The typical questions you might be asked for a part-time job are a little different than the ones you’d expect to be asked for a full-time job. In order to properly prepare yourself for a part-time job interview, start thinking of good answers to the following likely questions.
"Why do you want to work here?"
The interviewer is trying to figure out if you have any enthusiasm about the company or the position, or if you’re just looking for whatever is out there. Have an answer that will convince them of the former by doing a bit of research.
"How long were you at your last job?"
This is a sneaky way of figuring out whether you will stick around or not. It also might lead into questions such as why you left or what your relationship was like with your former employer. Be prepared to answer those, but also to explain—if you weren’t at your last job very long—why. Just make sure they know you’re not a flight risk.
"When are you available?"
Even if they love you, your needs might mismatch, so this question is critical. They have shifts they need covered. You have conflicts that would prevent you from fitting in with what they need. Be honest. And make sure to think about evenings and weekends.
"Would you prefer full-time if a position were available?"
Be careful here. They might be testing you to see whether you might bail the second a full-time gig turns up at another company. In this case, either be honest and explain why full-time doesn’t currently work for you (but you might be open to it in the future). Or explain that you’re eager to work for this company in whatever way you can.
"Describe your pace."
Depending on the job and company, your potential employer might be looking for a speed demon (particularly if the job description says “fast-paced environment” or mentions multitasking or juggling) or they might want someone with a steady, reliable pace. Try to figure out what would fit the company best, but answer honestly. You won’t want to fib about this if you work one way or the other.
"What are you looking for in your next job?"
Say what? Why would you tell them that, when clearly your next job of choice is their job. Basically, your interviewer wants to make sure that your goals match that of their company. Frame your answer to highlight the overlap between the requirements listed on the job posting and your skillset. And be honest. What about this company excites you or epitomizes a value that you hold dear?
"How do you handle stress/pressure?"
Part-time jobs aren’t necessarily part-time stress. Your interviewer is trying to understand your temperament, ability to problem-solve, and grace under fire. For extra credit, give an example of a time when you handled a particularly stressful situation in an old job. Maybe even mention how stress is a good motivator for you and how a fast-paced environment keeps you moving and busy, which you prefer.
"Talk about a situation in which you failed."
No one likes talking about their failures, particularly not at a job interview. But showing how you learn from mistakes and failures is important—even for a part-time employer.
"How do you deal with unhappy clients/customers?"
If your part-time job would involve customer service or client relations of any kind, this question will probably come up. Hopefully you have some relevant experience to draw from with concrete examples. Showcase your conflict resolution skills.
"What are your questions for me?"
Yup. Just like any other job interview, a part-time gig will still ask you if you have any questions for the interviewer, and you’ll still have to come up with some intelligent and thoughtful ones—or risk not being in contention for the job. Reiterate your interest in the position and show that you’ve been thinking about how working there would be and ways that it would be mutually beneficial.
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