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If you're a stay-at-home mom considering a return to the workforce, this blog is your companion every step of the way - from discerning your career direction to preparing your application and addressing your resume gap, this is the perfect place to start.

Finding a Workplace Culture that Supports Moms: 8 Questions to Ask in an Interview

interviews Nov 28, 2023
woman video interview

Returning to the workforce after a career break comes with its unique set of considerations. Among the top priorities is finding a company that not only embraces the talents you bring but also values the needs of working parents. Understanding a company's culture before joining is crucial, but how can you assess these factors before committing to the position? 

Exploring a company's work environment, benefits, and support for moms is key. And one powerful way to gain insights into these critical aspects is by asking the right questions during your interview process. 

This opportunity to uncover essential information is often underutilized, and that's why we've compiled a list of impactful questions tailored for moms re-entering the workforce. These questions are designed to peel back the layers and reveal insights that create a clearer image of the workplace you're considering. 

Remember, an interview isn't just about the company assessing your fit—it's equally about you ensuring that the company aligns with your priorities and supports your family in your current season of life. Our goal is to equip you with questions that facilitate this exploration, transforming your interview process into a two-way street. 

Below, we’ve outlined our favorite questions to incorporate into your interview discussions to uncover valuable clues about the company's culture and its commitment to supporting parents.  Let’s dive in! 

Question 1: What do you love most about working here? 

The ways that interviewers respond to this question can be very telling about the workplace culture.  If they are able to quickly share multiple aspects of the job and company that they love, that’s likely a good sign that they genuinely feel supported and appreciated as an employee.  Moreso, if they name things that are important to you, this could provide you with details about the types of support the company provides for parents. At the same time, if an interviewer struggles to answer or doesn’t provide clear answers, it may indicate something that you want to dig into more. 

Question 2: What does a typical day or week in this position look like? 

Asking an interviewer to walk you through a typical day and/or week in the job can help you understand the nuances of what you’ll be doing.  You may also learn about the expectations the employer has for someone in the role.  Furthermore, you may learn that you love the pace, spontaneity (or lack thereof), and tasks associated with the job or you may find that the day-to-day tasks or pace aren’t a good fit for you. 

Question 3: Can you tell me about the company's policies regarding flexible work hours or remote work arrangements? 

If flexible/remote work is one of your non-negotiables, you’ll want to make sure that you understand the company’s policies in this area.  Asking this type of open-ended question allows you to see where the interviewer takes the conversation.  If the interviewer is the hiring manager, you may also get a sense of how supportive they are of the policies in place, indicating how supportive they will be when you request certain work arrangements. Framing your question this way will give you much more information than simply asking “Does the company/team support flexible/remote work?”.  

Question 4: How does the company encourage a healthy work-life balance for all employees, including parents? 

Asking a question about work-life balance can tell you a lot about whether this is something that’s valued by the company and the team/manager you’d be working with. They may also paint a picture or give some examples of how the company encourages work-life balance, which can help you understand whether they provide the type of support and encouragement that you and your family need to thrive. 

Question 5: Are there any support groups or networks for parents within the company? 

If the company supports groups of employees gathering based on a common shared experience, that can be indicative of a workplace culture that recognizes its employees have feelings and unique life circumstances that don’t disappear when they show up at work.  Organizing groups for parents to connect and support one another is a great way for companies to invest in their employees. 

Question 6: What suggestions do you have for someone stepping into this role on your team? 

This question may give some great insights into how to be successful in the role but also may highlight some aspects of the culture and work environment. 

Question 7: What are some of the biggest challenges facing the team at the moment?  

By framing the question this way, you can get insight into not only the challenges the team is trying to solve externally, but you can sometimes also get insight into challenges facing the team internally. This can give you further visibility into the team dynamics, which impact the day-to-day experience of work. Additionally, understanding the team’s challenges can give clues about potential difficulties in the role – and you can evaluate if those kinds of difficulties align with your preferred way of working or not.  

Question 8: What are the company’s core values, and how are they reflected in day-to-day operations?  

Before asking this question, be sure you do your research and see if the company’s core values are listed anywhere on their website or in their marketing. If you find this information, change this question to “I saw on your website that one of your core values is ________. Can you tell me how this value is reflected in day-to-day operations or work at the company?” By asking this kind of question, you can get insight into whether the organization “walks the walk”, and if their core values and how they are lived out align with your personal values.  

As you’re planning for interviews, you’ll want to be sure that you brainstorm several questions that you’d like to ask that will provide information that you need to find the right fit for you.  Consider who you’ll be interviewing with to refine your question list. For example, there are some questions that are helpful to ask a hiring manager, while there are other questions that would be insightful to ask an interviewer who is in more of a peer or teammate role.  

Good companies and teams want employees to feel well supported so that they can thrive in their jobs and stay with the company long term so it’s mutually beneficial that you ask great questions and that they respond.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions during your interviews – it shows you’ve done your research and are engaged in the process.  You’ve got this and we’re with you all the way! 

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