Work-Life Balance Tests in Interviews Are Real

As someone who’s conducted hundreds of interviews, I can assure you: There’s a reason behind every question an interviewer asks. Our goal is to gain insight into who you are and how you work so we can find the person who’ll be the very best fit for the open role.

In other words, if we need a problem-solver, we’ll ask about times you had to think creatively. If we need a team player, we’ll ask about shared successes and failures (to see how you frame your work with others). If we need someone who excels at working independently, we’ll ask about self-driven projects.

And so, as an applicant, you come prepared with the stories and examples you’ll share to prove you’re the best person for the job.

But, as you may’ve experienced, interviews don’t always go as planned. I’m not talking about being asked a crazy-hard brain teaser (P.S: Here’s a foolproof strategy to crack one, should it come up). I’m referring to the times when you realize this role might not be the right fit on your end.

For example, I recently read two stories about CEOs testing a job applicant’s work-life balance (or lack thereof). According to The Cut, Barstool Sports CEO Erika Nardini admitted in a recent New York Times interview that she reaches out to candidates on Sundays, “…to see how fast [they’ll] respond.” That same week Business Insider reported that Vena Solutions CEO Don Mal asks candidates if they’d “…leave [their] family at Disneyland to do something that was really important for the company?”

The similarilty is striking: Both these CEOs want to know that a new hire won’t just put work first when they’re in the office, but anytime it would benefit the company—even on your day off.