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.
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.”