How do you feel about working weekends and night shift? Will you compromise if the deliverables are extremely important and working overnight is the only solution?
TRAP: Blurt out “no way, Mr. interviewer” and you can kiss the job offer goodbye. But what if you have a family and want to work a reasonably normal schedule? Is there a way to get both the job and the schedule you want?
ACCEPTABLE ANSWER: First, if you’re a confirmed workaholic, this question doesn’t require much preparation. Whack it out of the park on the first swing by saying this kind of schedule is just your style. Add that your family understands it. Indeed, they’re happy for you, as they know you get your greatest satisfaction from your work.
If you prefer a more balanced lifestyle, answer this question with another: “What’s the norm for your best people here?” The reason behind asking this question is to understand if the top performers spend long hours in order to achieve the tasks and objectives. Is working overtime the only way to gain prominence in the company? If this is the case, it means there is some problem with the way in which the organization functions. Sometimes it’s unavoidable to complete the project within the deadlines. It shouldn’t, however, happen every time.
If the hours still sound unrealistic for you, ask, “Do you have any top people who perform exceptionally for you, but who also have families and like to get home in time to see them at night?” Chances are this company does, and this associates you with this other “top-performers-who-leave-not-later-than-six” group.
Depending on the answer, be honest about how you would fit into the picture. If all those extra hours make you uncomfortable, say so, but phrase your response positively.
Example: “I love my work and do it exceptionally well. I think the results speak for themselves, especially in … (mention your two or three qualifications of greater interest to the employer. Remember, this is what he wants most, not a workaholic with weak credentials). Not only would I bring these qualities, but I’ve built my whole career on working not just hard, but smart. I think you’ll find me one of the most productive people here.
I do have a family who likes to see me after work and on weekends. They add balance and richness to my life, which in turn helps me be happy and productive at work. If I could handle some of the extra work at home in the evenings or on weekends, that would be ideal. You’d be getting a person of exceptional productivity who meets your needs with strong credentials. And I’d be able to handle some of the heavy workloads at home where I can be under the same roof as my family. Everybody would win.”
Answering how do you feel about working nights and weekends interview question is not difficult if you are clear about your priorities. When it’s urgent, be ready to stretch. But if your professional life starts interfering with your personal life, you know what to do.
What if the interviewer asks you, “How do you feel about working in nights and weekends?” Have you encountered this question before? Are you aware of other important interview questions? We’d love to know in the comments.