Photo by Brooke Cagle.

Why Flexible Working Is At The Heart Of Recruitment

9th Mar 2022

Traditional hiring is a thing of the past. Today’s candidates want jobs in flexible companies they admire, with a flexible working environment that suits their individual lifestyles. The recruitment process is adapting fast, now more like an end-to-end marketing campaign about the company’s unique culture and flexible working benefits.

Flexible working is the future

The way people work has permanently changed and flexible working is the future. Only a small minority of companies actually need their employees working 9-6 from the office every weekday. So defining and promoting a transparent, flexible working culture at all levels is a key factor in modern recruitment.

Competition for flexible companies to recruit and retain the best talent has never been stronger. Candidates are far more discerning about which businesses they apply to as they actively research and compare flexible companies on the internet. They want to be attracted by an organisation’s transparency and flexible working culture, which is increasingly sold to them on social media. Recruiters are expected to be inclusive and direct about exactly what their flexible company is offering in terms of aspirations and flexible working benefits, and HR is focusing more on marketing and employer branding as a result.

Instant gratification impacts recruitment strategy

Attention span has been dramatically reduced by social media and our new flexible working population is seeking instant gratification when job hunting. With just seconds to sell a company’s distinctive culture and flexible working benefits to candidates on social media, HR teams must ensure their branding and marketing grabs immediate attention. Traditional job platforms don’t work anymore – complicated application forms and multi-stage interview processes just alienate discerning candidates from applying. Flexible companies are responding by using their presence on social media to stand out from the crowd, advertising unique flexible working cultures and exceptional candidate and employee experiences. 

Marketing company culture and flexible working benefits 

When hiring, you have to have more on the table by offering something different from the competition. Define what your flexible working culture is and double-down on what makes your flexible company unique. For example, a tech business with a predominantly geeky workforce might go all-out with a nerdy social media marketing campaign that targets the flexible working needs of the most talented tech geeks. Target your advertising at people who are the right fit, who share your values, who care about your mission. Boast about why the grass is greener with your flexible company, invite candidates to tell you how they want to operate and what their flexible working preferences are. 

Recruiters are promoting flexible working culture

Attracting talented candidates is most successful when recruiters partner with hiring managers to work on their hiring agenda together during intake strategy sessions. Giving candidates a range of accessible flexible working options is key. Make two lists: “must haves” and “nice to haves”. Be open to shaping the flexible working role around the right person if they bring a different lens. Define, develop and promote your vibrant, flexible working culture at every opportunity. When designing the hiring process for your flexible company, ask the following questions: 

  • What problem will your new employee be hired to solve? 
  • What is the profile of your ideal candidate? 
  • Where do they essentially need to be based and is flexible working a possibility?
  • Be transparent and define what flexible working you will offer from the outset.
  • Ensure every applicant gets relevant, personal feedback 
  • Define the unique flexible company culture that you want your employees and applicants to shout about. 
An important point to remember is that “Remote First” is just one type of flexible working; some some employees don’t want to work from home and couldn’t think of anything worse! True flexible working means powering people to choose when and where they work, and be mindful that some teams may wish to be in the office more than others – e.g. sales and marketing teams collaborate more regularly. So create a flexible working framework but don’t over-prescribe it. 
Photo by Alexis Brown.

Respect is part of a flexible working culture

How a flexible company treats its candidates during the hiring process really matters and is a direct reflection of the organisation’s concern for the wellbeing and inclusivity of its flexible working staff. How will you give feedback to applicants who are not successful? They have given time and effort to applying for the role and it is important that flexible companies give helpful, relevant feedback. This not only shows respect, it is also a priceless marketing tool since candidate experience directly builds employer brand. Treat applicants with a personal touch, and they are likely to promote their good experience and your flexible company on social media. It’s a win-win.

Employee feedback around flexible working experiences

Ask employees to post their positive flexible working experiences on social media.

Flexible companies are in competition to stand out as genuinely bringing happiness and fulfilment to their employees. When a workforce shares positive flexible working experiences on social media, it is far more valuable than a £1M promotional video of the organisation. News on social media spreads fast and attracts talent. If a flexible company brand is amazing, people should be fighting to work there. So why are your employees not bragging on social media about your flexible working benefits and how great it is to work for you? Are managers doing you a disservice by promoting flexible working as a privilege and not a right? Are people genuinely happy working in your environment? If not, change it fast! Give time and effort to defining the flexible working culture you want to sell, put it at the heart of your organisation and go all-out to advertise your brand with the backing of your employees. 

Ask for help to promote your flexible company on social media

So your flexible company needs to become known, liked and trusted on social media, but where do you start? Don’t try to reinvent the wheel when promoting your flexible working culture online – ask those already doing it on social media. How are other flexible companies putting modern recruitment processes in place? What marketing strategies are working for them? How will you get eyes on your flexible working posts and company page? Be transparent - say what makes you unique and which flexible working lifestyle benefits you offer from the outset. Don’t wait to tell candidates, or to hear their flexible working preferences at the final interview.