Part-time jobs are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to a traditional full-time job. In a variety of industries, from medicine to accounting to graphic design, professionals across the board seem to be turning to part-time schedules. For example, “in 2011, 22% of male doctors and 44% of female doctors worked part time, up from 7% and 29% in 2005,” according to the American Medical Association.
No matter the industry, professionals seek out part-time jobs for a variety of reasons. Some want to spend more time with their children, others are looking for supplemental income or to stay active in retirement, and still others see value in having multiple part-time jobs for variety and experience, rather than one full-time job.
Employers can tap into this pool of well-educated, experienced professionals to fill their part-time jobs. The key is knowing how to hire reliable part-time employees. Here are four tips:
- Choose your part-time jobs carefully. When you’re either creating a part-time job, or deciding to make a full-time job into a part-time job, be sure the role is compatible with a part-time schedule. Are you trying to fit too much responsibility into too few hours each week? Is the job compatible with job sharing so that you might hire two part-time employees? Some jobs are simply better done by one person on a full-time basis, so evaluate the job’s requirements, responsibilities, and how others at your organization would be affected by the part-time role.
- Write specific descriptions. Because the talent pool for part-time jobs varies wildly, from teenagers looking to make some spending money, all the way to PhDs and professionals with years of experience, writing a well-crafted job description is essential to attracting the right applicants. Recruiters looking for the most reliable candidates for their part-time jobs would do well to spend more time in the hiring process. Write a detailed job description that plainly spells out the level and type of experience you seek, and make it obvious that although this is a part-time position, the person hired will still play a critical role at the company.
- Choose where you post the job carefully. Bigger is not always better, and sometimes you don’t want to post your job opening where the most people will see it, but rather where the right people will see it. Try smaller, niche job boards that specialize in industry-specific job listings. Or websites that concentrate on part-time job listings like FlexJobs. These types of sites cater to professionals seeking serious roles with part-time schedules. By using a smaller, more focused site, you’ll attract better-qualified candidates and spend less time sifting through applications, and more time finding the most reliable part-time employee.
- Interview with purpose. Again, the idea of a part-time job often carries less weight or importance than a full-time job, even if the responsibilities and tasks are much the same. Hiring someone to work fewer hours doesn’t mean spending less time carefully interviewing and screening applicants. Ask questions specific to part-time schedules: Why are they looking for a part-time job? Is working part-time something they can see themselves doing long-term? What is their experience working part-time vs. full-time? Interview part-time applicants with as much attention to detail as full-time applicants and you’re likely to spot the best talent for your position.
The best tip for hiring well-qualified, experienced, and reliable part-time employees is to really do the work of recruiting and hiring. Treat part-time hiring as less-than and you’ll wind up with less-than applicants who are just as dedicated to working part-time as you’ve been to hiring them. Treat a part-time hire as an investment, just like a full-time hire, and you’ll find yourself with quality applicants and reliable hires.
Sara Sutton Fell is the CEO and Founder of FlexJobs, the award-winning career website for telecommuting, flexible, freelance, and part-time jobs. FlexJobs lists jobs that offer some kind of flexibility, from entry-level through executive level in over 50 career categories, and its recruiting services are free to employers. Sara and the entire FlexJobs team, which includes mainly part-time staffers, telecommute from their home offices and work flexible schedules year-round. Sara lives and works in Boulder, Colorado with her husband and two sons. Photo Credit (from another Partner) MediaBistro.