How Do You Discuss Starting Time when You Get a Job Offer

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Rose
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How Do You Discuss Starting Time when You Get a Job Offer

Post by Rose » Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:40 am

I am surprised to see the variability of starting and exit time from this thread
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=240906&newpost=3772343

For those who start their time in unusual starting time (say before 7 am or after 8:30am) or exit early before 4:30pm, how do you go about to discuss or get agreement about this when you start a job in a new company and just get job offer? (It's easier when you are in the company already and can ask fellow employees, but I couldn't imagine introducing starting time as a negotiation item during job offer stage after salary is agreed .)

moneywise3
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Re: How Do You Discuss Starting Time when You Get a Job Offer

Post by moneywise3 » Fri Feb 09, 2018 4:04 am

Be conservative. Start with 8-5. Understand the company culture first. Gauge how much they'd be flexible for you. Then ask for something reasonable. Don't go in as a special case.

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Re: How Do You Discuss Starting Time when You Get a Job Offer

Post by AlohaJoe » Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:20 am

Every interview I've ever had had a "do you have any questions for me" section.

I ask there.

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Re: How Do You Discuss Starting Time when You Get a Job Offer

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:30 am

I was asked in an interview what hours I work. I said 8-5. Later, the company came up with a new policy that everyone who is professional in the industry works an extra hour per day for no extra pay (salary). I've been in the industry for over 30 years so know that's BS. Citing my interview question, I worked my normal hours but management got their panties in a bunch. This was the kind of place where they didn't care if you were doing nothing. So long as you had your butt in your seat, they were happy.
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Re: How Do You Discuss Starting Time when You Get a Job Offer

Post by 28fe6 » Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:41 am

In my industry, engineers work what I call "0th shift". We always work and are always available to support production. Starting time in the morning is whatever I decide works for me and for the job. My good judgement as to starting time is just one area of many where I am expected to have good judgement and make decisions to be effective. I haven't worked a job where somebody else decided my start time since I worked retail in college... hourly.

Normally I arrive at 8 because that works with my family's schedule, but sometimes I come in late. Sometimes I come in early. Sometimes I am traveling. Sometimes I work late or work weekends. Sometimes I don't come in at all. Flexibility is a good thing as long and the flexibility extends in both directions.

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Re: How Do You Discuss Starting Time when You Get a Job Offer

Post by investingdad » Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:56 am

I'm an engineer and I have things to do and deadlines to meet.

As long as those things are being done and I'm in the office on some kind of regular basis, my comings and goings are left to my own discretion. Including working from home as I see fit.

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prudent
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Re: How Do You Discuss Starting Time when You Get a Job Offer

Post by prudent » Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:59 am

While acknowledging many places have different policies, let's keep replies focused on how the OP can raise the issue as a new hire.

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Re: How Do You Discuss Starting Time when You Get a Job Offer

Post by VictoriaF » Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:03 am

I recommend not to discuss starting time when you interview and get a job offer, unless you are a recognized expert whom the company is trying to attract. Before you start a job, your main focus should be on providing value to the company or a government organization, and mapping your career.

Once you are in and become familiar with the culture, you can adjust your schedule. Conversely, if a recruiter or a boss had promised you an unusual work schedule, it would have created negative perceptions among your colleagues who don't have these privileges.

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Re: How Do You Discuss Starting Time when You Get a Job Offer

Post by investingdad » Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:12 am

I wouldn't wait until I started to ask.

I'd ask what the normal office hours are during the interview. It's a legit question in my mind.

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Re: How Do You Discuss Starting Time when You Get a Job Offer

Post by N1CKV » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:01 am

Different offices will have different policies. Recognizing that:
In my office it would be appropriate to inquire about the availability of flex schedules during the interview (yes, they are available); however a new hire is not eligible to participate in the flex schedule until after the 6 month probationary period, you would be 8-5. Asking at the end of the interview expresses your interest and at the end of your probationary period you can bring it up with your supervisor who will have access to other employee schedules and can evaluate the availability (based on necessary office coverage) for what you were wanting.
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Watty
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Re: How Do You Discuss Starting Time when You Get a Job Offer

Post by Watty » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:06 am

Expected office hours and the formal or informal "dress code" should be a casual topic early in the interview process to see if you are a good fit for the office culture.

