When to ask for flexibility

Flexibility questionRequesting a flexible working agreement can seem daunting, especially when looking for a new job, but it shouldn’t be. Only 6% of jobs advertise part time and flexible working, so what do you do with a great-looking job that doesn’t? Is it worth applying for? At what point do you raise a flexible working request during the interview process?

Great job, but flexibility not advertised. Should I go for it?

In a word, yes! Just because it’s not advertised, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. If you are well qualified for the job, send your cover letter and CV and take it from there.

How do I know I can even ask for a flexible work agreement?

As you wouldn’t go into a job interview unprepared, don’t go in there with a ‘fingers-crossed’ approach to a flexible working agreement. Do some research on the company to find out if they are open to flexibility, but you can also scope this out during the interview by asking questions about the company culture. Be confident.

At what point in the interview do I ask for flexibility?

This is an area where candidates feel most pressure as to when it is the right time to ask without jeopardising their chances of getting the job.

Quite simply, try not to ask during the interview, but after you have been given a job offer or, if you’re in the final round of a stage-based interview process, it should start to enter into discussions at this point. However, there is nothing wrong with going by gut instinct. If things are going well and the subject comes up, then you may as well go for it.

A job offer is where the employer makes it clear they like you and you are the right person for the job and following this it is standard to expect some form of negotiation. You do this with salary, notice period or company benefits package so why not your working hours?

Worried about the employer’s response?

You’ve been offered the job, they want to hire you, so they will take your request seriously. However, some roles just aren’t cut out for flexibility and a new employer does have the right to refuse your request, so you do need to be aware of this possibility. They may also agree to some flexibility but not as much as you have requested. Expect compromise on both sides in order to reach a consensus.

Key facts to keep you motivated

A staggering 14.1 million people want flexibility, so there is increasing pressure for businesses to offer this. Having an experienced employee working flexible hours can save money for a business. Overall, flexible working can contribute £90bn to the UK economy; but what does this mean for you?

It means to go for that job with confidence and deal with the flexibility question as and when you get the job offer. You might be surprised by the response.


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