Hi All, I read this in a newspaper and thought would be useful for at-home mothers who might be thinking of taking up a job at some point. Uma --------------- Q: After being at home with my children for seven years, I'm ready to re-enter the work force in my field, information technology. I want to make sure the employer I select is family-friendly. How do I "pull" that information during interviews without sounding like I'm going to need every other day off for my kids' activities, school programs, etc.? --J.T., Edwardsville, Ill. A: Employees with your skills are in demand, but you'll need to get up-to-date by taking some training classes first. As you begin your job search, good employers can be found on lists of "best places to work" in Working Mother magazine (www.workingmother.com) and in regional business publications. For talk of specific employers, check www.Vault.com, an employment Web site with message boards and employer profiles. For companies that excel at training, the American Society for Training and Development ranks top companies at www.astd.org; scroll down and click on "Press Room," then select the release on the "Best Awards." In interviews, make selling yourself a first priority, and then worry about the work environment. The culture won't matter if you're shown the door. Be alert to nonverbal signals -- whether the interviewer shows respect, for you and for himself or herself; answers questions warmly and in detail; is able to state objectives succinctly, and seems happy to be there. Ask about the department's proudest accomplishments; tales of unsustainable heroics such as all-nighters are a bad omen. With job offer in hand, ask to talk with current employees, or seek out former employees. Ask about the typical workweek. Is there flexibility in where and when work gets done? What are top executives' personal lives like? If any employees have had personal problems, how were they handled? If anyone has quit recently, why? Observe whether many employees have day-to-day family-care duties. While a laundry list of family-friendly benefits such as paid parental leave is nice, it isn't essential. A responsible, competent employee with family responsibilities can thrive in almost any corporate culture that is respectful of employees; focused on goals rather than face time; and flexible in how, where and when those goals are met.