Preparing For the Back To Work Interview Employment

A return to work interview is a short, informal meeting between yourself and your HR rep or manager following a leave of absence. While it may be a stressful experience, it’s normally nothing too serious and very rarely results in anything serious. 

With that said, you may still want to do some preparation to make sure that you have everything ready beforehand. Not only will it make the meeting go quicker — but it will also mean that your line manager knows all the relevant information ahead of time. 

With that said, let’s go through the Back To Work Interview.

What Are Back to Work Interviews For?

Generally, every Back To Work interview has three main goals. These are: 

  • To reduce the level of general absence
  • To ensure the employee is fit to return to work
  • To pick up on any concerns 

As such, it’s easy to imagine that Back to Work Interviews are only for the benefit of employers. And that’s not too far from the truth. However, they do give you the opportunity to get important information across and have it officially recorded. 

For example, if you’ve been off because of COVID-19 and you’re dealing with Long COVID, the Back To Work Interview is your opportunity to let your employer know. Or if you’ve had some time off because of a broken bone and you’re now dealing with pain that makes working at your previous pace difficult or dealing with difficulties related to mobility, then you should make your employer know during this stage. 

Once these issues have been recorded and made known, your employer should make relevant adaptations in order to allow you to continue working — whether that means allowing you to work from home for a time or by managing expectations in regards to your target. 

Now that you’ve got an idea why a Back to Work Interview is being held, let’s get you familiar with what to expect during the interview itself. 


Normally, you can expect your interviewer to ask you a couple of questions. These can include:

  • How are you feeling?
  • Did you see your GP or a pharmacist? 
  • Did you get any medication?
  • Do you feel well enough to be back at work?
  • Is this an ongoing or recurring condition?
  • Has anything work-related contributed to your absence?
  • Are there any adjustments that could help with your attendance?
  • Do you have any questions?

As you can see, most of these questions are perfectly harmless and shouldn’t prove too much of a hassle. However, knowing what to expect can help you to organize your thoughts and help you prepare ahead of time — this is especially important if you’ve been dealing with a complicated illness that requires some explanation as to its symptoms and recovery process. 

If you’ve been off with a long-term illness, you should have had a few conversations with your line manager/HR representative ahead of time about your illness and recovery time. As such, it’s not uncommon for your questions to be a series of confirmations, where your manager simply confirms that the information they have is correct. 

It may feel that you’re repeating much of what you’ve already said; however, you should remember that this meeting is not an inquisition. It’s to make sure that both yours and your employers needs are met, in order for you to continue working. 

For More Information 

Building Better Opportunities is a South Staffordshire-based organisation working to get more people back in work. For more information about getting back to work following illness, or anything to do with employment, get in touch with us today. Our team will be happy to help you with any questions.