When Can You Start

How to Answer the Interview Question: When Can You Start?

Imagine sitting in front of an interviewer and you are asked “when can you start?” Sounds exciting right? Yeah! It’s a question applicants love to hear. Most times, this question is as normal as other interview questions, but for some companies, it’s because they find you a worthy candidate and willing to hire you.

Candidates are frequently asked what date they are accessible to begin work if they are somehow happened to be employed. The most well-known period for beginning another position is one month, that is, 4-weeks, after you have acknowledged the proposition for employment. That is based on the ground that you will need to offer four weeks’ notification to your present boss. However, if you are still under probation, two weeks’ notification may suffice.

This interview question seems like a simple question with a straightforward answer, but, in reality, answering appropriately requires some form of preparation. Taking note of that, let’s see why interviewers ask the interview question: “when can you start?”


Why do interviewers ask?

Different interview questions are asked for different purposes. Inquiring about when an applicant can begin work is a common question during an interview regardless of who the employer intends to hire. So as an applicant, you do not want to get too excited and distracted, so your best option is to tackle this question with care.

The main aim behind this question regardless of the other reasons is to know when you will be available to start work. Some employers only ask this question because they want to hire you and will want you to start as soon as possible

However, many interviewers pay attention to how you approach this question. They can see a weakness in this question especially if you are currently employed. Your response may give them the impression that you cannot wait to leave your current employer and this will send a message to them too in negative way.

In the end, what the employer really wants is an honest answer. If they intend to hire you, they will find a way to operate the organization smoothly until you resume.


How to answer the interview question: when can you start?

By and large, the best reaction is to show that you are willing to begin work straight away. But first

Consider your position

No matter how excited you get about this question, think of your current employer. It will be ethical and professional to say that you will need to notify your current boss of the new job. This will show that you value your work and the relationship you have created at your workplace and will love to end on a good note. The interviewer will be impressed with this kind of behavior.

Think of yourself

There are situations where some employees need some time to cool off from a previous job before moving to the next one. If you are that kind of employee, it will be of the essence to put in your response. Sometimes taking a few days to relieve, revive and relax is not a bad idea.

Say it as it is but be flexible with this response. You don’t want to sound like you are not eager or excited about the job.

Return the question

Returning a question with a question is something you should not do during an interview. But for every rule, there are exceptions and this is one of them.

If the interviewer asks “when can you start?” you can turn the inquiry around and ask the interviewer or hiring manager when they would like you to begin. This shows some level of confidence. Interestingly, you may find the start date more convenient than you thought.


What to Avoid

Going too deep

It is of essence that you are honest with your response but don’t say everything. The interviewer is usually not interested in hearing you have a blind date in the coming week or anything too personal. Just say you have some activities you have committed to and will start as soon as that is over.

Specific dates

Responding with a specific date is usually not the best option when it comes to this question. So what you should respond with is a time range, like a week or two weeks. If you are not currently employed or have no commitment, you can let the interviewer know you can start sooner.

Being too desperate

Desperation should be avoided especially if you are currently employed. Yes! You have to show some enthusiasm to work at the company but don’t be quick to say you can start that day. Most times the best thing to say is you can start the coming week.

Showing no enthusiasm

On the contrary, being nonchalant in your response may send a message to your potential employer. Acting as if you are not enthusiastic about the job even if you are the most qualified may prevent the employer from offering you the position.


Final Thoughts

As simple as “when can you start?” may sound, you will concur with me that it takes a little planning and some reasoning. You have to consider some factors, pen them down, and see the one that works for you. Most importantly, be honest and straightforward.

Interview Questions

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