When you apply for a part-time position, a typical job interview question you’ll hear is "Why do you want this part-time job?" You should be prepared with an answer that shows how you’re a good fit for the company and the schedule.
The interviewer asks you this question to determine if you’re serious about working for the company or if you’re simply looking for extra money. While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to make a little extra money, the best answer shows that you will be an asset to the business and that the hours and shifts fit well into your personal situation.
Part-Time Because Your Time Is Limited
If you have limited availability due to school, family or transportation, you may want to include that in your answer. Sometimes an employer is looking for someone who only wants a part-time position and not someone who would resign as soon as a full-time position opens elsewhere. These are possible answers:
- This is exactly the kind of experience I'm looking for, and the part-time hours will work well with my schedule.
- I'm looking for a part-time position, like this one, so I can earn some money to cover my expenses while I'm attending school.
- I'm looking for a job with flexible hours, and with my experience, I have a lot to bring to your company.
- I enjoyed working similar hours at a previous job and I look forward to serving your customers.
Express your interest in working for that particular company, the experience that you bring, and how the hours will accommodate your schedule. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the company prior to the interview, so you appear prepared and well-informed.
Part-Time vs. Full-Time Work
You may have applied for a part-time job when you would prefer a full-time job. In this case, your answer should focus on how you think you can perform well in the position and be of value to the company. You can also emphasize that your schedule is flexible, hinting that you are available for more hours. This is not unwelcome, as some businesses typically hire people part-time and increase their hours once they have performed well.
Do a little research with current employees to see if that is the case with this employer. Their answers can help you craft your answer, similar to these examples:
- I have been interested in working for your company and I have the skills that will fit well with this position.
- I have experience in a similar position previously and enjoyed the work. My schedule is flexible, and this position should match my talents and availability.
- I have been keeping my eye out for openings here. I would like to be part of your team and I'm available to work on a flexible schedule.
- I enjoy working with the public and I like interacting with customers like those who come into your stores.
During the interview, let the employer know that you are interested in long-term employment with the company.
Getting Ready for Your Interview
Now that you’ve seen some potential answers, you can use them to prepare your own so you’ll be ready for your job interview. Be sure to tailor your answers to fit your own situation. Practice saying your answers out loud. A friend or family member may be able to pose as the interviewer and ask this and lots of additional interview questions. This way you’ll be prepared to do well at your interview.
In addition, it may help to get your interview clothes ready early so you’re not rushed–you don’t want to be late for your interview. Even though you’re interviewing for a part-time job, it’s still important to dress in proper attire. For an office job, business attire is best. Men should wear a suit, and women should wear a suit with a knee-length skirt or slacks.
If the part-time job is for a more casual position, you won’t need to wear a suit, but it’s a good idea to dress nicely in business casual clothing, which offers more options such as cotton or twill pants, sweaters or dresses for women, and khaki or cotton pants, long-sleeved shirts, or sweaters for men.
In some cases, wearing jeans and sneakers is acceptable. For example, if the company doesn’t have a dress code. But, it’s always a good idea to dress up and not down, so use your judgment. If you’re not sure what to wear, contact someone at the company and ask about their dress code.
When interviewing for a part-time or a full-time job, make sure to come prepared. This shows a prospective employer that you value the opportunity to meet with them and are genuinely interested in the position. Prior to the interview, learn about the company's history, goals and beliefs, as well as the significance of your role in its future success. Being prepared also means having a professional appearance as well as attitude. You should be well-practiced in answering various types of interview questions along with why a part-time position is important to you.