Recruitment | Executive Search

Difficult interview questions: Do you take your work home with you?

“Do you take work home with you?” is a tricky interview question you may get during your next job interview. If you say yes will they expect you to spend your evenings and weekends working? But if you say no will the hiring manager be unimpressed by your lack of commitment? It’s important to find the right balance. A response that will answer in a manner of willingness to go the extra mile but also truthfulness.

Employers ask this interview question for a variety of reasons. They might want to know that you are organized and can do all of your work in the allotted time. They also might want to make sure you maintain a decent work-life balance (which many employers believe will ultimately make you a happier, and thus better, employee). However, some employers really are looking for people who make work the center of their lives and want to assess just how dedicated to the job you will be. Answering this question, therefore, requires you to know a bit about the particular company culture and job.

If you aren’t sure of what the employer is looking for, the safest way to answer is to emphasize your organizational skills while also saying that, when necessary, you will take work home with you. Try not to be negative about bringing work home, since that may be something that is common at the company. However you respond, do be honest. An example of an answer could be the following:

“I have no problem taking work home with me. Whilst I do aim to manage my time efficiently to ensure my work is completed during the day. I understand that there are times when taking work home is inevitable. In my previous experience, this occurs during upcoming project deadlines and my own desire to stay on top of my own personal workload.”

This question provides you an opportunity to think about whether or not the job is the right fit for you. Always remember, an interview is a two-way street. Just as the employer is finding out what you would be like as a worker, you’re discovering what it would like to work for the company. If the employer clearly wants to you take work home with you on a regular basis, but you value your free time, you may want to consider not taking the job. Instead, look for jobs at companies that value work-life balance.

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