You’ve been through the grueling sessions of answering interview questions and then the interviewer asks, “ So Mr Omondi, how soon is your availability for this position?
Emmanuel Mwangi Wanjiru* writes in an email, “Last month I applied for a job and I got invited for an interview, so far I have made it through the first interview and will be attending a second interview in a week’s time. My question is how to handle the ‘how soon are you available for the job?’
He goes on to add that, “In the first interview it was not such a big deal but now that I am in the second interview there is a chance that I might get the job. How do I go about it?
For job seekers, does it mean you have already gotten the job and the interviewer wants to know when you can start working? and most importantly, is it a common question in a job interview?
“This is a common question especially if the position you’re applying for is currently unoccupied and the employer wants to fill it within the shortest time possible.
Says Beth Wanjira, Recruitment Manager at Corporate Staffing Services but she quickly adds that, “This though does not mean that the employer is making you a job offer, it’s a general requirement question for all job interviews,” says Beth Wanjira a HR personnel at Corporate Staffing Services.
On how best to answer the question, Ms. Wanjira advices that one needs to be sincere.
“Be truthful about what you tell your interviewer, if for example you have a job that requires you to give notice then state the exact time the current company stipulates as the acceptable time to hand over ,” Ms Wanjira retorts.
And does saying that you are available immediately make you sound desperate?
“I would say no, because it all depends on how free you are, you might not engaged on anything and that makes you available on call, then again if you say you are available you should make sure that you honor that and report to work as soon as you are called, don’t start giving excuse,” Ms. Wanjira adds.
Dennis Bugara a HR & Operation manager at Flexi Personnel concurs that it’s a very common question.
“In fact I wouldn’t summarize an interview without asking on the availability of the candidate. I have to for example plan on the time to do induction once the candidate reports to work, sometimes if the position is urgent we may decide on buying out the person’s contract so it’s important that I know on the candidates availability,” Says Mr. Bugara.
Mr. Bugara though feels that seeming too anxious about the job may raise red flags.
“When a candidate for example says they are available say in one day or two days time I often wonder how they are planning on leaving their current employment, I always ask myself do they seem loyal enough and can I trust them if they end up working for me because its expected that before you leave your current employment, you should give due notice to your employer,” Mr. Bugara
In conclusion both of these professionals feel that before you answer the question you should practice integrity and that you should never burn bridges as this will reflect on how you will handle such situations if and when the interviewer hires you.
Well you have heard it, sincerity is the way to go, don’t just jump on the job without thinking of the consequence it might have on you.