We disuss our top tips on how to consider returning to work based on our extensive experience with companies and candidates. We really hope are insights help you!

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Our Top Tips on Seeking Flexible Work

Justin: Good afternoon. Justin O’Keeffe from Talent Force Improvements. I’m here with

Julie: Julie Bond

Justin: and I’ll continue our mission to help parents who are returning to work or parents who are looking for perhaps somewhat more family friendly and/or flexible roles. Today we’re going to be talking about the observations and what we’ve seen with candidates and employers saying over the last few months about the return to work process and ask some of the questions we would suggest candidates maybe consider as they look to start that journey. So Julie, what are the main things you’ve seen and main challenges you’ve seen perhaps for parents who are perhaps returning to work or perhaps reconsidering their full time positions and perhaps looking for something a little more flexible?

Julie: Okay, well I think that you need to be clear on your availability. So some people choose to work five mornings a week when the children are in primary school or some people prefer two or three days a week because they may have another reason for working flexibly. It’s not always because they have children or young children. They need to be clear about what they’re going to do if it is children, what they want to do on sick children days. So a few parents I’ve spoken to who have got to use the creche or do have a back up such as grandparents and that’s quite important. When you go in to talk to an employer, you don’t want to sound a bit vague on that.

Justin: So a little of availability. Now what about the question of location? What have we seen people willing to consider or maybe consider late in the process?

Julie: Okay, well location is interesting. When it’s flexible, sometimes some of the locations that are pretty difficult to get to in the rush hour become a little bit easier if you’re going in for 930or if you’re leaving at sort of half two. So mostly I find people don’t want to be traveling more than half an hour, especially when they’re only in for half a day, but again, I have people that are actually really up for quite a long commute, even on the M50 particularly if it’s not in the rush hour.

Justin: Okay, so a half hour, 20-30 km radius around your location.

Julie: But again, that’s important for us to know where you’re prepared to go to because some people are a little bit open, but then when you actually present them with a job they go “oh no, I don’t want to go there”.

Justin: We also speak to candidates who are trying to balance the trilogy of career progression, salary and flexibility. How important is career progression to someone who has 20 years experience? How much would they consider perhaps for options?

Julie: Okay, well most of the people that we are talking to at the moment who are looking for a flexible role and are actually willing to give up any formal career progression for the period of doing that flexible role, that’s the whole point, that they want to be able to keep their hand in and be able to not lose all of their technical skills, etc, but not actually be looking for a promotion or be willing to work those long hours. There’s quite a lot of people in flexible roles who actually end up working full time when you add in what they have to do. So a lot of our people don’t actually want to do that. They want to go in, do the job, go home. There are some that do still want to look for progression and it’s important for them to be clear. Do they really want to do flexible or should they really be sticking with full time because you’re not really going to progress hugely in the time that you’re doing flexible. Usually anyway.

Justin: Okay, because it doesn’t fit a traditional career path or trajectory. The question of salary and benefits tends to come up. We even see a lot of people who are perhaps working in the IFSC in the multi-national sector who are extremely well paid. How does that manifest itself in the interview and the process?

Julie: Well, I think most people are quite realistic about the salaries that are out there. If in return for a bad location and easier location in return for flexibility and in return for work balance and not to miss important years if your children are very young. People are actually quite open to taking a drop in salary. Again I’m finding some of them are on quite nice benefits in their full time roles. They need to think about losing those because they don’t always come with the flexible salary.

Justin: The challenge being that many firms that we work with will be smaller SMEs

Julie: Who wouldn’t have the formal pension, health care type things. You may have to pick those up yourself for a few years, but a lot of people are willing to do that in return for all the other things.

Justin: Okay, so thank you Julie for your insights. Absolutely valuable. We really appreciate it. We hope this has been a benefit to you. We’re always looking to speak to candidates and employers. So feel free to give us a call at 019081514. You can email me at Justin@TalentForce.ie or you can email Julie at

Julie: Julie@TalentForce.ie.

Justin: Thanks so much for your time. Take care. Bye bye.

Julie: Thanks. Bye.


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