When would you be available to start?

  | James Innes

When would you be available to start?

Alternative and related questions:

What notice period does your current contract stipulate?

The meaning behind the question:

Sorry, this doesn’t necessarily indicate that you’ve won the job! The interviewer is generally just planning ahead and trying to identify when, if they were to offer you the job, you would be able to start work. It’s a simple, factual question.

Your answer:

Your answer is going to be relatively straightforward. Stick to the facts. Tell the interviewer what your current notice period is and how many leave days you remain entitled to – since these could reduce your notice period. You should also have decided in advance whether you wish to take advantage of the break between jobs to have a week or two’s holiday.

Bear in mind that if the interviewer urgently needs to fill the vacancy then the timeframe within which you are able to start may be a deciding factor.

However, most employers are generally very understanding of notice periods and will be prepared to wait if it means they secure the best candidate for the job.

In some circumstances you may even wish to give your current employer more time to replace you than is stipulated in your contract. While this might be inconvenient for your next employer, they may well be impressed by your loyalty and dedication. This should be negotiable anyway and, if it does pose a major problem for your prospective employer, they will simply tell you.


My current contract stipulates a notice period of four weeks but I fortunately have 10 days’ leave available to me which effectively reduces my notice period to just two weeks. On receipt of a firm job offer I would intend to resign immediately from my current position and conceivably start my new role just two weeks later.

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