It is not a big deal but you need to just ask what their expectations are and let the conversation go from there. Most likely the person will mention how fixed the times are and if some people work earlier or later hours without you having to ask. I would just phrase it something like, "What hours do most people work?", or "Do most of the men wear a coat and tie(or jeans)?" (Or similar for the ladies)

If there is something like daycare for your kids where you really need to work early or late then I would determine if that is possible early in the process but not actually request it until you have a job offer.

A lot depends on the job but new employees may be expected to work more normal hours at first even if they sometimes allow employees to work other hours.

It also depends on the job but this can also be a plus for the employer so you may be able to put a positive spin on working early or late. I am not a "morning person" so I preferred to work from 9 to 6 which meant that the office had coverage until 6. This was important since I was on the east coast and we dealt with people on the west coast and there was a three hour time difference.

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Re: How Do You Discuss Starting Time when You Get a Job Offer

Post by dbr » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:16 am

prudent wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:59 am
While acknowledging many places have different policies, let's keep replies focused on how the OP can raise the issue as a new hire.
Sorry, but the question to ask is "What is the policy?" Without that it hardly makes sense to try to propose anything in particular. For example at my workplace they started many years ago a flex hours policy that would have fit the needs of almost anyone. The reason I say to ask what is the policy is simply the fact that very likely there is a policy. It is also completely appropriate to ask how much travel there might be and what typical travel hours look like. When I worked in plants from time to time it would be routine to have to be available on site at 7:00AM meaning travel on Sunday before.

After that information is clear, if the person has a personal requirement that is unusual to the point of being a show-stopper, then he would just have to put that forward and the employer can accept it our not. There are job positions associated with shifts that might be a fit, and a person can also ask about work from home arrangements. I can't see why a person that has serious reasons to need an accommodation should not put that on the table. The outcome, of course, is that the job applied for might not be a fit, but employment interviewing is specifically for the purpose of making sure there is a fit. So ask.

The one thing not to do is accept a job and then try to negotiate some accommodation that is a must have and is not going to materialize. A person should also be aware that in many positions one may be expected to be available when one is needed whatever the restrictions of one's personal life.

Also in my workplace we had a booklet for new employees one entry in which was "If Melissa and Bob are at work when you arrive, you are late! Go directly to lunch."

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Re: How Do You Discuss Starting Time when You Get a Job Offer

Post by destinationnc » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:18 am

You need to understand the culture of where you work and if the job has hard or soft start/quit times. If you work somewhere in customer service the expectation is probably going to be a hard requirement - you're like a firefighter that needs to be there regardless if there is work occurring or not. If you were in something project based I would expect your hours are going to flex day to day and you might be working evenings/weekends so it's somewhat ridiculous to define the hours. Managing people does not require you to be there at the same time as your employees are working. Bottom line is if you can prove you can get the work done then the start/stop time should be negotiable. Jealous co-workers seems to be what I find as the biggest obstacle when they don't understand personal circumstances that drive these requests. Make your case and back it up with results.

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Re: How Do You Discuss Starting Time when You Get a Job Offer

Post by dbr » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:22 am

destinationnc wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:18 am
You need to understand the culture of where you work and if the job has hard or soft start/quit times. If you work somewhere in customer service the expectation is probably going to be a hard requirement - you're like a firefighter that needs to be there regardless if there is work occurring or not. If you were in something project based I would expect your hours are going to flex day to day and you might be working evenings/weekends so it's somewhat ridiculous to define the hours. Managing people does not require you to be there at the same time as your employees are working. Bottom line is if you can prove you can get the work done then the start/stop time should be negotiable. Jealous co-workers seems to be what I find as the biggest obstacle when they don't understand personal circumstances that drive these requests. Make your case and back it up with results.
At my company part of the philosophy of flexible work time was making sure there was a core period in each day when people would have to be available for team meetings, etc. while allowing choice at the margins for individual situations. The point that getting the work done is the point rather than when the work is done is valid for many jobs and it is correct that other jobs need to be covered on a reliable schedule. I noticed that some of the people who appeared to be most lax on daily hours also seemed to have a habit of coming in on weekends. Nobody ever faulted them on job performance.

