Look for these 5 'green flags' before taking a 4-day workweek job, says hiring expert

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There's never been a better time to try to find a job with a four-day workweek.

The share of companies offering a four-day workweek reached the 10% threshold for the first time last year, according to a recent Payscale report. Global trials tout its benefits for workers and businesses, and lawmakers are trying to make it the new standard.

A majority, 61%, of workers say they'd rather work a condensed workweek, and 33% say they'd even quit their job for one with a shortened week, according to a recent Monster survey.

Vicki Salemi, a career expert at Monster, says people looking for a four-day workweek job should seek out a few green flags during the interview process to suss out whether the company is committed to the benefit, and that they operate in a way that won't burn them out:

Teams are transparent about how they manage their work and stress

Having a long weekend every weekend may seem like a dream, but hiring managers at four-day workweek companies say the experience can be "intense" and that it's "not for everyone."

Salemi recommends asking everyone you interview with, whether they're managers or individual contributors, about how they feel about getting their work done in fewer days. Do people say they regularly work 10-hour days Monday through Thursday? Do people admit it takes a few months to adjust to the new process and level of intensity?

It can also be helpful to ask about the skills and experiences help someone thrive while working a shortened week. For example, leaders at four-day workweek companies recently told CNBC Make It they look for candidates with outstanding initiative, autonomy and adaptability.

People work together to make the shortened workweek a success

Many companies with a four-day workweek may be running it as a trial, or are still within the early years of operating that way. Get a better sense of how far the company is on making progress with this, Salemi says: How long have they had a four-day workweek? What adjustments have they made along the way? If it's still in trial, what factors will leaders consider before making it permanent?

One good sign is if management regularly measures employee feedback through surveys about what is and isn't working with their four-day workweeks.

Some of the biggest ways companies cut down their fifth day are by streamlining communications and getting rid of meetings. Ask questions to get a sense of how people find ways to work together to achieve the same results in fewer days.

The company sets clear expectations around the fifth day off

Ask each person how they use their day off, Salemi says. You might get fun answers about people spending time with family, friends or on hobbies.

Or you might hear about how people are expected to be on call, or that it's an open secret they're still working that fifth day, just without meetings or responding to emails, Salemi says.

Roughly four in 10 people from the Monster survey said they'd rather stick to a traditional five-day week, which Salemi says could be because they're concerned they won't really have that fifth day off. "That tells me there needs to be clear definitions from employers about what their four-day workweek looks like in order to address this hesitancy," Salemi says.

The company has a strong perspective of what flexibility looks like

A shortened workweek is just one component of workplace flexibility. Companies that stand by their commitment to flexibility will offer other benefits, Salemi says, such as remote or hybrid arrangements, non-traditional hours, or supportive caregiving benefits.

Some companies may even operate on a four-day schedule but still allow people to revert back to five if it makes the most sense for them — such as a parent who prefers to work fewer hours each day but more days a week, or a salesperson in the busy period of the year, Salemi says. It could be worth asking if employees are given the option to work five days per week either regularly or during certain cycles of the year.

People seem genuinely happy

Finally, pick up on visual cues during your in-person or video interviews, Salemi says. Do people seem engaged? How do they treat their colleagues?

"When you ask about how their four-day workweek is going, read their body language," Salemi says. "Do they seem happy, or uneasy, or anxious?"

As with any interview, but especially in an environment working on a shorter schedule, gauge whether you feel rushed through the hiring process or if you're being given everyone's full time and attention through your conversations. "That's part of the overall culture," Salemi says.

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Check out: 1 in 3 people would quit for a 4-day workweek job, according to a new report

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