A well qualified 60 year old bursting with positive energy will get the job hand down over a 20 year old who is just looking for a job to pay some bills. Since your age or marital status or the number of kids you have is not on the application then that can’t be why you’re not getting interviews. If you are putting that information in the application then STOP! When you get an interview don’t even mention those things. Phrase you availability in a way that is honest but does not give the whys. The interviewer can ask can you be available on an occasional weekend. You should answer this with a clarifying question only if you can come in at that time otherwise simple state no I need to schedule my work hours between xxx and xxx on xxx xxx xxx. If they ask why then simply state you have other commitments during that time. If they press further then try to change the subject by asking a question about the company. If you are interested in the company you can eat the whole interview just getting them to talk about the company. Taking charge of your interview will allow you to show your high points and avoid any less then stellar points.
Treat your interviews like practice and try to enjoy the chance to meet someone new and learn about their company and how great it is.
Always take the application home and fill out with as much care as possible. Take two so if you make a mistake you can ensure your turning in a perfect copy. Photo copy all application prior to turning them in. Make notes on back for those you get calls from.
Sometimes managers will call and do a quick phone interview prior to calling you into for the formal interview process. If you have the application in front of you, you can ensure what you say is consistent with what you wrote. Have a phone in a quiet place in the house where you can close the door and talk without the kids in the background.
Don’t allow kids to answer the phone during business hours for the jobs you have applied to. Have candy or other treats handy and reward them every time they let you complete a call without interruptions. If you have a baby stick them in a safe place and then go out of ear shot so if they start fussing you can still complete the call. Get Caller ID so you know who is calling you don’t answer if chaos is reining in your home at the moment. Always end the call with a when can call you to schedule an interview or when will you be scheduling formal interviews. Always end the interview with what is the next hiring step? When can I call you to schedule this or would it be ok to call you on Friday(3 to 5 days later) to discuss the results of this interview?
The bottom line is:
They cannot ask your age or marital status or if you have kids in an interview and it is not necessary to offer up the information. You need to be honest about your availability and your abilities and that is it. Have questions about the job or company that you can toss out if the interview starts going in the wrong direction. If you have periods of unemployment in your job history then be prepares to give short honest answers that simply state you were in training, helping with family issues, taking time to explore other opportunities then close the answer with do you have tuition reimbursement or what kinds of training options available or something that leads them away from asking for further details. If you have been disabled or are disabled; unless the disability affects your ability to do the job then don’t bring it up. If you need reasonable accommodations then you can arrange that after you are hired. Don’t lie about it if directly asked but don’t offer it up unless it changes how you do the exact job your interviewing for. Simply needing a special chair or a special flooring or lighting or phone with volume adjustments does not change how your do the job those are just reasonable accommodations.