How to Answer When Can You Start?

HOW TO ANSWER DATE AVAILABLE FOR WORK

How to Answer ‘When Can You Start’: take charge of the conversation confidently, with a hint of enthusiasm.

Did you know that Interviews are like landmines capable of ruining what can be described as a near-successful attempt at getting one’s dream job? The truth is, words are spoken, and messages communicated during an interview (especially at the tail end) can make or mark your chances of creating a positive and lasting impression on your interviewer’s mind.

For instance, what would you say if you were asked by your recruiter the most anticipated question:?” To be asked this question basically shows two things?

  1. There is an urgent need to have the role filled.
  2. It could be a way to test your ethics as a prospective employee.

This is a mind game recruiter plays often. You will find why I called it a game as you read further in this article. So, you don’t fall for that trick. Or why else will they ask you the question on the spot? You must note that while others are applying for the same role, your answer will greatly impact the outcome of the interview.

One question you need to ask yourself is – “Are you currently employed or not”.

How Can You Then Be Tactical About Your Answer ‘When Can You Start’?

First, you must realize the 3 things being tested here can be skillfully handled by the ability to negotiate whilst protecting how the prospective recruiter would perceive your work ethics, diplomacy, and ability to decide on the spot, which also reveals how coordinated you can be under pressure.

What then would be the best response? Considering any of the following as It applies to you.

  • If you’re available to start immediately:I clearly understand what the role demands, and I strongly believe I’m well suited for this role given my experience and the events that have led up till now, which allows me to start as soon as you need me to.

You might have thought of a different answer but consider that you do not want to sound like you are available at their beck and call or give off a desperation vibe. The important thing is that you take charge of the conversation confidently, with a hint of enthusiasm. That way, what they see is your enthusiasm for the work. However, there is still a thin line between the enthusiasm to take on a new role and appearing needy. This is why you must appear calm and confident even though you know you are in dire need of a Job.

Even when you’re available to start the job earlier, you can yet be professional about how you communicate it by simply stating that you would like to start earlier with good reasons why you would want to. Such as: Getting well acquainted with the company culture, getting to meet the team and learning how you could collaborate with the team, or how you are excited to learn a certain person’s work and how you feel the person can help you in a certain way to be more efficient. That way, you sound more purposeful than desperate.

I had attended an interview once where I was asked if I could start immediately. I showed my excitement to start. I also stated that joining the team is what I’ve been looking forward to and what I had been hoping for. I explained that Joining the team wasn’t circumstantial. I had been looking forward to committing myself to work in the capacity I had applied to improve my skill and build certain competencies for a certain period of years. Of course, I got the job. I trust that you would too.

  • If you are actively employed in another organization, and you Need to Give a Notice at Your Current Workplace:

Organizations usually demand a 2-week notice before starting a new role at another firm. If this is the case, the Interviewer knows you are actively employed in another organization and, at this point, have his senses alert to measure your work ethics, your attitude to work. Just like in any relationship you would want to go into, somehow you want to know about the person’s previous relationship and ask about reasons why it ended, more so, how it ended. You know why? You are concerned if the person may have a pattern you need to be careful of in the relationship, should it happen to be that you eventually date. That said, it is basically, so you don’t appear like a job hopper, or someone who lacks consistency and commitment, or whose only motivation to work is for selfish reasons. This will be carefully looked at if you are interviewing for a social enterprise. Either way, here is what you should do, BE HONEST.

“I am excited about having to start work. However, as I am currently employed, it is only right and fair that I give my notice of resignation and also help in the process of recruiting someone as competent or even more to ensure that the business is not affected by me leaving.”

Any recruiter will find that noble and very ethical. What did you do? You kept your calm and held your ground, and you also showed you cared. 

  • When you need some time off:

Coming from a previous job where you’ve been probably overworked or that you left for reasons which got you mentally or emotionally stressed. It would be best if you had some time to yourself to re-evaluate certain things probably. At this point, you need to show your enthusiasm for the work and that although you may not be available immediately that you would have to make sacrifices to be available earlier than even you had anticipated. 

