Should Some Employees Be Allowed to Start Work Late?

How Night Owls with Sleep Disorders Survive at Work

How to Explain Your Situation to Prospective Employers

"For a person who (1) is looking for a technical position in the R&D side of a business, and (2) can get into work early enough to have a few hours of overlap with those on a normal schedule, there's no reason to mention the issue to HR at all -- or to say much about it to potential managers right away," says Lemmon. However, he adds that it's important to gauge the organization to ensure that you'll be a good fit.

Here's how Lemmon says candidates at an R&D job interview can handle disclosing information about their delayed sleep needs: "The candidate typically meets with the hiring manager, as well as several members of the team one at a time or in pairs. Ask them when they start work, when they have meetings -- and how often -- and try to understand how they collaborate."

"For the late-shifted job candidate, teams working on problems that tend to require loose collaboration with longer deadlines are better than those requiring tight collaboration with shorter deadlines -- that is, hours or a few days," says Lemmon. "In particular, in software, avoid teams that use 'agile' methods that have 'stand-up' meetings in the morning. If the team seems like a good fit, and you know that the hiring manager you're interviewing with will, in fact, be your manager, then you should bring up your late-shifted sleep schedule with them -- though perhaps minimize it," he adds. "Otherwise, omit it and take your chances with whomever becomes your manager. Why let the hiring manager filter you out if the person you end up working for has a different opinion?"

In Part IV of this series about night owls who suffer from delayed sleep, you’ll meet Julie Peggar, president and chief storyteller at Gaze Ethnographic Consulting who found success by creating her own business on her own terms, keeping hours that meet her biological needs.