Employers’ guide to flexible recruitment.

Be ‘Happy to Talk Flexible Working’ and instantly open up your application process to more people with the skills and talent you are looking for.

Flexible recruitment helps employers address issues such as skills shortages and low productivity, absenteeism 58% of SMEs report flexible working improves productivity and 70% of employers note it improves loyalty. Now is the time to think innovatively and differently about your recruitment.

How to use the logo

  • Read our guidance on flexible job design below.
  • Once you are ready to advertise your flexible role, simply download the ‘Happy to Talk Flexible Working’ logo from our website.
  • There is no charge to use the logo and you will be part of growing ‘Happy to Talk Flexible Working’ movement.
  • You are then free to start using the logo as part of your job advert and on the job specification.
  • Use the logo on a job by job basis, for any job at any level, as long as the job is suitable for flexible working, it doesn’t matter. Start small and use it on one of your job adverts or you may wish to use it on them all. Or you might want to pilot a few jobs.
  • If you need any advice or support downloading or using the logo please talk to us.
  • If you find you are restricted for space and unable to use the logo, we suggest you simply include the strapline ‘Happy to Talk Flexible Working’ prominently in your job advert and job description.
  • Share - make sure that everyone in your organisation is aware of ‘Happy to Talk Flexible Working’ and the reasons why you are using it, including hiring managers, HR and recruitment specialists.
  • If you use a job board or recruitment agency talk to them ASAP and explain that you would like to use the logo. Simply send the logo to them or get them to download it on your behalf.
  • Remember, only use ‘Happy to Talk Flexible Working’ for jobs where you are open to flexible working and don’t use it as a blanket organisational statement.
  • We know that putting a logo on an advert isn’t the whole story. We’ve also produced some simple guidance about job design to help you consider what the job really needs and what type of flexible working might work best for your organisation.


Think about job design

A wider pool of talent is available if you can offer flexibility, so it’s a business win if you can offer flexible jobs.

1/ BIG things to think about

  • How can you improve the job design? Don’t assume you need to just recruit the same as you have always done i.e. full-time for full-time etc. This is an opportunity to review the job role and requirements, and improve it for both the business and the employee.
  • Ask yourself for the best talent can you be flexible? This could be small adjustments in start and finish times, job share, compressed hours, occasional working from home, part time etc
  • Could your organisation join the many others that are moving to an assumption of flexible by default and ask hiring managers to think about the reasons for not advertising a role as flexible?
  • It is always worth getting job design and flexible arrangements right at the early stage as this builds sustainability into the job.


2/ The job – get this straight first

  • What is the purpose of the job? What would success look like in this job?
  • What are the tasks and responsibilities? Do they match the job description?
  • Specify the skills and experience needed. Is it realistic to expect one person to be able to fulfil all the tasks?
  • Who will the post holder work with: clients, customers, other teams? Map the network of people that the person would deal with. What are their needs?
  • Be clear about the job’s expected outputs in the information you send to candidates.
  • Look at the tasks: has there been ‘job creep’, with the previous post holder accumulating duties and responsibilities? Can any of the tasks actually be done better or more efficiently elsewhere in the organisation?


3/ Now think about flexibility

  • Consider what sorts of flexibility might work for the job – ie could it be done on reduced hours, different hours or perhaps a job share? Does the person doing it need to be in the office all the time? Can you offer some home working?
  • Could there be any business benefits of a different working pattern – ie would it work better for customers if it was 11–7 rather than 9–5, for example?
  • State clearly if there are options you are not prepared to consider, for example ‘this job is not suitable for home working because…’ but also be open to candidates’ ideas about how they could deliver the outputs in a different way.
  • Be open about any specific requirement of the role – ie the minimum hours needed, ‘the successful candidate needs to be available to work every Monday for example because…’ but also be open to candidates about what other flexibility exists.
  • Are there any management or training needs to make a flexible working pattern work?


4/ The application process

  • Make sure someone is available to answer potential candidates’ questions about working patterns before the application closing date.
  • Be ready to approach the interview with an open mind towards the flexibility the candidate might want or need (remember your goal is to get the best talent!) but also be very clear and realistic about what is and is not possible.
  • Include questions about candidates’ preferred working patterns at the interview stage: how do they think they will manage the workload in the hours they are proposing?
  • Remember it is a conversation not an obligation. It is about finding a good fit, for the business and the employee. It needs to work for both sides. It’s OK to say no.
  • Make sure that you include any flexible options you have as standard: for example, if you have a flexi-time scheme, say so. This is often something that candidates find very attractive, but it isn’t always mentioned.