Guest blogger Shari Storm: I can't believe I'm old enough to say that I once had a man ask me in a job interview if I planned to have children. But I must be old enough, because it did happen. Granted, it was illegal by that time, but it seems that we've come a long way in understanding and respecting the discrimination laws in our country. I think that question gets asked a lot less than it did 20 years ago.
It's interesting, though. Recently I was interviewing candidates for a job I have open, and I found myself stymied. I couldn't talk about some of the things I wanted to discuss because of these laws. Ha! I'm sure the guy who interviewed me 20 years ago would say the same thing. But I was coming at it from the exact opposite perspective.
My company focuses on marketing to moms. Having children is a huge bonus for people applying for jobs in my company, but I can't ask them about it! The law was designed to protect people from being discriminated against for having kids, but in my case, being a parent might actually help you get a job.
Laws are seldom nuanced. I realize this. But it seems like we are now in a market where speaking another language, having ties to other countries and even being gay might help you land certain jobs. However, good human resource people will steer you away from asking about any of that.
I think the laws should be changed so that you can ask questions about someone's heritage, family status and such if being among a "protected" class might actually help the person get the job.
Moms, what do you think?