Preparing for interviewing a flexible worker
Many of our clients come to us for advice on what to ask during an interview – particularly when recruiting a flexible worker for the first time. The key piece of advice we always give is that when you’re interviewing a flexible worker, the rules are the same. Whether it’s a high-flying Financial Director or a part-time accounts assistant you’re interviewing. And they’re the same for flexible positions as they are for permanent ones.
Begin by giving a brief outline of the company, including the main purpose of the business. Also include any plans for the short to medium term that might affect the role. Then outline the role a little, explaining how it has come about and what skills are important for the right candidate. This part should only take about five minutes.
Find ways for your client to show you they are competent for a role. Don’t just get them to tell you how good they are. For example, ask them to demonstrate a time when disaster was averted. Or when a difficult situation had to be managed. If they can overcome hurdles with practical examples, you’ll find out more about their personality and work ethic than any CV can tell you.
Sell the job
Every candidate who leaves your interview should be left feeling like they’d kill for the role in question! We always say that an interview is a two-way process. You need to create the right impression. Because even if you do offer them the job, there’s no guarantee they’ll actually take it. And with the market picking up, there’s more choice for candidates now, so sell, sell, sell.
Skills first, timings second
We recommend that clients should be as open as possible when starting the recruitment process. Make sure you match the skills to the job you have first, before bolting down your exacting requirements of how the role is done. For example, you might think you need someone three days a week, and we might find you the perfect candidate who can do it 2.5 days a week. It is much better to make the hire rather than miss out on their talent.
Flexible works both ways
If you can be flexible, there’s every likelihood your candidate will be too. Our research has shown that once a candidate is in a role, they soon find ways to pick up more hours if required to. Our daily conversations show us that working patterns that are agreed upfront can be changed once someone has started. And usually these have increased in hours rather than decreased.
Think outside the box
Sometimes what you think you need can be improved upon. An example of this is when a company came to us looking for a Financial Controller. They couldn’t afford to employ someone for five days, so they decided to look for a three-day-a-week flexible worker. We found the ideal person for two days, along with an experienced bookkeeper in support for an additional day. The end result was the same, at a lower cost. And that means happier clients and happier candidates.
Remember to use the same principles whether interviewing a flexible worker as you would use for any other role.
If you’re thinking of recruiting in the near future, a flexible worker could be the ideal solution. Get in touch if you’d like to explore our pool of talented professionals today.