How to Ask for Flexible Work Hours During a Job Interview

How to Ask for Flexible Work Hours During a Job Interview
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Flexible working hours are becoming more common in the workplace. In fact, according to a recent survey, nearly half (48%) of employers now offer some form of flexi-time.

Flexibility has become a key part of modern life. Whether you want to spend time with family, travel, or relax after a long day, flexibility allows us to achieve our goals without compromising our personal lives.

But what does it mean to be flexible? And how should you go about asking for it? Here’s everything you need to know about negotiating flexible working arrangements during the job interview stage.

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Timing Is Everything

The best time to negotiate flexible work hours is before applying for new positions. You want to avoid putting yourself under pressure by having to decide whether you are going to apply for multiple roles right away.

Instead, give yourself plenty of time to think through your career path and consider the most suitable opportunities.

This way, you will feel free from making a decision, and you can always change your mind later on if you find that one particular role isn’t quite right for you.

Once you have decided where to focus your efforts, it’s time to start preparing your resume and cover letter. By focusing on the specific requirements of each role, you will present yourself in the best possible light.

You can use this time to prepare your application materials to stand out. For example, you might include details such as your hobbies, interests, and achievements and highlight your strengths and skills.

You should also mention what flexible working hours you are interested in and why these options appeal to you. If you are applying for a large company, highlight how your previous experience has prepared you for the challenges associated with working in different departments.

Know What You Want

You need to have a clear goal in mind before you begin negotiating any aspect of a job offer, much less the complete package. A less-than-ideal timetable may be the result if you don’t take this precaution.

Do you like to always work five days a week, even though your company only provides for a flexible schedule and not a hybrid option? Do you have set hours, or would you want some leeway? Would you rather avoid the traffic and travel during non-rush hours?

Although the answers to these questions may seem simple, they are often disregarded since they concern “what I’m not ready to give up.”

What you desire can help you choose what you’re willing to give up and what you’re not. If having a hybrid schedule is really important to you, you may be ready to accept a pay cut or a lower title in return for more freedom over your work week.

You may even be ready to settle for less pay or a lesser title if it means getting a more flexible work schedule.

Assess Your Situation

When it comes to scheduling flexibility, there are many factors to consider. You’ll want to assess whether you’re negotiating with someone who embraces forward-thinking principles—someone who believes in the value of work-life balance, for example—or who advocates the traditional nine-to-five work schedule.

Recall statements the recruiter or hiring managers made during your interview that suggested workplace flexibility. If you recall anything like “We allow our employees to take time off whenever they need,” that could mean the company doesn’t require a set number of days off per week.

But if you heard something like “Our employees work hard and we trust them to make up the time they miss,” that suggests the company encourages a more flexible approach.

Look at multiple schedules

Come up with at least two other work schedules to submit to your company. Show potential employers that you can think on your feet by giving them a range of solutions.

Without much practice in remote work, you may need to experiment to find what works best for you.

For instance, you may inquire about working nine days (each day lasting nine hours) and get the tenth day off as a form of negotiated work-life balance.

In a compressed work week, the employee works Monday through Friday but takes off both Saturdays and Sundays. This schedule may last for two weeks or the duration of a pay period. Alternately, you may set up your calendar such that you work four 10-hour days and get the fifth day free, in addition to the weekend.

It’s best to be flexible to the quarter-hour if you’re near to finishing a work-from-home schedule. This means that you may need to adjust your bid by half an hour if you are very close to the end of a program.

Provide Proof

You want to come off like something other than a freeloader as a new employee. You want to prove yourself worthy of being hired. But how do you show employers that you are ready to work remotely?

The answer is simple: provide proof. Showing that you can work remotely isn’t just about having the ability to work from home; it’s about demonstrating that you can complete tasks efficiently and effectively.

For instance, if you have experience working remotely, tell your prospective employer what you did during your previous telecommuting experiences. If you have been successful in completing projects on your own time, give examples that illustrate how well you completed each project.

If you have worked remotely, mention specific ways you improved productivity. Explain how you streamlined processes and procedures to increase efficiency. Discuss how you developed systems that easily manage multiple projects simultaneously.

Finally, if you have experience managing others, talk about how you helped employees become more productive. Demonstrate how you set up meetings and facilitate communication among team members. Talk about how you organized tasks and ensured deadlines were met.


If the employer is still hesitant about giving you a hybrid/flexible schedule, offer to do an initial trial period. This way, you can learn the ropes of the position without committing to anything too permanent.

For example, you could agree that you’d like to start in a regular office environment for the first 90 days. After that, consider transitioning into a hybrid or flexible schedule. You might even ask to try both options, depending on what works better for your situation.

You may show your employer that you can successfully manage a flexible or hybrid work schedule if you give it your all and perform what’s expected of you.

Get It in Writing

Whether you are requesting a flexible work environment or taking advantage of one, make sure you receive a written agreement outlining the terms of your arrangement.

If your employer offers flexibility, outline what you want in your request letter. If you’re seeking flexibility, explain why and what you plan to do with the extra time.

Your boss might say yes without knowing exactly what you’ll do with the additional hours. Be specific about your plans and include examples of times when you’ve previously worked remotely. You want to avoid surprising yourself down the road with unexpected responsibilities.

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Prepare to Compromise

When it comes to negotiating a flexible work schedule, there are three main areas where you want to focus your attention:

  1. What do I need to make my life better?
  2. What am I willing to give up?
  3. What can we agree upon?

The best way to approach this discussion is by starting with what you need and want. Then, prepare alternatives to each of those points. This will help keep things moving along smoothly.

Once you’ve determined what you need and what is important to you, you’ll want to think about what the company needs and wants.

You might think, “I’m fine with X, but not Y.” If that’s the case, consider how much flexibility you’re willing to offer and whether or not you’d rather see the company move away from that particular item.

You’ll likely find yourself compromising somewhere in the middle. Don’t worry; you will only sometimes feel like you’re giving something up. You’ll feel good about the deal once you reach an agreement.


Applying for a job can be stressful, making the interview process even more difficult. Asking about flexible work hours may seem like it could be better.

However, if you follow these steps and present your request correctly, you may be pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

The most important thing is to remember that you are an asset to the company and that they want to keep you happy.

So go ahead and ask what you want—you might get it! And if you don’t, our expert resume writers can always help spruce up your application so that the next time will be a success.

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