If future employers ask if you can be flexible..

(4 Posts)
BabyLionCub Fri 17-Nov-17 19:29:29

And you're a single parent (who may or may not be moving away from family depending on the job), what would you say? Would you admit to being a single parent? I'm soon to graduate and just thinking about what I'll say at future interviews. If I could find a decent paying job, I'll stay here and pay my dad to watch my little girl every afternoon until I got home, after she did her free hours at nursery in the morning. He's skint and struggling with work as he's a labourer and he's getting older. He's my DDs best friend and vice versa so no problems there. So I could be relatively flexible then, and stay late on occasion. My dad would be more than happy to put her to bed and watch TV until whatever time I got home.

If I have to move away (due to rent/ childcare being practically the same as London here, but jobs paying nowhere near London rate), I won't have any support, and won't be able to afford a nanny or anything like that. It'd be a 4hr commute to central London, so I don't think that's an option.

So do I tell the truth and say my flexibility is limited because I'm a single parent to a toddler, and basically give up on the job as I come from a group of young, highly flexible graduates?

Shall I not even bother applying for these types of grad roles, and stick to public sector roles which from what I can tell are much less demanding re flexibility?

I'm so ridiculously stressed about the whole thing and I haven't even started applying yet. 😩

OP’s posts: |
katmarie Fri 17-Nov-17 19:54:00

I would ask what they mean by flexible, and perhaps to give some real world examples. And then I'd say something like, 'Of course, like everyone I do have some commitments outside of work, but what you've described seems quite workable.' if it seems ok, or, 'Unfortunately with the commitments I have outside of work at the moment I wouldn't be able to do x without a bit of notice but could do y, which would seem to solve the problem.' You can also turn the question back to them as well, 'I'm open to the idea of flexible working, could you tell me a bit more about the company's flexible working approach?'

BabyLionCub Fri 17-Nov-17 20:13:50

I would ask what they mean by flexible, and perhaps to give some real world examples. And then I'd say something like, 'Of course, like everyone I do have some commitments outside of work, but what you've described seems quite workable.' if it seems ok, or, 'Unfortunately with the commitments I have outside of work at the moment I wouldn't be able to do x without a bit of notice but could do y, which would seem to solve the problem.' You can also turn the question back to them as well, 'I'm open to the idea of flexible working, could you tell me a bit more about the company's flexible working approach?'

This is exactly what I was looking for, thank you! I'm screenshotting it and am memorising word for word for my (hopeful) interviews next year.

When I've applied for low wage, pt jobs in the past couple of years, and they'd say something about giving an example of how you manage your time well - id say oh I've managed to work, run a household, get first class grades at uni and raise a baby - and id never get the job. Then my mum warned me off saying stuff like this (I'm young and relatively new to the working mum rigamarole) and I got the first job I didn't mention it in. They were pretty surprised on my first day when I filled in the dependents box blush

Anyway, that's why I'm eager to not let being a single parent be a reason to discriminate against. Because even though I guess I told a lie by omission, I'm one of the best at my (admittedly pretty basic) job ATM, so I'm sure now they don't regret hiring me. I just need a chance to prove myself. My nervousness comes from the fact that I'm going to be applying against such accomplished and clever and free (in the most simple terms, I'd be nothing without my DD) graduates. I guess I can but try 🤷🏽‍♀️

OP’s posts: |
ImNotWhoYouThinkIAmOhNo Sun 19-Nov-17 22:05:33

Don't make assumptions about how flexible other people are. I know a team where the woman with 3 kids is the most flexible, and the single woman with no dependents is the least flexible.

So, go with the suggestions above to find out what 'flexible' means to them, and remember that sometimes you might want them to be flexible towards you too - flexibility shouldn't be one-sided.

Good luck.

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