An example of your response could be: “I couldn’t be happier to be part of the team. However, I had placed my commitments into certain things. But then, seeing the urgency, the best I can do is to be available once we can agree to another time from (state the date you can compromise to).”

The interviewer will be more compelled to have you, seeing you are willing to make a compromise to be available at a date you can both agree to. But then, if they feel pressed on having you, you don’t have to feel compelled to answer on the spot. What you can say is that “I’d be happy to, but I’d appreciate it if I could be given a certain time to consider this so I can work out a day that works with when you need me to start.” That way, you haven’t said no but can still say no should in case you were unable to work something out. But then, I trust that you would.

  • When the role is in a different location and you have to relocate:

If you need to travel to a new location, you must realize that you need time is not an option. It would be best if you also considered what the interviewer might be thinking. The interviewer may feel a bit reluctant, except if you sound reassuring about having a way to secure accommodation within the least amount of time possible. So, stating that you have a family or a friend you’d be moving in with would help improve your case. Even when you do not have someone you could readily move in with. You must have it also stated the specific amount of time you’d be needing or maybe if any provision can be made to support you.

That said, considering when the interviewer needs the role filled becomes an important factor you must also consider. Your response to the question on if you could start the work immediately could then be: 

“I am very pleased to begin work. In fact, I’m excited too. However, I’ll be needing a certain period of time (state how long you would be needing). This request Is based on the fact that I have to get settled into a new accommodation here. Although there is some form of provision that could help me get accommodation, I could very well begin at… (state how soon you can start).

Regardless of how you feel your response might sound, you must know that you need to set a realistic timeline so your thoughts appear reasonable and well thought out.

A Little Lesson From All That Has Been Said

Remember to maintain your calm and be confident. Here are a few take-home pointers. Remember what I mentioned earlier about being honest, flexible, and accommodating. Be careful of sounding dishonest, do not reveal more than what is needed, also don’t be too specific with dates. Simply give ranges. You know plans do change. That way, you don’t sound too inconsistent with your words or seem to have failed to keep up to a promise.

Two Very Important Things YOU Must Not Do In This Position

  • Do not leave your current Job without adequately informing your current employer as this may come back to haunt you. Imagine you were demanded to provide a reference letter from your previous employer.
  • Do not leave your current employer until you have a concrete job offer with a proposed agreement letter. It is best that you have it either In writing or in your email box. Do not make any move if the agreement is still out verbal.

Once again: 

  • If you’re available to start immediately:I clearly understand what the role demands, and I strongly believe I’m well suited for this role given my experience and the events that have led up till now, which allows me to start as soon as you need me to.”

  • If you are actively employed in another organization, and you Need to Give a Notice at Your Current place of work:I am excited about having to start work. However, as I am currently employed, it is only right and fair that I give my notice of resignation and also help in the process of recruiting someone as competent or even more to ensure that the business is not affected by me leaving.” Any recruiter will find that noble and very ethical. 

  • When you need some time off: I couldn’t be happier to be part of the team. However, I had placed my commitments into certain things. But then, seeing the urgency, the best I can do is to be available once we can agree to another time from (state the date you can compromise to).

  • When the role is in a different location, and you have to relocate:I am very pleased to begin work. In fact, I’m excited too. However, I’ll be needing a certain period of time (state how long you would be needing). This request Is based on the fact that I have to get settled into a new accommodation here. Although there is some form of provision that could help me get accommodation, I could very well begin at… (state how soon you can start).

Conclusion:

Having seen all this, you see that there are diverse ways you can approach having to respond to this particular question. The truth also is that getting the job is how well you can communicate your intent in a very strategic manner. Remember to ensure that you aren’t under pressure so as not to sound desperate. If you ever go blank or you feel like you do not know what response to give. Remember, it is within your right to ask for some time to make an intelligent decision. Remember also when I also said that Interviews are like landmines capable of ruining what can be described as a near-successful attempt at getting one’s dream job? The truth is, words are spoken, and messages communicated during an interview (especially at the tail end) can make or mar your chances of creating a positive and lasting impression on your interviewer’s mind.

Also read “What Interests You About This Position?”: How to Answer [With Samples]

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