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Re: How Do You Discuss Starting Time when You Get a Job Offer

Post by destinationnc » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:44 am

dbr wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:22 am
destinationnc wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:18 am
You need to understand the culture of where you work and if the job has hard or soft start/quit times. If you work somewhere in customer service the expectation is probably going to be a hard requirement - you're like a firefighter that needs to be there regardless if there is work occurring or not. If you were in something project based I would expect your hours are going to flex day to day and you might be working evenings/weekends so it's somewhat ridiculous to define the hours. Managing people does not require you to be there at the same time as your employees are working. Bottom line is if you can prove you can get the work done then the start/stop time should be negotiable. Jealous co-workers seems to be what I find as the biggest obstacle when they don't understand personal circumstances that drive these requests. Make your case and back it up with results.
At my company part of the philosophy of flexible work time was making sure there was a core period in each day when people would have to be available for team meetings, etc. while allowing choice at the margins for individual situations. The point that getting the work done is the point rather than when the work is done is valid for many jobs and it is correct that other jobs need to be covered on a reliable schedule. I noticed that some of the people who appeared to be most lax on daily hours also seemed to have a habit of coming in on weekends. Nobody ever faulted them on job performance.
I think that's an ideal environment. Treat people like grown ups and empower/trust them to get the job done. Can you share the size of your organization? I'm at a mega-corp so we operate in silos, and mine is about 18,000 so we still have a lot of inconsistency but honestly there is a lot of variation in local cities and job levels so I understand it.

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Re: How Do You Discuss Starting Time when You Get a Job Offer

Post by ThriftyPhD » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:45 am

Rose wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:40 am
how do you go about to discuss or get agreement about this when you start a job in a new company and just get job offer? (It's easier when you are in the company already and can ask fellow employees, but I couldn't imagine introducing starting time as a negotiation item during job offer stage after salary is agreed .)
There are a few aspects. If you NEED to work certain hours, or if certain hours are a big issue for you, then bringing it up early in the interview is important. As mentioned by others, this is to determine if the job is a good fit or not.

If you are very flexible on your preferences, and would accept the offer regardless of specific hour requirements, then asking during first day orientation is the way to go. "What hours do people tend to work, what the expectations for start/end time, are there core hours"

Personally, I knew the general work load culture when I accepted, but on my first day I asked about expected start/end time. That's when I was given some softly defined core hours (mostly when people are expected to be available for meetings).

dbr
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Re: How Do You Discuss Starting Time when You Get a Job Offer

Post by dbr » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:51 am

destinationnc wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:44 am
dbr wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:22 am
destinationnc wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:18 am
You need to understand the culture of where you work and if the job has hard or soft start/quit times. If you work somewhere in customer service the expectation is probably going to be a hard requirement - you're like a firefighter that needs to be there regardless if there is work occurring or not. If you were in something project based I would expect your hours are going to flex day to day and you might be working evenings/weekends so it's somewhat ridiculous to define the hours. Managing people does not require you to be there at the same time as your employees are working. Bottom line is if you can prove you can get the work done then the start/stop time should be negotiable. Jealous co-workers seems to be what I find as the biggest obstacle when they don't understand personal circumstances that drive these requests. Make your case and back it up with results.
At my company part of the philosophy of flexible work time was making sure there was a core period in each day when people would have to be available for team meetings, etc. while allowing choice at the margins for individual situations. The point that getting the work done is the point rather than when the work is done is valid for many jobs and it is correct that other jobs need to be covered on a reliable schedule. I noticed that some of the people who appeared to be most lax on daily hours also seemed to have a habit of coming in on weekends. Nobody ever faulted them on job performance.
I think that's an ideal environment. Treat people like grown ups and empower/trust them to get the job done. Can you share the size of your organization? I'm at a mega-corp so we operate in silos, and mine is about 18,000 so we still have a lot of inconsistency but honestly there is a lot of variation in local cities and job levels so I understand it.
About 100,000 world wide. The condition I am referencing is for an R&D function and would not apply in most of a manufacturing facility or in, for example, a customer service function. I am sure the executive suite has its own rules. Hourly workers have hours, and where unions are involved there would be a set of work rules for that. There can also be quite different customs in different international locations, including even beer in the lunchroom cooler in some countries.

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Re: How Do You Discuss Starting Time when You Get a Job Offer

Post by Yiewsley » Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:04 pm

If they don't tell you during the interview, then a couple of ways you could ask:

- What is a typical day like? Indirect, but you can ask a follow up question if it still doesn't come up.
- What are the core hours? Direct, but implies you are interested in a non-standard schedule.

