6 Tips on How to Negotiate a Flexible Work Schedule During a Job Interview

Work, personal needs, and social obligations all compete for your time in today’s fast-paced world. A flexible work schedule might be your ticket to work-life balance, job satisfaction, and productivity. However, the thought of raising this idea with your prospective employer may leave you jittery. Here are 6 tips from experts from negotiations.com to help you leave a job interview with the best flexible schedule your employer can offer.

Know the Company Culture

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Some companies may have rigid policies around working hours, while others may be more lenient. Knowing the company’s stance ahead of time can help you tailor your negotiation strategy properly. Delve into the company’s culture and ethos by finding opinions from present and past employees. You can glean this data from resources such as:

  • LinkedIn
  • Glassdoor
  • Reddit
  • Indeed
  • Comparably
  • Blind
  • fyi
  • Firsthand
  • Careerbliss
  • The Muse

Reviewing the “Careers” page on the company’s website will also likely yield a clue. Read multiple job ads from the company to see if they offer flexibility as a key perk. If you’re working with a recruiter, you can also ask them what they know about the company.

Identify Your Needs

Negotiation trainers recommend that you determine what schedule you need before interviewing. This will enable you to air it clearly during the negotiation. For example, do you need a compressed week in which you’ll work longer hours but fewer days? Do you want to start and end your shift earlier or later each day? Would a hybrid setup in which you work from home on certain days of the week cut it for you?

What about staggered hours, where you can be online during any hours of the day? Could reduced hours or job-sharing be viable options if you’re open to being a part-timer?

Applying these questions to your situation can serve as a guide for negotiating toward the right flexible plan for you.

Highlight Your Skills and Experience First

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Before letting the flexibility aspiration out of the bag, it can help to cement your place as an ideal candidate for the job. Focus on your wins and contributions to the success of previous projects or companies. The skills that often catch an interviewer’s attention include:

  • Adaptability
  • Being result-oriented
  • Communication
  • Time management

Cite specific cases of how you have used these skills for the good of your previous companies, then use actual data to show how a flexible work schedule swayed those outcomes. Help the employer see how they stand to reap big rewards by offering you a flexible schedule.

Point Out the Benefits

When negotiating a flexible job plan, package your request as something that will turn out well for the role and find ways to back up your case. For example, show how working from home can save the company money on office space, supplies, and utilities.

In addition, according to the Harvard Business Review, corporate programs that support work-life balance reduce turnover, promote productivity, and improve employees’ mental and physical health. It’s also fair to acknowledge that a flexible schedule requires adaptability and responsibility on your end. Therefore, it can help to assure the employer that you’ll put the necessary strategies in place to excel at productivity and time management under a flexible schedule.

For example, such a setup could help you meet deadlines since you’d be on duty when you otherwise would be stuck in traffic while commuting to the office. Better still, tell them that managing your own time will allow you to work during your most productive hours, boosting output.

Propose a Trial Period

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The company may still be reluctant to offer you a flexible job plan. This is your call to help them put to rest any fears they may have. You can throw the idea of a trial period on the table to prove how well you can thrive in such a setup.

Negotiation professionals say a trial period of three to six months can be ideal to find out if a flexible setup is ideal. By going this route, your employer can make needful changes based on the impact on areas such as:

  • Productivity
  • Collaboration
  • Health and wellness
  • Employee satisfaction
  • Time management
  • Absenteeism

Be Ready to Compromise

While your desire to be in a flexible role may be your priority, your prospective employer may have a different viewpoint. In that case, being willing to meet them halfway can keep the negotiation on track. For example, can you adjust the hours you work from time to time if the business needs it? Perhaps you can strike a deal in which you’ll start working a typical full-time schedule but shift to your desired plan once you’ve settled into the role.

Remember that the goal of offering a compromise is to reach a win-win outcome. For example, if the employer can’t grant your request for a fully remote job, you might be able to score a hybrid schedule.

In sum, negotiating a flexible work schedule during a job interview can be crucial to achieving work-life balance and job satisfaction. By being ready ahead of time, knowing the company’s needs and policy, and airing your priorities well, you can raise your chances of scoring a flexible arrangement that meets you and your potential employer’s needs.

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