With unemployment in double digits, I wondered if it was possible to negotiate at all for any type of work life balance accommodation in the current job market. I took my question to one of the country's top recruiters, Tim Tolan at Sanford Rose Associates in Charleston, S.C. Tolan specializes in Healthcare IT.
Q. Are companies open to executives commuting if they they don't want to relocate for a job?
A. For senior positions, no. For sales jobs, yes. Companies want executives to have good work/life balance. When they are commuting on the weekends, they literally have no down time. Companies are willing to let them do it short term but not long term. More often than not, if doesn’t work out at home, the employee will quit and every one loses.
Q. What do you think of bringing up work life balance questions during a job interview? The reality is people are working very long hours. How do you know if that's what's going to be expected?
A. It's a conversation you have to have. At end of day, a candidate has to have balance. You could take the greatest job but if you are miserable, if can’t get off Friday to see your son's game, you will hate the job. It's iimportant to bring up those kinds of things, but do it at the end of interview. You also will want to force your way into talking to people who work there, to find out about the culture and how sensitive the company is to work/life balance.
Q. Even if the company isn't sensitive, are people still taking the job?
A. More and more people are biting the bullet. Some of companies are misleading their hires. They bring you in the door with fanfare. You get in and you have to wear a second and third hat. The nirvana dissipates when you are working 10 –11 hours and doing twice as much as you thought you would be doing. Right now, people will suck it up but it's going to change soon.
Read more about Tim Tolan and see his blog at http://www.sanfordrose.com/healthcareit/executive-bio.aspx