Interview Questions and Answers: Absenteeism issues for supervisors

These are the serious, daily, and global absenteeism problems. Your interview questions will probably address all of them in some form:

  • Health issues: Stress leave and related absences are a common situation. Medical conditions, like depression, are another.
  • Workplace problems: Bullying, relationships, and serious problems like bad supervision and management are all too common.
  • Personal and family issues: These can cause frequent absenteeism, but there are also legitimate rights involved.

Health issues

There are formal health care entitlements available to all staff. These entitlements must be granted. Allegations of abuse of these entitlements must be proven. A medical condition isn't a reason for termination, prima facie. Related absenteeism probably has a legitimate cause.

Workplace problems

Absenteeism is frequently caused by abuse. Such abuse is illegal, because it violates the rights of staff. It can create legal liabilities for the employer, and abusive behavior, in some cases, qualifies as actual assault.

The abuser is the problem, not the absentee(s). If that person is in a position of authority, your obligation as a supervisor for the employer is to report the matter to management. These are often particularly nasty issues, and you must be able to make an irrefutable case, to do your job properly.

Personal and family issues

Staff have obligations to family, by law, as well as by morals. This particularly applies where young kids are involved. A parent is under strict legal obligations to children under the statutory age, particularly in the US. Basic sanity is required, to prevent employees having to make a choice between their kids and their job. A lot of unnecessary grief is caused by ignorant supervision practices. An employer can't require staff to breach child protection laws.

Structure your answers

Use the STAR technique as your default structure for your interview answers. It's a reliable way to deal with complex interview questions, particularly hypothetical scenarios.

You need to explain the considerations in specific cases, which can include Equal Opportunity, leave entitlements, management guidelines, child protection laws, etc. It's quite a range of information.

You also have to be 100% right about these issues, because that's the job, and the expected standard of performance. Be sure, not sorry, when answering your interview questions.

Important note: It's strongly advised that you refresh your knowledge on both basic and advanced supervision, on principle, but pay special attention to these difficult situations.