Ask Vicki: What are some smart questions to ask an interviewer about work-life balance and company culture?
In this answer on Quora, Monster career expert Vicki Salemi offers tips on how to find out what it's really like to work at a particular company.
Each week, Monster’s career expert Vicki Salemi—a former recruiter who utilizes 15-plus years of experience in recruiting and human resources to empower job seekers—answers user questions on Quora. We’ll be republishing the answers here. If you have a question for Vicki, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. What are some smart questions to ask an interviewer about work-life balance and company culture?
A. It’s always a good idea to ask questions about a company’s work-life balance and overall culture. The same way companies ask behavioral-based interview questions during your job interview (“Tell me about a time when…”), you can do the same.
Search the company’s social media feed as a springboard to help you formulate questions. You can ask something like, “I noticed there’s an annual food drive posted on your Instagram feed. How does that lend itself to the culture of the company?”
Ask about the company’s policy on work-life arrangements, and then get specific: “I’d love to know more about work-life balance here. What’s a typical day like? If something happens in your personal life, how are you able to balance it with work?” For example, if there was an emergency or a snow day or your child’s nanny didn’t show up, is there flexibility?
While asking smart questions is helpful, it’s also wise to pay attention to body language. Does the interviewer seem genuinely happy when he or she is talking? Are they looking you in the eye, or squirming in their seat?
Specifically ask about the number of personal days you’d receive and how they would describe the company culture in three words. It’s good to ask every interviewer these sets of questions to see if a recurring positive (or even negative) pattern arises.
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