How to Answer Interview Questions About Availability

It's best to be straightforward so there's no confusion later on

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One question you might be asked during a job interview is, "What days/hours are you available to work?" Employers often ask this because they want to know how flexible you are.

If you are applying for a shift job, or a part-time job, an employer might ask this question because they want to see if you would be willing to work less popular days and hours (like nights and weekends).

If you are applying for a full-time job, the employer might want to know if you are willing to work hours and days outside of a typical workweek.

When answering this question, you want to be honest about your availability, but also emphasize that you are flexible, within reason. 

Answering Questions about Availability

The way you answer this question varies slightly whether you are applying for a full-time job, or a part-time or shift job.

No matter what kind of job you apply for, be honest about any commitments that are absolutely not flexible. For example, if you have to take your children to work in the morning, or if you cannot work evenings because you take a night class, say so. Do not promise you will be available if you know you will be unavailable.

If you are applying for a full-time job, you want to emphasize that you are willing and able to put in a full workweek and that you can work occasional other hours as needed.

If you are applying for a part-time job, or a shift job, you will want to emphasize your flexibility even more. If there are certain days or hours you simply cannot work, say so. However, emphasize that you are open and flexible about any other days or hours they may need. It will show the employer that you will make your work a priority.

Sample Answers for a Part-Time Job or Shift Job

"I'm available during school hours while my children are at school, 9 am - 3 pm, Monday through Friday. I am also available most weekends, especially during the day." Note: A prospective employer is not legally allowed to ask whether or not you have children, and you're not required to volunteer this information. 

"I'm flexible and available just about any time you need me to work. I am simply looking forward to joining the team and helping whenever I am most needed."

My schedule is flexible, so I am able to take almost any shift you need me to take.

Sample Answers for a Full-Time Job

I am available to work Monday through Friday, and am very flexible about the start and end time on those days. I'm willing to make occasional additional hours work with my schedule.

I really value my weekend time with my family. So I'm more than willing to go above and beyond during the standard work week.

Be wary of an employer who expects you to be available for more than 40 hours a week as a standard practice. And don't be afraid to ask questions about weekend and holiday shifts, and how a potential employer compensates for overtime. You're also entitled to know whether your hours will be set, or whether they'll vary from week to week.