How To Answer “When Can You Start?”

Applicants are often asked When can you start?OR “When can you start working?” in a job interview. The usual time frame for starting a new job is 2-3 weeks after you’ve accepted the offer. Having that in mind, you still need to consider various possible scenarios. Down below you can check them out!

The reason why interviewers ask this question is to obviously know when you’ll be available to work. Oftentimes they want you to start sooner rather than later. It’s highly important to have a clear idea about your start date. That way, you can accommodate their needs and anticipate right away.

Example Answers (Different Situations)

You can start right away:

“Let me see (look at your agenda)… I have a flexible schedule. When do you want the position filled?”

You need to give a couple weeks notice at your current job:

“I need three weeks to ensure a smooth transition. Would the week of the 10th work for you?”

You want a break in between jobs:

“I have some previously scheduled commitments. My ideal start date is [Date].”

You need time to relocate (move):

“Since this position will require me to move to [Location], I’ll need some time to make the transition. I’d be happy to negotiate a start date that works with our timelines.”

Not sure you want the job

“I’ve got several scheduled commitments for the upcoming weeks. Can I email you tonight?”

OR

“I need to check in with my current boss. Can I contact you tonight?”

Interview Question Tips

  • Don’t be too eager or accommodating. You certainly can show your excitement, but you should at all cost sound desperate or immature. Show that you use an agenda and timeline.
  • Do be honest and straightforward. The interviewer doesn’t need to know everything that’s on your agenda (honeymoon, renovation, feeding cat etc.) Give a short and straightforward answer that shows your availability (doesn’t have to be an exact date).  
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