In an interview with Rhonda Bennett, Head of IT business change at Pinsent Masons, we, Attune Flexible Jobs, asked her how she has worked flexibly for many years, as well as being promoted five times in a career that has spanned twenty years ensuring that working flexibly has never held her back …. When you
Six tips for flexible workers to succeed at interview
There are more flexible roles than ever in today’s legal profession. That fact alone will help you secure the flexible job you want and need, whether that is flexible hours, part-time, or working from home opportunities. But flexible working is still a relatively new concept. Using your interview time to sell your unique ability to work differently will be key to getting that perfect job.
- Don’t be apologetic for seeking a different type of employment contract. Your need (or desire) to work flexibly does not make you less committed to your future job or firm. Quite the opposite, in fact, flexibility will allow you the work/life balance to perform your role better. And at the same time you will save your new employer money. It’s a win-win situation – frame your conversation in that way.
- Wherever possible use examples to support your ability to work flexibly. If you’ve worked flexibly for a while, show how you were able to do so successfully. If this is your first interview for a flexible role, still try to apply examples of your flexible thinking from your previous full-time positions (for example, if you successfully worked from home).
- Think about the skills and qualities that make for good flexible workers – excellent time management, strong communication skills to work virtually, the ability to use your initiative and manage your own projects, resourcefulness. How can you demonstrate your abilities across these areas?
- Be realistic. Talk about the goals you will be expected to achieve in, say, three to six months. Be wary if the interview begins to sound like you’ll be squeezing a full-time role into a part-time week. It won’t work for you or the firm. No matter how great the firm is, it’s important that you leave the interview process feeling that you can meet expectations.
- Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask about the firm’s broader flexible-working policy, or for details of career development for flexible workers. Not only will that make you look more thoughtful and ambitious, but it will also give you important insights into the firm’s culture.
- Be flexible! If your new employer is working hard to offer more flexibility, try to do the same in return. Working more hours, or from the office, for example, for a hand-over or settling-in period isn’t unreasonable.
Flexible working is here to stay. But there is a period in which managers will still be feeling their way as they embed new policies and processes. Show yourself to be capable, adaptable and committed and you won’t just get the job you want, but you may also find yourself a role model for how flexible working can be achieved for the benefit of all.