The interview is going well. You would love to land this job. Suddenly the interviewer asks if you are willing to work late hours.

Late hours?! How late is late? Is this expected?

All of a sudden you are wondering if this really is the job for you.

Luke Skywalker and Chewbacca sitting in the Millenium Falcon. Luke says,

Understanding Their Expectations

If you have not done so already, ask:

"What are the scheduling expectations for this position?"

  • Make sure you can meet their expectations.

  • Ask about the company culture. Is working late hours the norm?

  • If you are unable or unwilling to work later, now is the time to discuss this .

Two people sitting at a table facing each other Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

What Not To Say

Skip negative talk about working late hours, especially if it's the norm.

Genie from the movie, Aladdin, zipping his mouth

Avoid any response that implies that working late may signify inefficiencies or laziness.

To-Do List and character is crossing off the word,

Try to avoid stating a specific amount of hours that you will work per week.

Seth Meyers is counting on his fingers

What To Emphasize

  1. Remember to stay positive — show that you are ready and prepared to do your best.

  2. Highlight your productivity — give an example of how you get things done efficiently.

  3. Emphasize your time management skills — highlight how you schedule your time well.

  4. Willingness to do what needs to be done — make them feel that you are the best candidate and will step up when needed.

Actress dressed up and talking to interviewer about working hard

How To Answer

For most positions, you could say:

"I understand that this job may require extra work hours as projects come in and deadlines approach. I believe in working collaboratively and when my colleagues need me to put in the extra time, I will gladly stepup."

Flaticon Icon

If you are applying for a retail position, you could say:

"In retail, I anticipate working over 40 hours per week, especially around the holidays. That said, that comes with some limits as I do value my work-life balance. Could you share with me the expectations for this role?"

Flaticon Icon


If an interviewer is asking if you can work late hours, what might they be trying to learn about you?

Take Action

Remember to stay positive. Think about the best work-life balance for you.

Good luck with your interview. You got this!

A man looking into the mirror saying,


Your feedback matters to us.

This Byte helped me better understand the topic.

Get support to take action on this Byte