3 Smart Ways To Answer The Question “How Soon Are You Available” In An Interview

Posted by | November 3, 2016 | Scholarships_CareerTips

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By Lilian Wamaitha,

If you have been to an interview, you know how stressful it can be. With the saturation in the Kenyan job market today characterized by few jobs to compete for, acing that interview becomes your best shot to saying goodbye to that jobless situation. The question about how soon you are available for a job might seem easy to most of us but in reality how you answer it could mean the difference between you getting a job or a rejection.

According to Mr. Perminus Wainaina, Head of Recruitment at Corporate Staffing Services Limited a leading recruitment firm most people perform really well in the other interview sections. However, the problem comes in at the ‘how soon are you available’ question. The way they answer however sends mixed feeling in the interviewer.

This is one of the questions that can go either way. You answer it well; you end up impressing the employer but if you answer it wrongly, your chance of getting that job becomes very slim.

How then do you answer this question?

1. Be smart in response

Whether you are a working professional or you are not employed, leaning to answer this question in a smart way might give you the competitive edge you need to beat other candidates. When asked this question most people tend to come out too desperate by saying that they are available to start immediately.

According to Mr. Wainaina, you don’t want to come out as an individual who jumps at an opportunity when it presents itself or like the only aspect of your life is job searching. If you are working don’t come out as person who just leaves an employer hanging by leaving work without giving notice. Yes you have been confirmed, saying you are available immediately isn’t going to impress the employer. Instead it might be the reason you go back home without a job at the end of the day.

2. Show you understand job contracts

Normally, organizations in Kenya normally stipulate how either party can terminate a contract, for instance if you are on probation, its seven days and thirty days for permanent employees. If you are working mention what you contract  stipulates that you give a thirty day notice and on top of that that you would want to ensure a smooth hand over before you leave.

However he says, if you feel that the employee needs you before the 30 days, you can mention that you have a certain number of un utilized leave days and you can discuss with your current employer whether to start the new job during those days as they look for a suitable replacement. This goes to show the employer that you are a person who appreciates their job and would not terminate the contract haphazardly. Because, let’s be honest, who would hire someone who has the reputation of leaving work whenever they think is the right time for them?

3. Be at least available within 1 or 2 days

If you have been in the job search for long, you might be tempted to tell the employer how you are available immediately. Some go to the extent of saying that they are even available that afternoon if the employer requires them to. According to Mr. Wainaina, says that saying you are available immediately is not a bad thing.

However, it leaves the employer questioning whether your life only revolves around job searching. He says that the best way to answer this question is to say that you are available in one or two days because you need to wind up on a few things. You can therefore mention that you are volunteering somewhere or are helping someone with a few things.