You may have read our Job Search Toolkit or articles in the Exploring Your Options section of our website and concluded that looking for part-time employment is the best option for you. While you’ve already finished one of the hardest steps — i.e., determining what kind of work you’re looking for — this blog post offers helpful tips on how to get there.
Like any job, part-time positions often require at least one interview. But the questions asked during an interview for a part-time job may be a little different than the ones you’d expect to be asked during an interview for a full-time position. The Job Network shares 10 questions you should be prepared to answer if you’re looking for part-time work, as well as ideas for how best to answer them.
“Why do you want to work here?”
By asking this question, the interviewer is trying to assess whether you’re truly enthusiastic about the company/position or simply looking for any job that’s available. Have an answer ready to go that will convince them of the former, by doing some research. Reading the company website ahead of time is a good way to prepare.
“How long were you at your last job?”
This is a way for companies to figure out whether you’ll stick around; it may also lead to questions about why you left your previous position or what your relationship was like with your former employer. Be prepared to explain why you didn’t stay long at your last job, so as to reassure them you’re not a flight risk. If you left that position because of your cancer diagnosis, try responding using a technique we call “The Swivel”! Learn more by clicking here.
“When are you available?”
Your needs and theirs have to align, so be honest. But remember: You don’t have to share the reasons why you might not be able to work certain days or times.
“Would you prefer full-time work if such a position were available?”
This is a tricky question, so you’ll want to be careful. The interviewer may be testing you to get a sense of whether you’ll bail as soon as a full-time job turns up at another company. You can answer by explaining that full-time employment doesn’t work for you/your personal life at this point in time but you may be open to it in the future. Alternatively, you could say that you’re eager to work for this company in whatever way you can.
“Describe your pace.”
Depending on the job and the company, the potential employer may be looking for a speed demon or someone with a steady, reliable pace. Pay attention to whether they use certain words in the job description, such as “fast-paced environment” or “multitasking.” Try to figure out what would fit the company best, but answer honestly.
“What are you looking for in your next job?”
Frame your answer to highlight the overlap between the requirements listed on the job posting and your skill set. And be sure to include what it is about this specific company or position that excites you.
“How do you handle stress/pressure?”
A good way to answer this is to give an example of a time in a previous job when you successfully handled a particularly stressful situation. You might also mention that stress is a good motivator for you, if in fact, that’s true.
“Talk about a situation in which you failed.”
Your answer to this question should demonstrate how you learn from mistakes and failures. Give a specific example and describe what you changed going forward.
“How do you deal with unhappy clients/customers?”
If the job you’re interviewing for involves customer service or client relations, it’s very possible this question may come up. If you have relevant experience, offer some concrete examples that showcase your conflict-resolution skills.
“What are your questions for me?”
Chances are that even in an interview for a part-time job, you will be asked if you have any questions for the interviewer/hiring manager. So be sure to prepare some thoughtful ones. For tips on coming up with questions to ask during an interview, click here.
Also, don’t forget to read the Interviewing section of our website. Or, explore one of our free programs, including our Resume Review service, Professional Development Micro-Grants program or Ask a Career Coach board.