How to Answer Interview Questions About Availability to Work
Published January 27, 2023
The purpose of interviews is to ensure a candidate is fit for the job. The evaluator may ask questions relating to your skills, to which you must provide an optimistic answer. For example, if they ask how well you can talk through the phone, answering “Very well” is much better than answering “Not so much.”
In other words, interview questions tend to have a “right” answer — one that the interviewer wants to hear. For these questions, an optimistic answer is often the right call, as dishonest as it may be.
However, there are questions that, despite there clearly being a right answer, are something you must answer with pure honesty. A prime example of this are questions about your availability to work.
What Are Interview Questions About Availability to Work?
Interview questions about your availability to work are questions aimed at finding out whether you can commit yourself to the job. Some are simple enough that you only need to answer yes or no:
- Are you able to work different shifts?
- Would you be willing to take work-related trips or travels if needed?
- Are you willing to work on weekends or overtime if necessary?
- Can you work on receiving a call during a day off?
- Are you okay with
Some are so subtle you wouldn’t even know it’s about availability to work:
- Do you have other commitments, and can you tell me about them?
- What’s your current schedule prior to your application?
- Have you taken work trips before?
- Have you worked night shifts before?
And some are cookie-cutter that you can answer without putting in as much thought:
- How many hours can you work per day?
- How many hours can you commit to the job per week?
- What are your ideal work hours?
When an interviewer asks these questions, they’re typically looking forward to an optimistic answer, but that doesn’t mean that’s the answer you should give.
What Should You Answer?
The answer will obviously depend on the question, whether it’s a yes-no question or a question that requires a paragraph’s worth of answer. Either way, the possible answers to these kinds of questions would be that you’re always available, not at all, or something in-between. So, what should you answer?
Ideally, you want to answer honestly.
Saying you’re available for this many hours and this many days per week when you’re clearly not would only hurt you in the long run. Unlike soft or hard skills, you cannot obtain more time very easily.
So, in short, be flexible but also reasonable.
Tips for Answering Interview Questions About Availability to Work
Apart from thinking of the perfect answer for interview questions, there are many other things or tips you need to do and not do when asked about your availability to work. Here are some of those tips:
- Don’t negotiate the work hours. The position likely already has a set schedule, so there shouldn’t be any room for negotiation. Trying to negotiate would only ruin your chances.
- Don’t change your mind. A change of mind during the interview would imply that you’re not certain whether you can commit to the work hours you previously agreed to. And, of course, that can give a bad impression to the interviewer and reduce your chances of landing the job.
- Research the company. There are times when you’re not sure how to answer a question because you lack information about the company. For example, if they ask whether you’re willing to work overtime if needed, you may take a while to answer because you’re not sure if they offer overtime pay. If you research the company beforehand, however, you can answer more easily.
- Don’t answer too optimistically. Even if you’re available most of the time and you have no other commitments, it’s not a good idea to answer too optimistically. For instance, even if you’re willing to work on holidays, it doesn’t mean you should say yes immediately when asked about it. Saying yes to all questions about your availability to work may come across as desperate.
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About The Author
Lenard Arceo is an experienced writer who enjoys learning to coding as a hobby. He has spent many years blogging about a vast array of topics and has helped many reputable websites grow their audience over the years.