Job Interview Question & Answer: Is There Anything That Will Prevent You From Working?
Reason Interviewers Ask
Companies expect workers to be present and capable of working the necessary hours. When interviewers ask about your availability and time conflicts, they want to know if you’ll be able to show up and focus on work. They also need to verify that you won’t have personal obligations that interfere with scheduling.
Best Way to Respond
First and foremost, always answer honestly when hiring managers ask if you have other duties that might prevent you from working. If your schedule is open, this is a fairly easy question. However, most companies understanding that employees will likely have responsibilities outside of work. Consider these factors as you develop your response:
- Are you in school? If so, is your schedule flexible?
- Do you have limited availability because you’re a minor?
- If you’re a parent, do you have childcare available?
- Will you be working more than one job? If so, which employer will you prioritize in scheduling?
The key to successfully answering this interview question is to show the supervisor that you are willing and able to work when needed. Be upfront about your obligations, show them that you’re aware of the required hours, and briefly explain your commitment to fulfilling the position.
Answers to Avoid
Don’t make demands regarding scheduling and hours, as this can make you seem difficult. Also, employers anticipate occasional disruptions like doctor appointments or car issues, so there’s no need to bring these up. Finally, don’t lie to the interviewer. If they hire you, managers will find out sooner than later that you mislead them.
Suggestions for How to Answer “Do You Have Any Priorities That Conflict with this Job?”
It’s always best to come prepared to answer questions about your availability and outside responsibilities. Check out these examples to help you get ready for your interview:
Sample Answer 1 – Night Bartender
“My schedule is a big part of why I want to work here. I’m a student at the local university, and all of my classes are in the morning and early afternoon. This leaves me completely open in the evenings, especially on the weekends. While I do have outside responsibilities, there is no conflict with my availability when you need me the most.”
Sample Answer 2 – Truck Driver
“Part of why I chose to be a truck driver is because I enjoy the long stretches of travel. As long as I’m home every few weeks to check in on my mother, who lives in assisted living, I’m completely free to take the longer jobs your clients require.”
Sample Answer 3 – Department Store Sales Associate
“I know that this role requires open availability since the store needs coverage for the morning, afternoon, and evening shifts. I also work part-time as an online tutor, but I can choose when to schedule with my students, and I only have to provide them with a few days of notice, so I can always tailor my session times around the company’s needs.”
Understand Your Rights
While it’s perfectly reasonable for an employer to ask if you have any responsibilities that might prevent you from working your scheduled hours, some availability questions are inappropriate. For instance, interviewers should not ask specifically about childcare or religious observance as these questions can be considered discriminatory.