At some point in your search for university employment, you may find yourself facing inappropriate questions about your religion or the number of children you have. One possible response is to ask a question of your own:
Or you can answer the question behind the question. The interviewer may genuinely, albeit wrongly, trying to find the answers to key issues of concern. She may be worried about whether you will be able to juggle your home life with your work life, or he may be concerned about attendance problems or whether you can work evening or weekend. You can gracefully sidestep the question that was asked and respond to the underlying issue:
By responding to the question behind the question without showing disapproval for the impropriety, you will show that you have the tact and political acumen for any academic positions.
Dindy Robinson is Director of Compensation at Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas.
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