Full-Time vs Part-Time Employment Interview Questions

Job interview
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Interviewing for a part-time job? One of the trickiest interview questions to answer will be, "Would you prefer full-time employment to part-time if a job were available?"

On the one hand, if you are hoping that the job will turn into a full-time position, you want your prospective employer to consider you first should the opportunity arise. On the other hand, you don't want to raise the doubt that should a full-time position present itself, you would walk out of your part-time job.

Be cautious when you respond and keep your answer general, so you're not committing to one type of employment or the other.

Sample Answers for Interview Questions About Full-Time vs Part-Time Employment

  • Right now, my education/family/children prevent me from considering full-time employment, but I wouldn't rule it out at some point in the future.
  • What is important to me is that I enjoy the work and the people I'm working with. I have many interests, and a part-time job allows me the time to pursue them.
  • I am interested in this position at your company because (give the aspects of the job that interest you most). I'm available to work part-time but I'm interested in exploring opportunities at your company.
  • Emphasize your flexibility. You can discuss your availability for different shifts, hours, days of the week, and so on. This is especially valuable if you’re able to offer to cover shifts that other workers might try to avoid, like holidays, nights, or weekends. Stressing your ability to work these shifts can show the interviewer how you could be a good fit for their needs.

If You Would Prefer to Work Full-Time and the Job Is Part-Time

Sometimes, employers post jobs as part-time so that they can assess whether new employees would make a good full-time addition to the team. Do a little research to see whether this is the tactic used by the company.

One good way to find this out is to speak with current employees about their experience getting started at the company. If you’re coming in via referral, for example, you may be able to ask your contact for the inside scoop.

If you’re applying online or off the street, and don’t know anyone at the organization, LinkedIn should be your first stop. You can reach out to employees through connections or simply scan their job experience to see if their title/job descriptions evolved over time. (Note: it’s still best to talk directly to current or former employees, if you can. Many people are happy to share their experience, even with a stranger. After all, you’re offering them a chance to talk about themselves and share their expertise from the position of a company veteran. Don’t be afraid to reach out!)

However you can get this key bit of information, it will help you craft your answer better. Your goal is to show that you fit their immediate needs and that you’ll be a good member of the team over time.

If you discover that the company rarely promotes part-time staff to full-time, you should focus on why you are interested in working for the company in the offered position. You don't want to raise a red flag that you are looking to move on to a full-time position elsewhere.

How to Respond If the Job Might Become Full-Time

  • I am available for part-time work now and I am interested in working for your company. In the coming months, I will be available to work more hours. (You can give a reason if you have one, such as family schedule, education schedule, etc.)
  • My primary concern is the work itself. While I would be open to full-time hours should they become available, I’m happy with part-time because I’m excited to work on this project with this team.

How to Respond If You Only Can Take Part-Time Hours

Do as much research as possible before the interview as to the hours, shifts, and days of the week that the job requires. See if you are a good match considering your availability based on child care, education schedule, commuting logistics, etc. You can use this as the basis for your answer.

  • I'm interested in working in the position for your company because (give reasons) and I am available (give the hours/days/shifts).
  • My background in this area makes me an ideal candidate to hit the ground running. In addition, my location means that I’d be readily available for last-minute shifts, if you find yourself unexpectedly short-handed.
  • While I only have part-time hours available, my last boss joked that hiring me part-time was basically like getting a full-timer for a fraction of the cost. My experience in this industry has made me efficient and good at juggling multiple tasks. I’d love to put these skills to work for your company.