Finding a job to fit around your family can feel like a challenge. All you hear from friends and family is the bad news stories; you dig through the local newspaper and jobs boards and the family-friendly job can seem elusive.
It can be disheartening, but I am here as the voice of choice and opportunity. So many parents I coach are waiting for THE IDEAL job. A metaphorical needle in a haystack of unsuitable jobs. One that is exactly the hours they want. So, they wait, and wait but it never appears.
How many times have you seen a role that looks perfect, but you don’t apply because the hours you want or need aren’t mentioned in the job advertisement? Did you know that many roles can be negotiated and aren’t always advertised as part-time or flexible?
Once you know your skills and experience and trust in your ability, it is a lot easier to demonstrate to an employer that being flexible will help them, not just you.
It is just a case of asking the right person the right questions.
Here are my tips to create the job that suits you and your family.
First things first. Ask.
When you see a role advertised, and BEFORE you apply, ask the employer or the recruiter (if it is via a recruitment consultancy) if they would consider fewer hours or a different working pattern. In my experience, many companies want the right person, and many make adjustments for them. By law, everyone is entitled to request (not receive) flexible working after they have worked for 26 weeks. However, you could begin the negotiations early, at offer stage!
Wear a different hat
Consider this process from the perspective of your Manager, and answer any objections they may have. Try to overcome any reasons they could give for saying “No”.
Key areas to consider are:
- What benefits could it give them if you worked from home or fewer hours? Improved productivity is an obvious one.
- Have you got a track record for working remotely or reduced hours? Give evidence of how it can work.
- Can you highlight improvements to processes or efficiencies? Can you suggest technologies that can help with this?
Know what you want
Most importantly, have a suggestion of a working pattern prepared, even at the initial enquiry stage. Is it fewer days, condensed hours, remote working, shorter days, job-share? What is your ideal and then your “fall-back position?”
Consider this process a negotiation, not an automatic right or a Human Resources process and you are more likely to succeed.
So, next time you are reviewing the job pages, just pick up the phone and ask the question. You may be surprised by the reply!
Do you know anyone that could benefit from this advice? Hit “forward” and send it their way.
Like this? You can read Clara’s last brilliant blog about getting back to work after maternity leave here
About Clara Wilcox
Clara runs The Balance Collective. She is a mum of two with over a decade’s experience in recruitment and coaching. She offers career and return to work coaching for parents and flexible working consultancy and workshops for businesses. Find out more on The Balance Collective website or find Clara on Facebook, Twitter or connect with on LinkedIn!