Concerned About Work-Life Balance? Ask These 3 Questions in an Interview

By Chelsea Babin

If you value a great work-life balance and you’re looking for a new job, it may be difficult to snuff out whether or not the company you’re interviewing at really values the same things you do. Sure, you can ask about their benefits and if they offer things like flextime, telecommuting, or unlimited PTO you can assume they value work-life balance. But, if you want to be sure, dig a little deeper by asking these 3 questions in your interview.

1. “What does a typical work day look like for someone in this position?” This question can help you see how much you’re expected to get done every day and whether or not it seems doable in a 40 hour work week. If they list an exorbitant amount of complex or time sensitive responsibilities, this may be the kind of employer where overtime is regularly expected and could conflict with the work-life balance you want.

2. “Of your recent hires, who was the most successful and what did they do to become a top performer so quickly?” This question will help you understand the expectations the company has for employees like you and what they consider success. If they say something like, “this person got so much done in 40 hours and really managed to fall into place quickly while making it seem effortless”, that’s a good sign. However, if their response sounds more like, “there were so many issues when this person joined and they always burned the midnight oil to get us back on track. They were the first one in, first one out, always working weekends and nights to get the job done” then this probably isn’t the kind of company that truly values work-life balance for their employees.

3. “Is there a typical crunch time or busy season at your company? When is it and how long does it last?” For accountants, the spring is always busy but the rest of the year can get a little slow. For lawyers, the month leading up to a trial is jam-packed but things cool off a bit after. Asking this question will help you see if this company is busy all the time, and therefore more likely to require constant 60-80 hour work weeks, or if they have more balanced seasons of go-time and slow down. Additionally, if they seem to be the same level of busy all of the time and also seem to value work-life balance, this could be good news for you because you can find your wright balance and stay in that zone for longer periods of time.

Get the great work-life balance you really want and need in your next job by asking these 3 questions in your interview. Then, you can analyze the answers and see if the company you’re interviewing at values work-life balance for their employees as much as you do.

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