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What can they ask me in this interview?

(3 Posts)
GlitteryBalls Sun 28-Nov-10 10:33:26

I have also posted this in legal matters:

This is a fairly hypothetical question at this precise moment in time...

I am currently taking a year out of medical school to have my baby (I am 33+4). I am between 2nd and 3rd years. As well as taking a year out, I am also trying to transfer to a medical school more local to my home town where me and partner are now living, and where both my families are based (we were seeing eachother long distance before I fell pg). Transfering halfway between a course is rare, but they know my circumstances and they are considering me. They have asked for lots of supporting information, including info about the course to see if they are compatible and info about results and feedback I have received so far. They said the only thing that would make it a definite no would be my having failed any assessments or taken any retakes - but this is not the case, in fact my results are better than average.

They have said that once they have reviewed this info, then the next stage would be to interview me. They have said this will be a fairly informal interview as I won't be "competing" for my place as people starting at the beginning are. It is more just for them to get to meet me in person etc.

At my interview for the medical school I am currently at, I was 26 at the time. One of the interviewers was playing "bad cop" and was asking quite awkward questions.At once stage he asked me when I planned to have a family. I answered that I wasn't sure yet, but I was serious about the course and would give it 100% etc etc and only AFTER I had given my answer did one of the "nicer cop" interviewers interrupt me and say I shouldn't have had to answer that question. When I told people later, they said that to ask this kind of question to a woman just because they are at childbearing age is actaully illegal and considered sexual discrimination. (Though as some of the -dickhead- men I have spoken to have said, in hindsight they were right in asking me as I went and got myself up the duff a couple of years later!).

So - I don't have an interview yet for this new school, but I like to be prepared and I was thinking of ways I could start to prepare now just in case. Me and dp are in limbo as if I did get a place at the local uni, we can stay in our current house, he could keep his job etc. If I didn't, I can still go back to my current uni but we would have to relocate 300 miles so would have to move house, he would have to get a new job etc. So we have not looked into specific logistics regarding childcare etc as we have decided to find out first where we stand and then go from there.

So, therefore, if they ask me about what my arrangements for childcare etc will be at this interview, I won't have worked out the specifics as we are kind of waiting for the outcome before we start to plan.

So, my question is, at this interview, what is the legality concerning talking about family etc? After all the only reason they are considering me is BECAUSE of my family situation. Or, technincally, should this interview be more focussed on my academic ability to do the course etc. i.e. could they catch me out with awkward questions about how I am going to balance childcare etc and turn me down on the basis that I may appear unprepared?

The truth is, I have way more support here at home by default due to our families being around, and I am waiting to hear what happens before I make specific enquiries, work out costs etc. BUT whatever happens I WILL make it work no matter what. Is this an adequate enough answer? Or should they not be asking me this and could I potentially (not that I would dare) refuse to answer sucah questions?

Phew - sorry about long post!

RibenaBerry Sun 28-Nov-10 13:14:15

Hhhm, well an employer has the right to ask indirectly about childcare if they are asking a legitimate question on someone's ability to do the job - e.g. this job involves a lot of night shifts, is that something you can cover. What makes it possible sex discrimination is the fact that they rarely ask the men!

I think that, given you are asking for a move specifically because of your personal circumstances, it is ok to ask about childcare and arrangments directly. That's rather different to asking when you plan kids, which I would say is always unacceptable.

However, my answer would be the one you've give. I would say "The reason I am asking for a move is because, being located here, I will have a supportive partner, supportive family and formal childcare. I therefore don't have any concerns about my ability to perform." If they push it, just repeat variants of that ad nauseum.

GlitteryBalls Sun 28-Nov-10 20:59:21

Ta! That was kind of my plan anyway tbh. I always find most interviews are 90% cliches and telling them what they want to hear! I know for a fact that I am going to make it work, so I guess the key is just convincing them...

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