According to the Wiktionary, the word "flexible" is defined as "willing or ready to yield to the influence of others; not invincibly rigid or obstinate; tractable; manageable; easy and compliant." According to Abby, being flexible will score you all sorts of points with recruiters and hiring managers, but being too flexible can cause you trouble down the road.
When you are searching for a job, being flexible is key. Is this market, employers are looking for people who can quickly adapt to the changing times and to their changing organization. Here are some ways to demonstrate your flexibility to an employer:
- Most recruiters and hiring managers prefer to schedule "in person" interviews during the normal workday, i.e., between 9 and 5. Make every attempt to work within those confines so as not to inconvenience the people whose approval is essential for your success.
- Given that there are so many competitors for the same positions, try to schedule your interviews as quickly as possible. Postponing your interview because you have other plans during the week increases the chances that someone will beat you to the door.
- When you get to the interview, expect that there will be delays and/or cancellations, especially if you are going to be meeting with multiple people on one day. Expecting that your interviews will start and end on time will cause you to be unnecessarily frustrated and aggravated. Pacing around the reception area will not bode well for you. Bring something industry related to read while you wait. Perhaps you'll find something interesting in there to discuss during your interview.
- Expect that you may be required to interview with as many as 5 or 6 people before you are offered a position. When the call comes asking you to return to the company for a 7th time, accept happily and thank the company for inviting you back in.
While it is important to demonstrate your flexibility, there are times when being too flexible can be to your detriment. Here are some examples:
- If your target company only offers 2 weeks of vacation for the next 5 years, consider whether you will really be happy working for them without much time off. For those of you who enjoy your time off, this may not be the best job for you.
- If you don't feel that the job description is at least 75% interesting to you, you may want to wait for a better match. Not loving your job or worse yet, being bored with it, may cause you to want to start looking again, and that won't be much fun.
- We all have a "little voice" in our heads that helps us decide what is right for us and what isn't. If your little voice tells you that you don't have chemistry with your prospective boss, or that you don't like the people who would be on your team, or that the company culture doesn't fit with your preferences, you should definitely listen to the voice. Making a bad choice is worse than choosing wrong. You have much less time to look for a job when you're working in the wrong job. Take the time now to find the RIGHT job, not just *A* job.
Absolutely Abby’s Advice:
By now you should have created a list of the things you're looking for in a new job, in a new company, and in a new boss. Review that list after every interview to determine if the position meets a majority of your requirements. Then, proceed full speed ahead while being a flexible candidate along the way. Follow these two steps and everyone will win, especially you!