• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
programming forums Java Mobile Certification Databases Caching Books Engineering Micro Controllers OS Languages Paradigms IDEs Build Tools Frameworks Application Servers Open Source This Site Careers Other all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
Marshals:
  • Campbell Ritchie
  • Liutauras Vilda
  • Tim Cooke
  • Jeanne Boyarsky
  • Bear Bibeault
Sheriffs:
  • Knute Snortum
  • paul wheaton
  • Devaka Cooray
Saloon Keepers:
  • Tim Moores
  • Stephan van Hulst
  • Ron McLeod
  • Piet Souris
  • Ganesh Patekar
Bartenders:
  • Tim Holloway
  • Carey Brown
  • salvin francis

Asking about the Home Situation.

 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 974
11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Would you object if in an interview they asked about your Home Situation?

I am not really sure how this is translated in English, but it refers to if you are married, if you have children. In Dutch it is called Thuissituatie. I had three interview the last few weeks and in two they have asked about that. From what I have understood this is not-done in other countries. It tends to go towards discrimination. I have no problem, I am a divorced man, I have a daughter, and she is the apple of my eye, so I love to make small talk about her. But I can imagine that if you are gay, you should hesitate to answer this question fearing discrimination. Or if you are an old bachelor, people might think you have no social skills to find a wife, and hence no social skills to work in their company. The second time I got this question, I felt the a small urge to object against it, even though for me personally it is no problem answering it. Should I say something if it appears a third time?
 
author
Posts: 23840
141
jQuery Eclipse IDE Firefox Browser VI Editor C++ Chrome Java Linux Windows
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

It is a little bit weird. On one hand, there is a natural tendency to head towards it. It is the natural process of getting to know people. You get to know their backgrounds, their families, etc. The interviewer and candidate needs to get more comfortable with each other, needs to know each other more, and hence, be able to evaluate each other.

On the other hand, it can get awkward. For the US, since there are laws regarding it, it can get awkward really quick. I tend to keep an eye on it, but at the same time, let the candidate go there, if desired. Once or twice, I think, I accidentally followed up with a personal question, once the candidate was there -- and had to abruptly terminate that chain of discussion... with something like, "Oops, don't answer that. I'm not allowed to ask that during an interview. Let's table that until after you are hired.".

Henry
 
Jan de Boer
Ranch Hand
Posts: 974
11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks Henry. A little side question to improve my English, what would be a good translation of Thuissituatie. Or is Home Situation something a native English speaker would use too?
 
lowercase baba
Posts: 12760
51
Chrome Java Linux
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think "home situation" works...or "home life". I knew immediately what you meant, although "situation" wouldn't have been my go-to word.
 
Henry Wong
author
Posts: 23840
141
jQuery Eclipse IDE Firefox Browser VI Editor C++ Chrome Java Linux Windows
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

In my opinion, when a language has a single word for something, it has a very specific meaning -- a meaning (or feeling) that can't be described exactly with a few words.

It is interesting that the dutch language has such a word. That itself seems to imply that there is more value to the personal / family side of life -- and it needs to be distinguish from work life. On the other hand, it is ironic that there aren't any laws to protect it.


I don't think that there is a single word in English that does this -- but I could be wrong.

Henry
 
Marshal
Posts: 65443
248
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think Thuis means more “at home” than simply “home”.
Twenty‑five years ago that sort of question was commonplace here as the first part of an interview. It was not intended to discriminate so much as to provide a few minutes' conversation about a neutral subject to let the victim applicant settle down before the “real” questions.
Nowadays it would be prohibited here in UK as discriminatory.
 
Marshal
Posts: 4671
305
IntelliJ IDE Clojure Java
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The company I work for has offices all around the world, and our interview policy prohibits us from asking any such questions. it's just a legal minefield and could open us up to all sorts of accusations of discrimination. We would be able to ask questions specifically related to the persons ability to perform the job in question, which may include whether they are able to be present in the office for 8 hours a day between 9am and 6pm for example, but we would not be allowed to ask more generic questions regarding their 'home situation' as it might be interpreted that you are gauging whether they would be available for overtime. Then if you don't give them the job, they have a case against you that you dismissed their application based on the answer to that question.

