thoughts: awkward interview questions in China

Recently, I have had the privilege to be interviewed by some relatively small private Chinese company for a position in sales and marketing. It was my first time to be interviewed by a Chinese in China, no less. We had the interview in English. I don’t know if there were many things just lost in translation, as I speak moderately little of the language and my interviewer speaks fairly little of English, too. But it went weirder than expected. Here are some of the weirdest questions:

1. What is your family’s economic status?

(Why does it matter? If I come from a poor family, will that mean that I am a hard worker because I understand the value of money and industry?)

2. What is your dad’s salary? Your mom’s salary?

(Will my salary be dependent on my mom and dad’s salary? Do I need to give you their ITR as well?)

3. Did you get your braces done in China or in your country? Do you think China has good dentists?

(So if I have braces, would that mean I would work less as I will be caring more about how my teeth hurt? When did China having good dentists have anything to do with how I will be working for your company?)

4. Do you have a boyfriend?

(So if I would have a boyfriend would that mean I would be focusing less on my work and more on my boyfriend? Or are you scared that I might get pregnant accidentally that you might have to ask for leave and pay for my welfare?)

5. Would you be willing to marry a Chinese? Would your parents allow you to marry a Chinese?

(Would working for your company entail that I marry a Chinese guy? Is this some kind of indirect proposal from your part sir? Don’t you think you’re a little too fast?)

Now, I somehow understand that some of these questions might just be a way to ease up the conversation between me and my immediate boss (read: the Chinese way of beating around the bush). But during that time I was completely taken aback by how informal and privy the questions were instead of trying to assess my abilities and qualifications. Now, after living for more than a year in China, I would probably not even notice how weird these questions are and just think that they are part of daily conversation.

Any thoughts or same experiences?

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