Monday, June 30, 2014

Discussing Work Life Balance in the Interview

This week a candidate asked me how best to approach this topic.  She had interviewed very well and was told the company was going to discuss putting together an offer.  She is career driven and very smart.  She also has a young child who goes to bed at 8pm.  It is important to her to be home to spend time with her child before bedtime.   The hiring manager for the role the candidate is interviewing for, made it sound like the hours might be long.   The candidate was uncertain about how to discuss during the interview.   

Experience indicates honesty and candidness are really important.  If you know what hours you are willing to work it is important to be candid DURING the interview process, prior to accepting an offer.  Discuss directly with the hiring manager. (Preferably right after you have convinced them you can do the work they need done.)  Our industry RARELY accommodates a 40 hour work week but if you are willing to work some flex hours from home I have seen employees who deliver results and get their work done be granted some flexibility with their schedules.  

If this candidate takes the job without mentioning that it is important to be home before 8 pm to spend some time with her child, and the corporate culture/hiring manager require regularly working until 7:30….everyone is in a no win situation.  If the hiring manager knows up front and they discuss ways that they can make this work then the offer can be extended and there won’t be any surprises.

Think about what you need to be happy for your work life balance.  Some people love working and are at a point where they are willing and able to put in whatever hours it takes.  Some people need to recharge spending time with friends, family, the pursuit of fitness, their passions and hobbies.  They are still skilled and wildly productive in their positions.  Be prepared to discuss the ideal balance for you. Then listen to what the hiring manager expects.  Many times agreement can be reached if it is discussed up front.   If common ground can’t be negotiated then it is likely the role is not a long term fit anyway. 

From a hiring manager perspective:  What do you need from the employee in the open position?  Are there days and times that are absolutely required?  Do you expect people to work the same hours you do? What flexibility can you offer without compromising the business if they need to accommodate a daycare schedule, family/social event, an ill family member etc?  

It is best to be clear and candid about this with candidates during the interview process.  Don’t paint a picture that is rosier than real life.  This will assure that the candidate you hire has a full understanding of what to expect from a work life balance perspective.  The odds of them staying on your team long term are much greater.   

Do you think our industry requires more hours than others?   Have you ever been required to work more than you felt was healthy for you?  As a manager what would/do you expect of your employees from a work schedule perspective?

No comments:

Post a Comment