleasant conversation.

Managers vs. Leaders

What’s the primary difference between managers and leaders? When leaders lose their authority, they retain their influence.

I worked at a company a few years back where I had five different bosses in five years. Two of these bosses were also my friends and rank as two of the best bosses I’ve ever had. Their secret? They were leaders not managers. Due to changes in upper management, both became individual contributors, but they still were able to motivate, inspire and influence those of us that used to work for them.

Why multitasking doesn’t work

In this day and age, people have so much to do that they are often pressured to multitask. Bad idea — at least the way most people multi-task.  If you start one thing and then receive a phone call and that call makes you start something else and then you get an email message that reminds you to do another small task, you’re not being efficient. Even if you eventually get all three tasks done, you’re wasting effort.

Getting to Yes: The Power of Persistence.

I received a call the other day from a fellow Bentley College alum. He was starting out as a financial advisor and was calling alums to see if they were interested in meeting with him so he could explain his services.

This isn’t the first time I’ve received calls from a fellow alum that was selling financial services, so I suspect someone connected with the school is advising these people. And whoever is advising them is advising them well, because they all understand how to be persistent when talking to a potential client. They won’t let you go (unless you hang up on them) until they get a “yes” from you.


It always baffles me to see someone unnecessarily treating someone else bad. Sure, people sometimes really do deserve it, but what I’m talking about is when people let their ego take over.

Take this example:

A mid-level manager at a medium-sized company (700 employees) asks his MIS department to upgrade his word processor on his laptop. An hour later, an intern drops off the laptop, but the spreadsheet was updated instead. The manager, a perfectionist and a hot head, blasts the intern: “Can’t you read! The request clearly states to upgrade the word processor!”