Want flexibility? Ask before the interview, say working mums

The majority of working mums feel that if people want a flexible position they should ask about flexibility before interview, according to a workingmums.co.uk poll.

Flexible working


The poll of nearly 400 people found that 71% thought thought people looking for a job should ask about flexibility in the role before interview. 21% advised asking at interview; 5% after the person was given the job and 3% didn’t know what would be best.

The majority felt that it was important to check out whether a job could be worked flexibly before you got to interview so that there were no awkward moments during the interview or negotiations after the job was awarded.

However, one woman said asking before interview could be risky. She said: “If you ask before an interview you probably will not get to the interview stage. If you ask during the interview you probably will not get the job SO I would secure the job first then ask. Some bosses can be sneaky so be sneaky back.”

Another woman who did ask during interview said she felt most wouldn’t do so as they “might be frightened it would put the company off hiring them”. Indeed, one mum said she did ask during interview.

She got the job, but is having problems with her new manager anyway. Another said: “I asked at the interview and didn’t get the job. They told me they gave the job to someone who could do full time hours.”

Currently, you can only legally apply for flexible working after you have been six months in a new job. A growing number of organisations offer flexible working and some advertise on flexible working sites like Workingmums.co.uk. However, it is still a small percentage who openly advertise that a job can be done flexibly.

Gillian Nissim, founder of workingmums.co.uk, said: “It is interesting to note how few women felt confident to address flexible working at interview with most preferring to check out their options beforehand.

While it is always a good idea to ensure you plan in advance, the onus seems still very much on the candidate to do their research and it is still the case that many women are put off applying for roles because they are not openly advertised as being able to be worked flexibly.

Currently people can only apply for flexible working after they have been in a role for six months.

If we are to have a true shift towards a flexible working culture, with all the business and employee benefits this brings, including a more diverse talent pool from which to fish, employers need to do more to make it clear that their roles are open to candidates who want to work outside the traditional 9-5 office norm.”

To encourage innovation in the area of flexible recruitment, workingmums.co.uk’s Top Employer Awards include a Talent Attraction category and aims to spread best practice in this area.

Comments [1]

  • Anonymous says:

    For the first time, I have asked for a change in my working hours where I work in the office. My previous hours were 9am to 5pm and thankfully, I have been given my choice of hours 9am to 3pm to suit the school runs. But having said that, I did apply for a another job I really wanted and I was also offered the post. The role was a 9-5 work time but when I applied and knowing that it was full time, I wanted part time hours and thought it would be best to ask about this after I was offered the role or best still, wait until I was prompted about the working hours by the interviewer during the interview stage. However, after I was offered the role, the interviewer did ask me if the hours were suitable for me and when I asked for lesser hours rather than flexible working, they seemed ok but after a week of negotiations, they said they could not offer me the post as they wanted someone who could do full time hours. I agree that ALL businesses; large or small should make it clear in the job advertisements about flexible working rather than us having to go through rigorous applications and interviewing and then to be turned down.

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