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“And when you were growing up, what did your parents do for a living?”

I remember hearing the question and not knowing what to think.  I mean, this was an interview – were personal questions supposed to be involved?

The man who was interviewing me at the time had asked the question harmlessly, but I had already raised a mental eyebrow.  It’s not as if my parents were on some Boris and Gugu espionage tip, but their occupations did not seem relevant to any part of our twenty minute conversation.  I had spoken about my past experience, what I would bring to the table, what my commute would look like, e.t.c.  These were the basics; they were to be expected.  But what did my parents do?  Huh?

This question though seemingly innocuous, is one of many questions that the Wall Street Journal refers to as “juggle-related questions” – creatively probing ways employers help paint a picture of their potential hires- the conditions they grew up in, how they live now, and what challenges could arise.

These factors may not be in the job description but they are on your employer’s mind.  “Juggle- related questions” just plain unfair sometimes.  But fair or not, no Madame should ever be caught off guard.  Whether you know it or not, your answers to these questions can make or break your shot at the job.  Here are some of the most common trick questions interviewers ask…decoded:

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