This is a statement that most recruiters dread, well certainly those in the legal sphere. You get a call from a talented, accomplished, likeable candidate with the exact skills to fit your most difficult vacancy and then they quietly confess they need/want part time hours and your heart sinks. Sadly the reason is that you know it will be very hard to convince your client to even interview that person, much less progress to a job offer.
Over the last couple of weeks I have had cause to contemplate this scenario more than once and I am pleased to be able to declare that progress has been made – let’s face it progress had to be made. Progress has been flashing its lights and blaring its sirens demanding to be let through for far too long already. I can proudly state that I currently have two candidates, one male and one female, interviewing who have been up front about their need for flexibility and, in addition, I had a great conversation with a Managing Partner a week or so ago where he stated the case for considering part-time fee-earners very eloquently.
In trying to pin down what brought about this minor miracle, a couple of things stand out. Firstly, in both cases the candidates have made it clear that whilst they need part-time hours they are prepared to be flexible and do not want to necessarily dictate set times and days they can or cannot work. Both sets of requirements have been along the lines of wanting to be able to pick the kids up from school a couple of days a week and being able to work from home some of the time. Secondly, in both cases the need for part-time hours is acknowledged as a short to medium term need and they both envisage returning to full-time work once the circumstances of their home life change. It seems this is an important aspect that is most commonly overlooked – in the majority of cases part-time is not forever.
Obviously part-time work arrangements are not going be possible for every role, but we seem to have moved on from simply dismissing the idea out of hand and are currently passing by the lip-service phase into the welcome world of genuine consideration.
I’ll keep you posted about whether they get the job!