Interviewing

How to Answer ‘What Is Your Availability For Work?’ Interview Question

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When preparing for a job interview, it is important to consider when you will be available to work for the employer. By taking the time to review your schedule conflicts prior to an interview,  you can present yourself as prepared and well-organized. In this article, you can learn why employers ask about work availability, different ways they can address this topic during an interview, and how you should answer this question.

Why do employers ask ‘What is your availability for work?’ during an interview?

Employers ask about your availability for work to help plan out schedules and accommodate staffing needs. It allows the employer to determine if you can fit the needs of the company, and it allows you to express when you could join their team. Answering this effectively will also show an employer that you can communicate your needs in a clear way and are a dependable individual.  

Ways that employers ask ‘What is your availability for work?’ during an interview

Here are some of the different ways that an employer could ask about availability during a job interview:

  • What is your availability?
  • What hours are you available each day?
  • Would you be open to part-time work if it could turn into full-time work in the future?
  • Are there any days or times during the week you know you cannot work?
  • Can you work on weekends?
  • Have you worked night shifts before?
  • Would you be able to complete overtime work when necessary?
  • Are you okay with possibly working early morning hours?
  • What are your ideal working hours?
  • Are there any dates when you know you cannot work within the next month?

Some employers might discuss the subject of availability to work in a preliminary screening while others might wait until the second interview. Since this question is asked in different ways, anticipating the various forms can help you prepare an effective answer.

How to answer ‘What is your availability for work?’

Here are some steps you can follow when preparing to answer ‘What is your availability for work?’: 

1. First, review your schedule before the interview

Make sure you have identified any previously established commitments or reoccurring events that could interfere with your availability. By having an idea of the schedule conflicts and limitations to your availability, you can avoid overbooking work and personal commitments if you get the job. 

2. Second, research the company and its hours

Research the needs of the company before you enter the interview or fill out the information on the application. Look for the typical requirements or schedules of employees who hold positions similar to the one you are applying for and determine if those hours and schedules are appropriate for your needs as well. 

Some companies need people to work after hours and stock shelves for the next day or to clean up the store and prepare floor models for an early opening. Additionally, some seasonal positions will require employees to work longer hours to accommodate the needs of customers or clients. These are important scheduling factors to consider before interviewing with a company.

3. Third, be flexible yet reasonable

When discussing your availability, be sure to focus on the time you are available and be sure you don’t accidentally give wrong information. Express your willingness to commit to a job well done while being honest about any elements of your schedule that are already unchangeable. For example, if you have a commitment on Tuesdays, be clear and indicate that you can work on all other days except for Tuesdays.

Overall, be positive and show flexibility where you can within your schedule and make sure you discuss your availability in a straightforward and honest manner. This will help management create an appropriate schedule for you if you are hired. 

Example answers to use in an interview

 Here are some examples of how to answer the question, ‘What is your availability for work?’:

Example 1: What is your availability?

‘I am currently attending college part-time, so I will be in class on Monday and Wednesday evenings, however, I am otherwise very flexible with my hours.’

Example 2: Would you be able to complete overtime work when necessary?

‘Absolutely. I will put in overtime hours whenever necessary if it means seeing a job through to completion within its original time frame.’

Example 3: Can you work on weekends?

‘I would be open to working on the weekends as my schedule is very flexible on those days, especially in the evenings.

Example 4: Have you worked night shifts before?

‘I did work night shifts in my previous job. At first, I found it challenging, but once I established a routine I got used to it, and actually learned to enjoy the quiet atmosphere. A lot more can be accomplished with less distractions.’

Example 5: Are there any dates when you know you cannot work within the next month?

‘The only dates that I would not be able within the next month would be the twelfth and twenty-sixth. Other than those dates, I have open availability.’

Providing an accurate schedule to prospective employers can help you land the best position for your needs and your employer’s needs as well. Your answer should communicate that you are a good fit for the role but must also show that you value time. Expressing your interests both in helping the vision of the company and in your own quality of life establishes you as an individual focused on quality.