Interview Questions and Answers: When can you start?

This interview question involves you giving a direct commitment to your new employer. You do need to be prepared for it.

This is not the time to give the interviewers a bad impression. The interview question needs a factual response. Even if you can start immediately, you should think about any commitments which could interfere with your starting work, before giving your interview answer.

Your Interview Answer

There are several factors that might affect your interview answer:

  • obligations to current employer
  • contract conditions
  • unemployment issues
  • family commitments

Any or all of these factors can affect your start date. Before going to the interview, make sure you have some clear idea of a start date.

These two issues in particular must be clear when giving your interview answer:

  • obligations to current employer
  • contract conditions

You may well be legally obliged to continue work for a period. If this is the case, your interview answer must refer to the reasons for the delay in starting. The interviewers need to know the story. Your interview answer may not look too good, either, if you don't include the necessary notice to your former employer.

Unemployment Issues

You may have commitments regarding welfare providers or other services where you're obliged to attend. These can be rescheduled, but if not, you should consider the time frames in your interview answer.

Family Commitments

These are unavoidable commitments, but when you give your interview answer, they must be factored into your time frames, so you can give a starting date. It's not a good idea to start a new job with instant problems about attendance.

Quality Control for Your Interview Answer

You can simplify your interview answer by being ready to start as soon as possible.

To do that:

  • check your obligations about giving notice or terms of contract
  • make sure beforehand that you can reschedule any obligations to welfare services if you get a job
  • try to keep your domestic arrangements based on a 'work' schedule, not the 'unemployed' schedule


The interview question is 'When can you start?'

'As you know, I'm a contract employee. Under the terms of my contract, I'm obliged to give a month's notice, so I asked the employer about this. He said that there's no problem with me starting immediately. There are no other commitments involved.'


This interview answer demonstrates

  • understanding the process of changing jobs
  • understanding of the obligations of a job contract
  • consideration for the former employer's interests
  • appropriate arrangements made for early start

The interview question has been fully covered.