Throughout any job interview, a company is going to present to you the rosiest version of itself. As a potential hire, your task will be determining if the picture that company representatives paint truly reflects reality.
One of the most important things you’ll want to determine during a job interview is whether or not the company allows its employees to have a life beyond work. Obviously, an employer isn’t going to come right out and tell you that you are expected to give up your mental well-being for the company’s sake, but often, there are telltale signs.
In this post, we’ll outline some tips from job experts that can help you determine if a potential employer values the importance of a healthy work/life balance and reveal the two kinds of questions that can help you make that determination.
BEFORE YOUR INTERVIEW, HAVE A CLEAR PICTURE OF WHAT A WORK/LIFE BALANCE LOOKS LIKE TO YOU.
Work/life balance is a term that gets tossed around quite a bit these days. So, before tackling the issue during a job interview, you will want to consider your priorities to tailor any questions about the subject better.
The bottom line is that job seekers must understand what work/life balance means to them. Is it the ability to leave work on a moment’s notice to handle a family situation, or is it transparency about growth and promotion so that it doesn’t haunt you on your days off?
Perhaps it’s both.
ASK THE INTERVIEWER ABOUT POLICIES OR INITIATIVES RELATED TO WORK/LIFE BALANCE.
While you are discussing company culture with an interviewer, an important question that you might ask is about well-being and flexibility. According to experts, that can help determine if a company is truly invested in fostering a healthy and positive work/life balance.
If you are uncomfortable asking about a company’s policies directly, discuss burnout and ask what steps the company takes to prevent burnout among its employees.
You can also use the company’s website to garner information that can be a starting point for your questions.
ASK ABOUT HOW YOUR BOSS WILL HANDLE YOUR TEAM’S WORKLOAD.
The next critical question to ask involves how management thinks about or handles time off.
Typically, in the late stages of the hiring process, you will likely be interviewed by the individual that you will be working under. So, ask them directly about their time off policies or find a subtle way to inquire about their particular management style.
Experts say it is alright to simply come out and ask them what their attitude about work/life balance is. When you get personal like that, they say, you can really get them to talk openly and gain insight into their management style.
You could also say, “I know that this is a busy work environment,” and then ask, “How do you prioritize work?” or “What do you do when your team is overloaded?”
The answer to these questions will reveal if the individual actively attempts to assist employees who fall behind. Ultimately, you want to ensure they will be there for you and support you whenever you are overwhelmed with work.
CONSIDER TALKING TO OTHER EMPLOYEES (OR DOING SOME ONLINE RESEARCH) INSTEAD.
To gain real insight into a company’s work/life balance approach, you can ask another person who works there or has previously worked there. Chances are, experts say, you’ll get the most honest answer.
If you do not know any employees from the company, send a direct message to one on LinkedIn explaining that you are interviewing with the company and that you’re looking for the inside scoop, particularly regarding work/life balance.
You could also check employer reviews on websites like Glassdoor, provided you recognize that information on these sites can sometimes be biased. However, should you recognize negative patterns, that could be quite telling.
REMEMBER THAT, IN THE END, TIMING MATTERS.
Regardless of whether it’s fair or not, inquiring about the company’s work/life balance early in an interview could give your potential employer an impression that you’re lazy or dispassionate about this employment opportunity.
Most employment experts agree that you should try and “wow” the potential employer before you start discussing how much you might be willing or unwilling to work.
Ultimately, the best advice is to ask those questions after it is clear that the company you are interviewing with wants you on the team. If you’re unsure, when they ask you if you are interviewing with other employers or they start to discuss a possible starting date with you, these could be signs that you are a finalist for the job.
Even if you time it just right, asking about work/life balance always has the potential to lead to disappointment, but even then, it is useful, experts say, because if you ask about a company’s attitude toward work/life balance, and it backfires?
You’ll know it was not the right job or company for you.