How to ask for flexible working when applying for a full time job

Are you struggling to find a full time job with flexible hours? Despite its merit, flexibility still isn’t something many employers shout about in their job adverts. But don’t fret, it doesn’t always mean flexibility is a no-go. It just may be a case of applying for a full time role and negotiating your hours further down the line. How, you ask? Here are a few tips on how to ask for flexible working hours…

woman at an interview


Research the company

It’s worth doing a little research to see if the company is open to the idea of job flexibility. Have a look at their website. Do they present themselves as modern, forward-thinking and diverse? Do they appear to have good family values? All suggest that flexible working could be on the cards. You can also check out companies who have made a public statement of their commitment to flexible working, like those on the workingmums Top Employer’s Charter.

Be realistic about flexible working

You stand a better chance of securing job flexibility if you are a strong candidate for the role. If the company really wants you, they’re more likely to accommodate your requests.

Having said this, you still need to be realistic about what you’re asking for. If you’re applying for full time job but want part time, there’s a chance it won’t work. Remember, flexible working has to benefit both you and your potential employer. You’ll need to show that you can fulfil the requirements of the role with the flexible working arrangement you have in mind.

Can you realistically do the job in fewer days? Is it the type of role you can do from home one or two days a week? Think carefully and have a plan in place. There are some industry roles better suited to flexibility than others.

Ask about flexibility when the time is right

Knowing when to ask for job flexibility is tricky. Do you ask before applying for the role? Should you wait until the interview stage, or perhaps when you’re offered the job?

Unfortunately, there’s no right or wrong answer. It’s all about what you’re comfortable doing. Asking outright could save time but waiting until the interview will allow you to get a feel for the company and their ethos.

In our opinion, it’s best to wait until you know the company is interested in you. If the interview has gone well, perhaps raise the question of flexible hours at the end. Alternatively, see if you’re offered the role and negotiate it like you would a salary or company benefits.

How to negotiate hours at an interview

Flexible working can be beneficial for both employee and employer. It doesn’t have to be a problem and shouldn’t be treated as such. Whether at the interview stage or during a job negotiation, present flexible working as a positive solution and share the benefits for both parties.

Benefits to you:

  • Better work-life balance
  • Option to work the hours that fit around your family and when you’re most productive
  • Reduced environmental impact (cutting down the commute)

Benefits to the employer:

  • Boosts employee morale
  • Cost-effective (office space / travel expenses)
  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Improve company image

We’d always suggest following up any conversations about flexible working hours with your requirements in writing. Here is flexible working request letter template you can use

Nothing to lose by asking for flexible hours

The saying ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’ certainly applies to the situation. There’s nothing wrong with asking for flexible working at interviews. You have nothing to lose and could potentially secure your ideal working hours, without having to wait to do a flexible working application 6 months down the line.

Don’t be disheartened if you are unsuccessful. You have two choices. Go for the job and demonstrate your ability to work efficiently. Then, once your probation period is over, put in a flexible working request letter. Your request is likely to be considered when you’ve proved you’re invaluable to the company.

If this isn’t an option, look elsewhere. workingmums features employment opportunities that offer flexibility upfront. Check out our current jobs with flexible working available for something more suitable.

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