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7 questions related to mental health and wellness benefits you should be asking in a job interview

An interview is a 2-way street for employers and job seekers to determine their fit for each other. Today, job seekers are more aware of their rights to question their future employers, and take pride in asking the necessary questions. With mental health awareness on the rise, most job seekers now want a workplace that is inclusive, supportive, and understanding. In addition to questions about perks and remunerations we often ask during a job interview to determine if the company is a good fit, here are some questions that you could ask to decide if the employer is a keeper.

Can you tell me what a typical day at work looks like?

Asking this question is a great way to learn and gauge the expectations that come with the job. The interviewer should be prepared to give you the daily rundown of the role and the nature of it. The interviewer should have an overall idea of what the role entails, and what is expected of you. If your interviewer frequently covers their answers with statements such as “It depends,” “It’s hard to tell,” “I can’t guarantee,” “I can’t answer you,” or something along those lines, this might suggest that the interviewer lacks a good understanding of the role, and you may be in for an unwanted ride.

The purpose of the question: Having a general sense of the job and its direction will give you a better sense of future career prospects. If a job does not set the expectations straight, you may be expected to put up with months long of uncertainty and stress.

How often does off-hours communication happen?

Work-life balance is a huge thing for job seekers, and many of them are hesitant to commit to a job that requires people to answer calls and messages after work. If your interviewer is less than enthused about the question, this possibly suggests that they want someone who is accessible at all times and does not mind attending to work matters on a short notice.

The purpose of the question: An interviewer who expects you to be available at all times may not respect your privacy and may not value your work-life balance.

How do you help employees cope with stress?

Stress affects performance at work, and no employers want their employees’ productivity to be negatively affected. There are countless ways for organizations to help their employees battle stress, namely through peer support, EAPs, office activities, mental health leaves to name a few.

The purpose of the question: Stress management is such a key skill at work that employers are now playing an active role in helping employees reduce stress. The lack of any initiative to help employees manage stress could suggest employers do not take their employees’ mental health seriously.

How would you describe your leadership style?

Everyone wants to know what their bosses and managers are like at work, as this allows us to manage both parties’ expectations and learn how to work with them as efficiently and effectively as possible. Some leaders are nurturing, some can be strict, others are goal-driven and motivating, whereas some others are diplomatic. It helps to know the kind of leader you’re reporting to, and it gives you a better idea of whether the two of you can gel together in the long run.

The purpose of the question: Knowing how your bosses or superiors react will allow you to communicate and work with them better.

How do you respond to change?

All businesses go through change, and it affects your managers, bosses and the business owners too. Knowing how your superiors react will help you gauge their ability to respond to sudden threats and changes. Superiors who are more than comfortable with changes might adopt an “easy come, easy go” approach towards things. Whereas an employer who is not prepared for the question may react unfavorably to the question.

The purpose of the question: Change is inevitable, and it helps to know if your boss is comfortable with change and if they can adapt to it.

What’s the company/team culture like?

Sometimes, job seekers want to know the kind of workplace environment they’ll be immersing themselves in and how it fits them. An interviewer should be able to answer the question beyond mere answers such as “We work hard and play hard,” or “Everyone here is friendly.” Generally, they should have a lot to say about the company if it’s a pleasant place to work in. Occasionally, an employer may be tempted to mask the truth, in which case you should try to look at the surroundings as you are being ushered to the meeting room for your interview.

The purpose of the question: If a happy workplace is one where employees can be seen chatting and mingling away. A stressful workplace where everyone is buried in their work might suggest the company culture can be tense and high-stress.

Is the company practicing hybrid/remote working styles?

Remote working style is the way to go these days. People spend less time commuting and incur less expenditure, which increases job satisfaction and happiness.

The purpose of the question: A company that practices flexible working arrangements will ensure you have work-life balance in your life.

What does the company do to safeguard employee’s mental health?

In conjunction with the rise in awareness of mental health in the society, many companies are now recognizing the need for employees to feel healthy, not just physically, but mentally. Today, many organizations offer employees access to mental health benefits programs and resources to help manage their mental wellness.

The purpose of the question: Companies that prioritize their employee wellbeing tend to result in higher job satisfaction and productivity in the workplace. Furthermore, employees are more likely to have positive relationships with one another too.

No hard and fast rules…

When it comes to interviews, there’s no such thing as a hard and fast rule to the answers that you get. Most of the time, you will have to learn how to read between lines, observe your interviewer’s body language and note your surroundings. It helps to have an idea of what you’re expecting out of the job, which would allow you to tailor your expectations and your responses in the interview, and in turn, how to manage and protect your mental wellbeing.

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