How to Handle the Question Is Flexibility an Option with This JobAs the economy improves, a company’s hiring is bound to pick up. As the hiring manager, it’s up to you to find top-tier talent for the new positions that open up.

And then, during one interview, a promising job candidate asks you the question, “Is flexibility an option with this job?”

As flexible work options continue to become more and more common, more and more job seekers are interested in finding out about a company’s flexible work policies. After all, savvy job seekers are starting to realize that telecommuting, once considered a work perk, is now built directly into the structure of many jobs. Eighty percent of employers planned to increase their flexible workforces in 2013, and it’s highly likely that many more plan to do this same this year – is your company keeping up?

Here are a couple of big stats that should convince you to pick up the pace when it comes to flexible work options, according to a recent FlexJobs survey on people seeking flexible work:

  • 82 percent of respondents said that they would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options.
  • 39 percent of respondents said they have turned down a promotion or have not taken or quit a job because of a lack of flexible work options.

Having a flexible work program could mean all the difference in getting (and keeping!) the best possible workers out there, so it’s important for you to be prepared for this question to come up during a job interview. Here’s what you need to know about properly answering questions about flexible work options:

1. Get Knowledgeable

Before going in to an interview with a candidate, it’s important to know what your company’s position is on work flexibility. Is it allowed, and if so, it is available to all employees, or only to workers in certain departments and at specific levels (e.g., executives or department heads)? Speak with your boss to find out more information. You can also read up on the company’s official policy on its website or in the handbook. If some of the employees are already telecommuting, you can reach out to them to find out about the circumstances regarding their flexible work schedules.

2. Know What to Say

If your company allows telecommuting, but only for certain positions and/or after a specified number of years working with the company, you’ll need to be careful what you say. After all, you don’t want to divulge in a job interview with a potential employee that there are flexible work options for which their entry-level position will make them ineligible. It’s best to speak with HR directly to determine what the official word should be on work flexibility, should you be asked about it during an interview (and it’s very likely that you will!)

3. Figure Out the Flex

When you’re asked about flexible schedules, you should be prepared to give an  overview of the types of flex options that your company currently supports. That said, you’ll need to be super specific in the flexibility that is allowed for the particular position that the job candidate is applying for. Many of today’s job seekers will weigh workplace flexibility as a major factor in their decision to accepting or decline a job offer. Give your employee-to-be the information they need and let them know how they would be able to get approved for the exact type of flex (such as a full-time telecommuting position, a compressed workweek, etc.) that they want.

If your company is still warming up to the idea of remote work, you should start advocating for flexibility at your organization. After all: when your company has a workplace flexibility program already in place, it makes it easier to attract and retain some of the best talent in your industry.
Readers, have you been asked about work flexibility options while interviewing a candidate? How do you recommend others handle this? Leave a comment!

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