Addressing Work-Life Balance in a Job Interview

Law can be a high-stress field for legal support professionals. To thrive in the legal field, maintaining a healthy work-life balance is essential.

When you are interviewing for a new position, it can be difficult to decide how best to raise the issue of work-life balance. Many job seekers are hesitant to refer to it at all, lest they be misunderstood as “slackers” who are looking for the first opportunity to shirk their job duties.

For high-performing job seekers and those who are passionate about their work, however, the opposite is true. Passionate legal support professionals know a work-life balance is what keeps them consistently productive and alert to clients’ needs.

Here’s how to talk about work-life balance with your recruiter and with potential employers:

Understand your own needs.

What type of environment helps you do your best work – and what undermines your focus? For instance, can you work productively from home, or do you get sidetracked by chores or hobbies? Do you recharge best on one long vacation, or do a few three- or four-day weekends scattered throughout the year do more for your mental and emotional health? Are you a night owl or a morning person?

When you understand your own needs, it’s easier to talk about them in an interview.

When asking work-life balance questions, frame them in terms of your own optimal work environment.

“I often find I’m most productive between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Is that a work schedule I could fit into your current structure?” is a question that focuses on your desire to do your best work. Compare it to “Do you allow employees to come in late?” which might be misinterpreted as a desire to sleep in or a chronic tardiness habit.

Ask what the employer offers.

When in doubt, a question like “What tools or strategies do you use to support your staff’s best work?” can help you learn more about how the employer views work-life balance. Firms that value this balance and understand its role in outstanding work will often mention it in response to this question, while those that tend to overlook work-life balance will focus on other elements of their internal culture.

At Kent Legal, our recruiters can help you envision the work-life balance that will best support your career, then prepare interview questions that help you explore how each prospective employer will meet that vision. Contact us today to learn more.

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