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Re: How Do You Discuss Starting Time when You Get a Job Offer

Post by Jon H » Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:16 pm

In some places (Washington, DC comes to mind) where the commute can dictate your work availability, some work places have flex time. You can certainly ask about it. Or bring it up with the HR folks, they often know.
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Re: How Do You Discuss Starting Time when You Get a Job Offer

Post by JuniorBH » Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:35 pm

dbr wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:22 am
At my company part of the philosophy of flexible work time was making sure there was a core period in each day when people would have to be available for team meetings, etc. while allowing choice at the margins for individual situations. The point that getting the work done is the point rather than when the work is done is valid for many jobs and it is correct that other jobs need to be covered on a reliable schedule. I noticed that some of the people who appeared to be most lax on daily hours also seemed to have a habit of coming in on weekends. Nobody ever faulted them on job performance.
This is similar to what we have; everyone is generally expected to be online/available from 9:30am to 4:30pm. Outside of those times, it can vary a bit, but as long as the job gets done, no one is worried about face time.

It might help to understand the reason for discussing the start time. Is there something that will require you to work "non-standard" hours, such as having to leave early to pick up a child? If so, that's something I would discuss earlier in the process as it can be a deal breaker. Conversely, if you'd simply prefer to work 9:30 - 6:30, but coworkers generally work 8-5, I'd probably start by working on a similar schedule to others and then broach the topic once you have some longevity.

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Re: How Do You Discuss Starting Time when You Get a Job Offer

Post by HomerJ » Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:39 pm

moneywise3 wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 4:04 am
Be conservative. Start with 8-5. Understand the company culture first. Gauge how much they'd be flexible for you. Then ask for something reasonable. Don't go in as a special case.
I agree with this. One downfall of a new job is you are starting over. You need to prove yourself again before you can ask for special treatment.

You might be able to ask about 7-4 or 9-6 in the interview but only if you absolutely NEED those hours. If it's just what you prefer, too bad, start with 8-5, and ask to change later.

You can ask how they handle flex-time at the company during an interview, if working from home occasionally is possible, etc. But I wouldn't go too deep into it.
Last edited by HomerJ on Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: How Do You Discuss Starting Time when You Get a Job Offer

Post by Epsilon Delta » Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:40 pm

At the very least after you accept you should ask where and when you are expected to show up. It's amazing how many employers won't mention this without asking. If they want clairvoyance they should put it in the job description.

A couple of times this has been at a different location and a different time than my regular hours, since the new employee orientation was scheduled around factory shifts and not the office.

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Re: How Do You Discuss Starting Time when You Get a Job Offer

Post by bogleblitz » Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:52 pm

I'm in software engineering department. I worked at 4 different places over 10 years. I have never talked about starting time or leaving time with my bosses. My bosses never mentioned them.

Work time was always assumed. I have seen people come in at 11am, take 2 hours lunches, leave at 4pm. Those people never get fired. So I guess software development is alittle more relaxed.

I would suggest not talking about start time.

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Re: How Do You Discuss Starting Time when You Get a Job Offer

Post by Tamarind » Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:12 pm

investingdad wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:12 am
I wouldn't wait until I started to ask.

I'd ask what the normal office hours are during the interview. It's a legit question in my mind.
This is how I do it. I function better with a later day on both start and end. This phrasing makes it about office norms. If you don't get a huffy response, then you can follow up with a question about flexibility.

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Re: How Do You Discuss Starting Time when You Get a Job Offer

Post by miamivice » Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:58 pm

From my perspective, I don't consider start times and quitting times to be something that can be negotiated.

Most hourly positions are mandated by the boss and folks start and stop at the end of scheduled shifs. You start as a group (if you work as a group) or as an individual at the scheduled start time, and leave at the scheduled stop time with breaks and meals. The boss can't have 8 out of 9 people on the crew start at 7:00 AM and the 9th guy shows up at 10:00AM because he asked for it during an interview.

The salaried professional positions I am familiar with vary wildly. In a lot of places, flex time is offered to all employees because the nature of the works allows folks to come/go at different times. Other places your schedule is determined based on when the customer needs you available (sales positions, for example), or when the courts are open (legal positions), or when the hourly staff need you (managerial positions, manufacturing support, etc). If you work with a K12 school your hours are set by the hours the school is open, etc, etc.

It's fine to ask about work hours when interviewing, but I wouldn't expect the start time to be a negotiable item. Honestly I don't think any exemption from the policies and procedures of the workplace would be negotiable.

