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How To Negotiate Flexibility During A New Job Process

Flexible Working Negotiation

Interviewing for a new job is the worst! Over the top smiles, enthusiasm to the highest degree; It’s a tough situation.

It is however a perfect opportunity to negotiate flexibility with your working schedule. Whether that’s flexible working hours or work from home opportunities; the job interview (or the aftermath of one) is the BEST time to try your hand at getting the flexibility you crave.

It’s not easy!

I won’t beat around the bush here when I say it’s not easy to negotiate such flexibility within the interview stage or before you have either landed the role however it’s arguably the best time.

If flexibility appeals to you then what better time to lay the demands on the table? There’s no point tip toeing around and waiting until you’re employed to ask if you can work from home or flex your hours. Your ass then essentially belongs to the company and they have your nice signature at the bottom of a contract which says nothing about work from home.

Essentially you’re screwed!

I’m a fan of getting things clear from the beginning. A job can seem great from the outside but once you are in deep it’s difficult to turn back. Furthermore if you’re passionate about the balancing act of life and your job then surely this is as important as the pay check? It is for me.

Here are a few nuggets to look for and use when negotiating flexibility. It’s not easy but by asking a few questions and doing some research you can uncover the right company for you.

Company culture:

Is it a cool, hip, forward thinking people culture or is a rigid, traditional organisation? Find out these type of details before you ask the question. If it seems extremely stiff and old school in the way it manages it’s staff then you may be wise to head for the hills. You don’t want to find yourself looking for a new job straight away!

Check the companies job advert for flexibility as a perk. Alternatively you can take to social media to find individuals who either work at the company or have in the past and possibly ask them. It may seem a little over the top and big brother like but if your flexibility and the ability to achieve it is important then go for it.

Companies know that flexibility is a recruitment selling point. If a company doesn’t state it on their corporate website or on the job description then it’s quite possibly not an option but it is worth asking the question and finding out what you can before you take the role.

Drop subtle questions:

Subtle questions on the subject of flexibility are a great way in gauging whether or not a company is game for the lifestyle you want to lead. Questions on the typical working day, whether you’re required to access emails outside working hours and other variations usually lead to responses from the interviewer.

The hiring manager and their facial expressions will tell the whole story. It’s usually quite easy to see whether someone is lying or if someone is enthusiastic about how relaxed a working atmosphere is. A positive response is a great sign; a negative is not.

Use the part of the interview where you are asked to present any questions to do some detective work. Remember a job is more than just 8 hours a day it has to match how you currently lead or want to lead your life.

Get the job offer first:

The offer has been made. The company has decided you are the one they want to manage their online empire; you are the chosen one! This is the time you begin to negotiate flexibility!

Let me tell you there’s absolutely NO difference between negotiating your salary as there is to negotiating working schedules and working environments. These are all conditions of work which you NEED to agree to.

Typically a job offer will be made over the phone, then sent through in an email before finally coming through via the post. Once you receive the email and have successfully negotiated salary it’s time to negotiate your working flexibility. If you have examples of doing this before; GREAT! This will further enforce your plea. If you haven’t then it’s best to state reasons why you would ideally want to do this and how you will maintain peak productivity.

You can then state your desired flexibility and wait for a response. As I’ve said numerous times one job is not the be all and end all. If they have absolutely ZERO flexibility then you may want to look at alternative roles. Nobody wants to work for dinosaurs!

Deal is off….Job offer retracted:

It is not uncommon for a company to reject your request or say it’s not possible. What you do next is entirely up to you. If flexibility is a big deal to you then you may have to decline the job offer due to the lack of flexibility. Companies would then lose their star candidate over a degree of flexibility and would have the headache of further recruitment.

As a recruiting manager it would be a pretty simple response in allowing flexibility but some companies are not accommodating in their approach.

I would ask the question again. ‘Is this a company you want to work for?’

If the job means more to you than flexibility then you may decide to accept the role but ask the company to reconsider flexibility once you have proven yourself in the place of work. Again this depends on your circumstances and how much the job means to you.

It’s not a taboo subject:

Industry has moved forward, flexibility is commonplace in most start up/21st century organisations and should no longer but seen as a taboo subject. A lot of people who don’t have flexibility in their employment simply haven’t asked. A new job is a great time to seek such flexibility in how you work, when you work or where you work.

All you have to do is ask….It’s that simple!

Good luck!

About the author

Ryan Gibson

Hey! I'm a 28 year old digital marketing guy residing in Leeds, England. My skill is in search marketing and I have gathered over 6 years experience of working on large multilingual campaigns for a number of FTSE 250 Organisations. After accepting a role with a business based in Singapore I began questioning traditional business practice and employee retention. This blog GenerationY.com was therefore born with focus on Y in the workplace. A millennial child at heart I aim to provide a voice for the 'misunderstood' generation and my goal is simply to change perception and corporate mind set on work/life attitudes; inspiring companies and individuals to seek change.


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