Interviewing can be a legal minefield indeed.
 
Jan de Boer
Ranch Hand
Posts: 974
11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Campbell Ritchie wrote:It was not intended to discriminate so much as to provide a few minutes' conversation about a neutral subject to let the victim applicant settle down before the “real” questions.



The guy actually had a note in front of him, which looked like it was the general set of questions he wanted to ask, something like:

name
present salary
location and travel time
home situation

Hence the answer was probably important, not for small talk.

By the way, thuissituatie is something mostly used in a negative way. For example if you have trouble in your thuissituatie, it mostly means you are going through a rough divorce case. Maybe they want to assure this is not the case.
 
Campbell Ritchie
Marshal
Posts: 65443
248
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jan de Boer wrote: . . .

The guy actually had a note in front of him, which looked like it was the general set of questions he wanted to ask, something like:

name
present salary
location and travel time
home situation

Hence the answer was probably important, not for small talk.

In the jobs I was applying for back then, that info was all known already, and people usually moved, so they were not “real” questions. You are describing something different. As I said, that sort of question went out many years ago.

. . . For example if you have trouble in your thuissituatie, it mostly means you are going through a rough divorce case. . . .

And if that isn't unlawful discrimination on the grounds of marital status, I don't know what is.

Questions about present salary are relevant. If somebody applies for a job paying £55000 from a current salary of £23000 people will get suspicious.
 
Bartender
Posts: 2407
36
Scala Python Oracle Postgres Database Linux
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Interviewer: "What is your thuissituatie like?"
You: "Great, thanks! How's yours?"

I think this kind of question is really unacceptable in the modern world. It's none of their business what your "thuissituatie" is like: an Englishman's/Dutchman's/Welshman's (or -woman's) home is their castle, after all! As others have pointed out, the only reason to ask this question is to discriminate against certain applicants because of their "thuissituatie", and that just seems wrong and open to abuse. Why don't you check with your trade union to see if this is legal in the Netherlands? If it isn't, then next time they ask you this, you could politely decline to answer.
 
chris webster
Bartender
Posts: 2407
36
Scala Python Oracle Postgres Database Linux
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Campbell Ritchie wrote:If somebody applies for a job paying £55000 from a current salary of £23000 people will get suspicious.


Really? If the person has the skills and experience to do the new job, then they should get the going rate for that job, regardless of what they were earning before.
 
Rancher
Posts: 43011
76
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The question about the previous salary might be advantageous for the employer to know, but I wouldn't answer it. The salary should be in line with what a future employee brings to a company, and what they're asking of him; since that might be very different from the previous company, there's no benefit for the prospective employee to divulge it.

I also would find a polite way to head off the discussion about personal circumstances, even where it is allowed. if it is just small talk for warm-up, no harm done. If it is more than that, major red flag.
 
Jan de Boer
Ranch Hand
Posts: 974
11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yeah, well... I could say a lot of things next time, but I dont have any trouble with my home front, and I am also not that wanted the companies that offer me jobs are standing in line for me. I am not that good. I am old I am being made redundant in my present job after only 18 months.
 
Rancher
Posts: 1090
14
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Ulf Dittmer wrote:The question about the previous salary might be advantageous for the employer to know, but I wouldn't answer it. The salary should be in line with what a future employee brings to a company, and what they're asking of him; since that might be very different from the previous company, there's no benefit for the prospective employee to divulge it.



I have wished it to be like that. In the past I have worked in India and I have had to submit my last two months' payslips to the new employer every time. I have never understood why the HR did that cause I believe they had a policy to ensure the salaries of all employees were as par with company's standard for employees' skills and experience.

But I have heard stories of employers asking questions like 'for how long have you been living in the city xyz', 'how do you commute to work', 'where are you originally from' etc.
And if you look like you might be old enough to be married, sometimes ( see I am not generalizing ) such seemingly harmless and indirect questions can get really awkward ( 'tell me about your family' for example..)


Edit - typo.
 
Evacuate the building! Here, take this tiny ad with you:
Enterprise-grade Excel API for Java
https://products.aspose.com/cells/java
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!