Be well prepared for these common part-time job interview questions and use our sample interview answer guidelines to help you secure the part-time role you want.
You will be asked typical interview questions about your skills and experience as well as those that explore your availability, flexibility and preferred work schedule. You will also need to be clear as to why you are seeking part-time work rather than a full-time position.
1. Why are you looking for part-time work over full-time employment?
Well-accepted reasons for seeking part-time employment include:
Employers want to know that you genuinely want part-time employment and are not just taking it until something full-time comes along at which point you will leave. Be clear as to why full-time employment does not currently work for you. For example:
“My education/family/community commitments prevent me from undertaking full-time employment at this time."
"I appreciate that part-time work allows me the time to pursue the many interests I have including ..."
"At this time the flexibility of part-time work fits in with what is best for my family ..."
"I am studying XYZ so I am excited about this position and the opportunity it provides for me to gain experience and contribute to the company while pursuing my studies."
2. Why do you want to work here?
Focus on why you are enthusiastic about the job itself, with the part-time aspect being an added bonus. Express your enthusiasm for the company. Good sample interview answers.
3. Why should we hire you?
Provide a concise summary of why you are the right job candidate. You need a good understanding of the job itself to ensure your interview answer is relevant and convincing. Good interview answers.
4. What are your future goals?
The employer is exploring how likely you are to remain in this position and if there is sufficient congruence between your goals and what the company and job can offer you.
It is advisable to answer in general terms about the type of situation you would like to be in. For example:
" I want to have learned and developed within the job and to have increased my skills and my value to the company. My goal is to be the best at whatever level I am working at within the company."
5. What days and hours are you available to work?
This is a critical part-time job interview question as the employer needs to know you are able to meet their work schedule or shift requirements. Be honest about your availability and when you can realistically work. Reassure the employer that you will be completely reliable within those working hours.
"I am fully committed to making a success of this job and have carefully reviewed my schedule and commitments to ensure that I am able to meet all your requirements".
Discuss if you are available to work weekends or evenings.
You can only answer this part-time job interview question properly if you have a clear idea of what is required. Do as much research as possible before your interview to understand the hours, shifts and days you are expected to work. Ask questions to clarify the employer's expectations regarding schedules and hours
6. How flexible are you regarding work schedules?
Discuss your flexibility regarding hours and days of the week. Discuss which hours you are able to work.
If you are applying for a part-time job you may want to emphasize your flexibility. If there are certain days or hours you cannot work, be clear about this. However, indicate that you are open and flexible about any other days or hours they may need. This demonstrates that you will make the job a priority.
"I'm available while my children are at school from 9 am - 3 pm, Monday through Friday. Within those hours, I am quite flexible with regard to the work schedule".
You can expect a couple of behavioral interview questions that explore those key competencies that have been identified for successful job performance.
Many part-time jobs require you to work as part of a team. Expect behavioral interview questions that explore your ability to collaborate and work effectively with others.
"Describe a situation in which you were able to help out a colleague/team member?"
It is important that a part-time employer is adaptable and able to be deal with different demands.
"Tell me about a time you had to adjust quickly to a change in demands or priorities"
3. Able to handle stress
Part-time jobs are not necessarily less stressful but often require the ability to work in a fast-paced environment and under pressure to complete the work within a condensed time frame.
"Describe a time when you had to use your coping skills to handle a stressful situation."
Discuss how pressure is a good motivator for you and how you have successfully handled pressure previously. Sample interview answer
4. Organizational skills
Good planning and organizing skills are key to successful job performance.
"Describe how you schedule and prioritize your work activities."
5. Strong work ethic and high standards
Employers seek hard workers who set high standards for themselves and are committed to the job.
"In your position with XYZ Company, how did you define doing a good job?"
In your interview answer describe how you set yourself high performance standards and take pride in your work. How did you know you had done a good job? Did you receive excellent feedback from your customers, colleagues, managers?
Find out more about managing behavioral interview questions with confidence.
Have your questions ready to ask the interviewer. Asking good and insightful questions during your interview demonstrates your commitment and interest in the job. Here are some questions that are appropriate to ask for part-time positions.
What is the top priority in this position?
How is performance measured in this job?
Is there an opportunity to work full-time in the future?
What does your ideal employee look like?
Be aware that the interviewer cannot ask questions about your family, religion or place of birth amongst others. The interviewer should stick to job-related criteria.
Find out more about handling illegal interview questions
Some candidates make the mistake of thinking that a part-time job requires less interview preparation. Part-time jobs are in high demand and the competition is fierce, be well prepared and stand out from the other job applicants.