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Re: How Do You Discuss Starting Time when You Get a Job Offer

Post by flamesabers » Fri Feb 09, 2018 3:08 pm

I think it really depends on your job and what type of company you're working for. More often then not, work times will be specified in the job advertisement. If it isn't stated outright in the job advertisement, I would say consider the company's hours of business. If the company is open 24/7, then you sometimes might have to work the weekend and/or odd hours. If the company is open 9-5, Monday thru Friday, that's probably what your hours are going to be if you're applying for a full-time position.

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Re: How Do You Discuss Starting Time when You Get a Job Offer

Post by michaeljc70 » Fri Feb 09, 2018 3:10 pm

Rose wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:40 am
I am surprised to see the variability of starting and exit time from this thread
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=240906&newpost=3772343

For those who start their time in unusual starting time (say before 7 am or after 8:30am) or exit early before 4:30pm, how do you go about to discuss or get agreement about this when you start a job in a new company and just get job offer? (It's easier when you are in the company already and can ask fellow employees, but I couldn't imagine introducing starting time as a negotiation item during job offer stage after salary is agreed .)
I would only discuss it during the interviewing process or before accepting a job if I was unable to start between 7-8:30 am. Like if you had to get your kids to school and couldn't start until 9 or something like that.

If you are already in a job, I would watch what most people do, particularly your boss. It also depends on the culture and people. In some companies/areas, people think getting there is very important and makes a good impression. Others (myself included) are more concerned about their effectiveness and what they accomplish rather than when they start their day.

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Re: How Do You Discuss Starting Time when You Get a Job Offer

Post by dcabler » Fri Feb 09, 2018 3:21 pm

I have usually waited until I had an offer in hand before bringing it up. Then I discuss it directly with the hiring manager, not HR or the recruiter.

And I ask the question as part of just a general conversation with an example being: "what's the the range of times people are in the office here"? In my field, I usually get an answer like "People here come in anywhere between 7 and 9 and might leave anywhere between 4 and 7. Because of traffic, some people skew their hours one way or another. Mainly we're most interested in you getting your work done, but we would ask that people be available in the core hours of the day for meetings, etc. And during crunch time, you might see people putting in more hours, but they usually work it out with their boss to take some extra time off after that."

Twice in my 30+ year career, we've done some stupid things.
1. Company was having financial issues. For non-hourly, exempt employees, if you were on a so-called "strategic project", you have to put in 44 hours a week. And 4 of those hours must be on Saturday. For that you kept your regular salary. If you weren't on a strategic project, then you only worked M-Th and got a 15% pay cut. You can guess what happened. People who had been putting in the extra time and effort every day of the week, suddenly cut their time down to exactly 8 hours each weekday and exactly 4 hours on Saturday. Productivity went way down. That lasted only 4 weeks, then the company went back to regular 5 day weeks and everybody got a 10% pay cut. Times got better, pay was restored, raises happened and we got bonuses to help make up for the lost pay. They never tried that again.
2. Bad boss with an inability to create and stick to a plan decided that everybody had to be in the office by 8. Now these are all non-hourly exempt engineers. People were driving to work from all over town and had skewed their hours to avoid traffic. That lasted a couple of weeks until Mr. short attention span forgot about the dictate. :P

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Re: How Do You Discuss Starting Time when You Get a Job Offer

Post by deikel » Fri Feb 09, 2018 4:07 pm

My first question would be why is this important for you ?

If you can not reasonably start before a certain time, than you should absolutely ask and make this clear before you sign the line (medical reason, family or what have you).

If this is really a question of - do I have to work overtime all the time, than I would ask what the current typical workload over the contractual 40 h/week is and if it is OK to do that in the evening, at night or in the morning - the answer to that will tell you something - both about time in the company as well as current overtime load.

Otherwise you don't ask and wait for the contract and assume its 8-5
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Re: How Do You Discuss Starting Time when You Get a Job Offer

Post by outback2015boston » Sat Feb 10, 2018 1:32 pm

If start and end time are important, I would ask upfront because you will only be starting off on the wrong foot if you accept a job and then say "I can only work x-y hours"

If you are interested in opportunities, new projects, learning, and advancement, being in the office when your supervisor is around can be a great investment. I have seen senior folks engage employees who are around just because they are there. It might just be light conversation about a client meeting or could be more in depth "I have this issue...can you help."

Of course, union and customer service or retail job hours are dictated on open hours.

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