5 Work-Life Balance Interview Questions (With Answers)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 7 September 2022
Published 11 May 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Employees who maintain a healthy work-life balance often give equal priority to their professional and personal lives. This not only gives them time for personal activities and hobbies but makes them happier and more productive at work. Knowing why interviewers ask questions about work-life balance and how to answer them can help you prepare your answers in advance. In this article, we outline five commonly asked work-life balance interview questions, discuss the motive behind those questions and share example answers to help you prepare for your next interview.
Commonly Asked Work-Life Balance Interview Questions
Here are five common work-life balance interview questions and their example answers that you can reference before your next interview:
1. How do you manage your work and personal life successfully?
Hiring managers are often interested in how you balance your individual and professional life. They want to hear that you enjoy the work you do, but they also want to make sure that you focus on making time for yourself as well. You can use this question as an opportunity to show that you can perform at a high level and still make time for friends, family, hobbies and other important aspects of life. When answering this question, consider sharing any challenges you encountered regarding your work-life balance and how you solved them in the past.
Example answer: "I organise my professional and personal lives efficiently. I start my workday by looking at my schedule and to-do list for the day, and I then assign importance to each task. I usually pick three of the most important tasks and try to complete them first, before moving on to any other tasks on the list. This way, I can avoid feeling overwhelmed, even when I have a long list of overdue tasks.
Having a priority list helps me stay focused on important tasks. It also helps me to finish everything on time so that can enjoy some private time at home after a hard day's work. I have been employing this strategy for a few years now and have found that this works best for me to achieve a healthy work-life balance."
2. How do you usually prepare your team members before leaving for a vacation?
When interviewing for a position at a new company, hiring managers may ask this question to ensure you work well in team settings and can effectively communicate with your colleagues and managers. Make sure you are truthful in your answer. Clearly define your limits regarding paid time off. For instance, you may state that since you are reliable, you intend to complete most, if not all, pending tasks before leaving for your vacation. It is important to answer this question honestly since you want to set boundaries from the beginning.
If you are willing to remain readily available when you are out of the office after working hours, at weekends, on holidays or while on paid leave, you can inform the hiring manager.
Example answer: "During the time I was away on vacation in my previous job, I remained as accessible to my staff as possible by giving them my cell phone number. I had also completed my individual work and met all deadlines before going on leave. I also organised everything in a manner that enabled my team to complete their tasks without my help for the duration."
3. Do you respond to work emails or messages at weekends?
When responding to this question, you may aim to be transparent so that your future employer knows what they can expect when hiring you. Your answer may let them know what they can expect with regard to how you plan to approach issues related specifically to working outside of traditional business hours.
You can explain in your answer how you manage your time effectively during workdays, but you can also make sure people know they can turn to you as a go-to resource while off duty. It may help put them at ease knowing they can reach out to you on such occasions, which could result in key opportunities coming your way.
Example answer: "I thoroughly enjoy spending my weekends with friends and family. Still, as an employee of the company, I realise that attending to work responsibilities at weekends may sometimes be necessary. While I may not respond instantly to texts and emails, depending on the task in question, I can sometimes provide prompt responses if necessary.
In my professional experience, there is one thing I have learned in the past few years that has made a big difference to me, namely the importance of being proactive in responding to emails. While I take care of my personal emails as they come in, my disciplined practice is to check my work email at least once every few hours. This allows me to respond quickly when something comes up after work hours, helping me to avoid missed deadlines and helping to keep the operations of the company running smoothly."
4. If necessary, are you willing to take work home?
Sometimes, it might be necessary to bring some of your work home with you. The reason for this could be an urgent deadline or some unscheduled work that came up at the last minute. It is important for you to answer this question truthfully. Your answer allows the hiring manager to determine if you are a good fit for the position.
It may also be helpful for you to discuss materials they can provide for you to work more efficiently at home. For example, you can ask an employer whether you can bring your work computer home. Separate devices for work and personal needs can help you develop a healthy work-life balance while working from home. This may make it easier for you to focus on your tasks, without unnecessary distractions affecting your productivity levels.
Example answer: "I am methodical and meticulous when allocating my time and resources. I usually divide a project into small milestones and set a timeline for each milestone. I stick to that timeline, and rarely take assignments home with me. If something changes or there is an unexpected delay, I can adjust my work practices to stay on schedule and get the job done within the set time. I might set certain boundaries when working from home. This might include scheduling fixed work hours, after which I may spend time with my family and friends.
If I were to work from home, I may request my employer to provide a laptop and monitor. It is important for me to keep my personal and professional lives as separate as possible. If provided with these materials, I feel like this can help me develop a better work-life balance and remain more productive at home."
5. How would you ask for help if you had issues maintaining a work-life balance?
Your interviewers may want to know if you ever asked for help from your previous managers. Your answer can help them understand how much you value teamwork and how you ask for help when necessary. If you can describe a specific incident in which you did this, it can definitely help the interviewer know more about you. If you do not have a previous experience like this, then talk about how you think you might react in a situation like this. That way, the hiring manager can get a clear picture of your professionalism and directness.
Example answer: "During my first year working after graduating college, I began to accept several projects from my manager, which resulted in me working all the time. I was not caring for myself or spending time with friends and family, which led to a decrease in productivity and efficiency with the projects I aimed to complete. By constantly accepting new tasks, I thought I was displaying initiative, but I knew I needed help after a few months.
Realising that I needed help, I eventually approached my immediate manager, and he helped me to learn how to delegate and prioritise tasks and when to stop working so I can prepare effectively for the next workday. Just a few months later, I was a happier person in both my professional and personal life and was, overall, much more productive at work because I delegated tasks effectively based on priority."
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