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Steeple Aston

9-2-3 is a recruitment agency that specialises in placing high quality candidates into jobs with hours that fit in around the school run.



Case studies and thoughts on flexible working today.


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You’ve aced your CV and now it’s time to prepare for your interview!

Helen Wright

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Remember, this is your opportunity to shout about YOU!

Here are some of the top tips that the ladies at 9-2-3 have put together based on client and candidate feedback and of course, their own professional opinion. 

Go prepared with questions to ask them about the role, not just questions that you think the prospective employer would like you to ask them but burning questions that are important to you in a new role. Candidates sometimes forget that the interview is just as much for you as it is for them and it's so important to find out everything you want to know so you can judge whether it's the right job or not.

Turn up in plenty of time – don’t create a bad impression on your first meeting!

When introducing yourself, ask them how they see the role working and what they want before you go into full interview question mode - this helps you to tailor your responses to the questions from the start.

BE FULLY AWARE of EVERYTHING on your CV including dates/time at each role. 

Be able to relate each/as many of your roles/responsibilities to the one you are applying for at your interview – it’s always great to be able to demonstrate experience and to pull examples from your CV – don’t assume they will know your CV inside out – they might be seeing A LOT of candidates!

Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not – you want a job that suits YOU.

As nervous as you may feel, remember you are interviewing them too – they need to show you why you want to work for them. Cultural fit is so important, if you’re not happy at work it doesn’t matter how good the role is. If it then doesn’t work out it wasn’t meant to be. If possible try to get a feel for the culture before you go and dress accordingly – (superhero capes optional!)

If you’re returning to workplace after a career break and are struggling to remember ‘professional’ examples then try and prepare a few current examples e.g. During 4 years on the school PTA, I’ve honed my relationship building skills,  had lots of experience managing suppliers and learnt how to secure sponsors…

Honesty! Especially when going for flexible roles – you need to show you want to work and being too demanding isn’t always going to be welcomed well by the employer but equally over promising to get a job isn’t going to be helpful to anyone in the future. If you are asking for flex you need to show how you can make the role work in the hours you are suggesting.

Thinking like you have the role already and talking about how you will achieve the targets, job spec puts in their mind that you are capable of what they want you to do – they will be able to envisage you doing it.

Pick out top related achievements to go through during the interview that you know will impress them on a personal and professional level - this will give them a really good overview into you as a person and also demonstrate your professional skills too!

Close the interview - this is especially important if you are going for a sales role but good advice for any interview. You close the interview by saying something along the lines of, "thank you for your time today, can I just ask, is there anything that you are unsure of that I haven't demonstrated in the interview and that would stop me from being put forward to the next stage?" This is now the employers opportunity to highlight any concerns then you can address them there and then so there is no reason for you to be not put through to the next stage of the process.

…..And most importantly…..RELAX!

Introducing Maddie!

Helen Wright

Maddie began working for the 9-2-3 team a few months ago now, she’s a wonderful new addition to the company, has a keen eye for business development and is known to make a wicked batch of cupcakes…!

Here’s a little bit more about Maddie!


Flexible working is keeping me sane.

My first job after getting my business administration degree from Cardiff University was on a graduate scheme at Abbott Laboratories.

This involved 18 months in sales, and 18 months in a marketing role. I realised that sales was my bag and my career consisted of working my way up to Executive sales position. After having my first child I went back on 4 days, but still had to hit all the same targets as my colleagues.

I was dropping my daughter with the childminder at 7am, picking her up at 6pm and then still working to 11pm when she went to bed. The logistics of going away on a 3 day sales conference (which happened every 3/4 months) was a nightmare, with no family living nearby we were paying through the nose for childcare.

I felt I was failing as a mum and as an employee and was so miserable.

I loved my job, but when my daughter took her first steps at the childminders, I decided I was missing out on so much. I also suffered a family tragedy which really puts life in perspective. All of these elements combined in me deciding to take a career break, and we leapt at the chance of moving to Florida with my husband’s job.

I had no choice but to embrace the lifestyle of a stay at home mum, and now had a 6 month old and 2 year old.

We had a fabulous 4 years in the States, and I loved being around for my family. We returned to the UK and both kids were in school. I wanted to get back into work - but literally couldn't find anything which meant that I could still be there for school drop off and pick up.

Desperate to do anything I got a job at the Oxfordshire museum in the café, I loved being with customers again - but it wasn't really challenging me in anyway. Then a friend recommended 9-2-3, so I signed up and Helen got a me a fantastic job with a fantastic company where I was involved in lead generation and market research for technology companies. I could literally do the hours when I wanted.

This grew my confidence considerably, and I soon realised those old selling skills had not vanished after watching too much Peppa Pig! It also gave me hope that there was more of a movement to find flexibility in the workplace.

Unfortunately, the market research role ended, but Helen then contacted me to come and work for her. I am absolutely loving being involved with people, candidates and clients and helping people with something I feel so passionate about.

It’s great seeing more businesses working to attract the best talent for their organisation by choosing to offer flexible working.

I feel like I'm winning at life: being a good mum and achieving something for myself for a great movement.

I certainly feel a lot saner in the workplace all thanks to 9-2-3.

#northernflex - shouting about the love of flex up North with.....

Helen Wright

Sally Hunter, Account Director at Equator, Manchester.


Here’s Sally at Equator Design (who do some really great stuff by the way..), taking part in our #northernflex campaign. The team here LOVE a work/life balance and are really creative about implementing this. Take a read of Sally’s interview here on her fave spots in Manchester and why she loves working at Equator.

1. Tell us a little about you?

Yorkshire born and raised, came to Manchester to study at University and never left. I am one of 3 sisters, 3 of us are triplets and from a very close knit family. I have a husband called Ian and the love of my life, my German Shepard, Foxy! 

2. Your fave spot in Manchester?

My favourite spot in Manchester.... There’s so many amazing ones to choose from! I love Mexican so Luck, Pistol and Burn is a great place for good food and wine and also Mackie Major if there is a big group. Great place with multiple food vendors and great selection of drinks!

3. How would you describe your ideal working week?

My ideal working week would be a mixture of being in the office and at home, working closely with the team and being in front of the client. Client interaction is my favourite part as you get great satisfaction from this when a job is done well.

4. Fave Manchester band/ song?

Oasis 100%, don’t look back in anger!

5. Why does Flexible Working appeal to you? 

As an agency we pride ourselves on a family environment and flexible working appeals to this culture. We have certain incentives of flexible working such as bringing your dog into work, weekly breakfasts and beer Fridays. All of which are a great way to say thank you for all the hard work they have put in!

If you have any questions or would like to get in touch with us at 9-2-3, then do feel free to contact who would love to have a chat with you!