in Employers, Interviews

Discussing Flexible Hours or Child Care in a Job Interview

When interviewing a potential employee for a job, it is important to see things at all times from the employee’s perspective – they will almost certainly be trying to guess what you are wanting, thinking and going to say to them and will want to get certain things confirmed about your firm before they commit themselves. This is particularly so when interviewing candidates who want or may want flexible hours or part time arrangements.

The legal profession is notorious for its attitude towards anyone who dares to want to work less than a 40 hour week – and particularly so against women with kids. Some firms almost shy away from the whole idea instead of thinking about the benefits to them of having staff on flexible hours, particularly in small market towns where the Ten-Percent Candidate Database is not particularly bursting at the seams.

I have heard recently of an interview where a partner of the firm indicated to a female candidate who would possibly have had children that flexible hours would not be possible when in fact his firm offered flexible and part time roles fairly regularly. He was not thinking of this from the candidate’s perspective at all – and in fact was going against what was standard policy at his firm!

My wife once interviewed for a GP post in Shropshire, and the partner there took great pleasure in telling her what long hours they all worked and what money they made as a result. This put her right off – he should have guessed what she may have been thinking – children possibly on the way soon and hence my wife would not want to be in that type of environment – she would be looking for something where she could work less hours and not be so bothered about the money.

Author: Jonathan Fagan MIRP MAC Cert RP LLM Solicitor (non-practising) – Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment ( – save time, skip the legal job boards and register with us!  Jonathan Fagan is a specialist legal recruitment consultant, author of the Complete Guide to Writing a Legal CV and the Guide to Interviews for Lawyers. He has recruited for law firms across the UK and overseas in all shapes and sizes. If you have any questions that we have not covered above, please email us at

Jonathan Fagan

Jonathan Fagan LLM FIRP is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. He has been recruiting solicitors and legal support staff for law firms and in house legal departments for over 20 years and handles roles from junior fee earners through to partners and law firm sales/purchases. A non-practising solicitor on the Roll since 2000, he is also the author of a number of legal career books, which are available at You can contact Jonathan at