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Finding out start dates/hours before applying for work

(7 Posts)
MrsSantosisafeminist Thu 24-Sep-09 12:58:16

I hope to apply for a pt job with a major children's charity. The thing is I have childcare nightmares up till Christmas. DC1 starts school after that so things get much easier. Should I ring up informally and ask when they want successful applicants to start and how they want to spread the hours (18 per week). I am concerned about doing this because a) it marks me out as someone with domestic responsibilities which make me less available (yes, I know there is legislation to protect against this, but I also live in the real world) and b) I know one of the people who has set up this particular project. She is not doing me any favours in relation to the application and I do not expect any. I think there is a lot of competition for these jobs and don't see myself as a shoo-in (sp? hmm). I don't even want to give the impression that I am assuming I've got the job by ringing up and sounding as if I expect to get it IYSWIM? But I do need to know whether they are looking at an immediate start (i.e. one month) and what sort of flexibility on hours there is. AIBU to ring up? What do you think wise MNers. I haven't applied for a proper job for about 10 years (kids, studying etc) so feel completely at sea!!)

LittleMissNorty Thu 24-Sep-09 13:02:57

I would definitely ring. I advertised a 18 hour per week job recently and had lots of phone calls as it is a perfect school hours job. I asked prospective employees to let me know what they wanted to do, and I discussed it with my colleagues to see if we could work around it.

Most employers offer flexibility (if they can), but its nice to see it in the opposite direction as well (for example sickness and leave cover).

IMO if someone advertises for 18 hours per week, they are expecting someone with domestic responsibilities to apply.

AnotherBloodySugaBabe Thu 24-Sep-09 13:05:26

Hmmm. I wouldnt go into all that unless they offer you the job. Its not relevant unless they want you, and if they want you, they'll make it work.

MrsSantosisafeminist Thu 24-Sep-09 13:07:27

Good point about the likelihood that they expect mothers to apply.

When you say flexibility the other way do you mean, offering overtime to cover sickness? I would always be up for that sort of thing but childcare is a huge headache for me (none of the free GP variety available and what I already use is not too flexible)

flowerybeanbag Thu 24-Sep-09 13:08:54

I think both those questions are fine to ask. It's not unusual not to specify a start date; often there isn't a specific date, it would be as soon as possible. However if they are allowing a reasonable length of time for a recruitment process, at least a month, then most people have a month's notice to serve once they've been offered a job, they're then looking at end November/beginning December anyway.

If you get to a late stage in recruitment and they obviously like you, a delay of a few weeks shouldn't put them off as they've not specified that the person must be available to start by x date.

With the hours, you should certainly ask. Most people applying for part time jobs are doing so because they have other commitments for the rest of the week, whether it be family or something else. So most people will need to know what hours are expected before they apply. If they want 18 hours a week, it's a bit rubbish not to actually say either how this will be structured, or if it's flexible, to say so. They will be getting lots of phone calls I expect as a result.

You will not give the impression that you are assuming you've got the job by asking these things, they are perfectly reasonable questions. Just ask when they are looking for someone to start, and how the 18 hours will be arranged. I wouldn't get into any disussion at all about whether they'd be happy to wait longer, or whether they'd be flexible about the hours - those are both questions for later in the process. Just literally ask them the questions and leave it at that.

LittleMissNorty Thu 24-Sep-09 13:16:28

When I got phone calls, my criteria was that I was open to suggestions but needed someone at least 4 days a week. It was further discussed at interview.

I am very lucky that within reason, the person we employed is very willing to swap a day if required / work an extra half hour to get something out (childcare depending of course)/going on training days (with plenty of notice) etc etc.

What Flowery says is bang on.....leave the detailed questions until later.

MrsSantosisafeminist Thu 24-Sep-09 17:33:47

Thanks smile

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