As you get deeper into the interview process and begin to anticipate an offer, it’s a good idea to prepare for the question “when can you start?” It is usually safe to assume that the sooner you can start, the better! Here is some general advice on how to handle this question:
- The “Two Week Notice” Rule – generally speaking, giving a two week notice to your current employer is totally adequate. It’s quite possible your employer may ask for more notice, but you are not obligated to yield. Two weeks is an appropriate amount of notice at almost any job level. Unless you have an employment contract that stipulates specific notice terms, you are well within business norms by sticking to a two week notice.
- New Employer Considerations – if the hiring company is making you an offer, it’s because they need and want you. If they ask, “when can you start?” during the interview process, it’s a sign that they like you, but the speed with which you can start may also be a hiring consideration. Before you start thinking about giving notice, taking a couple of weeks off, etc., put yourself in the employer’s shoes and think about your answer from their perspective. The sooner you can start, the better.
- Necessary Delays – if there are good reasons you must delay a start date beyond two weeks, discuss them openly with the new employer. A vacation you’ve already paid for, relocation, waiting for a bonus payout, etc., are good reasons for delay. Wanting to take a week off to relax is not a good reason. If you must delay the start date, just remember to do so for good reasons.
- If You Are Unemployed – if unemployed be prepared to start immediately. While unemployed job seekers are generally at a tactical disadvantage to employed candidates, this is one area where the ability to start ASAP is an advantage.