Discussing Family Duties in a Job Interview
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Discussing Family Duties in a Job Interview

Two career experts weigh in.

This question poses a dilemma for many job seekers -- as well as for the people interviewing them. There are good reasons to talk about family -- and good reasons not to. Here, both sides of the issue.

Yes

"It's okay to be up-front about your family commitments. If you're not clear about it, you may end up with a job that's impossible for you to manage. No, never go into a job interview whining about your personal life, and don't go into the specifics of your situation. But it's perfectly reasonable to ask questions about travel and other expectations that may interfere with family responsibilities."--Susan Seitel, president, Work and Family Connections, Minneapolis, Minnesota

No

"You have to remember that you are one of many candidates, and that the interviewer is looking for excuses to eliminate you. Make sure he doesn't find any. You don't want to bring up anything that may be viewed as a negative; and, the fact is, some employers consider family duties a drawback. If you are asked about your family situation, say, 'I assume you're wondering if I'm prepared to handle the responsibilities of this job, and the answer is yes, absolutely.'"--Terry Devlin, career counselor, Career Management International, Houston, Texas

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