Want a new job? How to sell yourself and get the flex you want

Are you looking for more flexibility in your current role, or hoping to make the leap to a different role or business in a flexible capacity? Making this change can be exciting, even life-changing if it means you’re able to spend more time with your family or on personal projects outside work hours.

However, it can be difficult to know how to start the conversation about flexibility with your employer. In fact, according to Aviva’s Working Lives Report 2017 “more than one in five (21%) of the workforce dare not ask for flexible working even though it is within their legal rights.”

With this in mind, we’ve put together five tips to help you prepare for that all-important meeting

22 October 2018

1.Choose the right time

If you are interviewing for a new role and it's offered as full time but you were hoping to get some flexibility, you may be able to negotiate 4 days, it's rare that you could get 3 days. We'd always suggest that it's best to have the conversation about flexibility face to face and ideally as part of the second interview, when you know they want you - preparing for the conversation and 'selling' it to the employer is key!

2. Think business

If you can build a business case and share the research (check our website) as to how flexible working will work in the role, and how you can achieve the business objectives in your role in the reduced hours, this shows your employer - or future employer - that you’ve considered things from their point of view as well as your own - try and find an example in your sector if you can. They’ll appreciate your organisation and preparation and are more likely to seriously consider your request.

Think about the language you use - it needs to focus around delivering and helping them to achieve their goals and being positive - have a look at this advice.

Showing that you’ve done your research and you understand their view point, is always likely to be looked upon favourably; it shows you’re not only practically minded, but considerate of the needs of your manager and coworkers. Plus you’ll be pleased to know that there are plenty of reassuring statistics out there that show flexible working is a savvy business choice. For example, studies show that working from home increases productivity by up to 20% and that home workers take 63% less sick leave than their office-based colleagues.  

3. Keep an open mind

Ask yourself: why do you want to work flexibly? You don’t need to share your reasons with your employer, but it’s useful to consider exactly why you want to change the way you work. This is because working flexibly can take many different forms - job sharing, adjusted start and finish times, dropping to four days a week or working from home, for example - and more than one of these options could be a good choice for you. Find and use examples of how others have made it work. including what your new employers competitors offer - do you research! There are some great examples you can find.

Plus, if you’re able to suggest a number of ways of working that you’d be keen to try - and explain why each of them could work well from a business perspective too - this immediately puts you in a stronger position.

4.Offer to trial it

Some employers might feel more comfortable letting you take on a flexible work pattern if they’re able to see it in action over a trial period first. Consider suggesting that you try out flexible working for a month or two. Make sure you track and measure your performance, and have a way to compare it to a full time or non flexible staff member.

If it doesn't work, try a different approach, work out what went wrong and test a new approach until you get it working. Once your employers see that your output remains the same (or even improves) during this period, they’ll feel reassured that the quality of your work isn’t necessarily reliant on the hours you work or the amount of time you spend at your desk.

5.Remember: it’s your right to ask

By law, every employee has the opportunity to ask for the chance to work flexibly. So try not to be apologetic or shy when entering into conversations about changing the way you work. You’re entitled to discuss this and it’s up to your employer to fairly consider your request.

If you’d like to more support please get in touch with us today kristal@flexology.co.uk