What Is Date of Availability? Definition and Sample Answers

Updated 8 April 2023

Most interviewers ask job applicants when they'd be willing to start work should they have a successful outcome. The manner in which individuals respond to this question is crucial, as hiring managers use this as an opportunity to assess qualities such as reliability and work ethic. If you're preparing for an interview, it would be useful to learn the importance of this question and the way you can answer it to win your prospective employer's confidence.

In this article, we define a date of availability, share tips on how to answer it depending on your unique situation and provide some sample responses.

Related: Show Hiring Managers That You're Ready to Work

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What is date of availability?

A date of availability refers to the date an individual can start work in a new company upon receiving a job offer from that company. During job interviews, hiring managers ask applicants their date of availability to find out when they can start work in the new company should they be hired.

The minimum notice period in Singapore is at least one week's notice if you've been serving in an organisation for over 26 weeks. Employers typically expect successful candidates to begin work in the new company one to two weeks from receiving their job offer. However, some employers are willing to make certain exceptions.

Related: What Is a Notice Period?

What is the purpose of asking date of availability?

While this question mainly seeks to find out when job applicants are ready to start their new role in the company, there are also a couple of other reasons that interviewers pose this question. They include:

Evaluation of your work ethic

Enquiring about your date of availability is an opportunity for your interviewer to have a better understanding of your moral principles and assess your work ethic. If you're already working in another company, and you mention that you can start the very next day, you may lead the interviewer to believe that you aren't reliable or responsible enough to complete pending work in your current workplace. Your interviewer might think that you may carry that same attitude to the new company and abruptly exit in the same manner if they hire you.

Information on your schedule

The interviewer may also check with you on your date of availability to avoid conflicting schedules. Hiring managers may want you to start on a particular date. If they have a clearer picture of your schedule, they can learn if your availability matches with the company's preferred date.

Related: How to Start a New Job Virtually

Tips for answering the question of date of availability

Here are some useful tips to consider so that you can give the most suitable answer when the interviewer asks for your date of availability:

Be straightforward about your availability

You may need to complete certain projects or adhere to other contractual obligations at your current workplace. You may even want to take a short break before taking on your responsibilities in your new company. Be honest and upfront with the interviewer of such matters. Hiring managers may appreciate your honesty and could even sometimes practise some amount of flexibility and accommodate to your schedule especially if they trust that you might be an asset to their organisation.

Exhibit a keen interest in the role

Convey to your interviewer that you're thrilled to start your new job. Show that you're passionate about the position by mentioning that it's a role that you're certain that you can thrive in. You can also state that you're excited to contribute to the success of the company. If you're currently unemployed, mention that you can begin immediately. Avoid telling the interviewer that you'd like to start at a later date.

You may appear unmotivated or unenthusiastic about the job, and interviewers may want to offer the position to someone who is showing more interest in the role.

Related: 8 Buzzwords for Interview Questions (Plus Interview Tips)

Be accommodating to the employer's schedule

The employer's preferred date could also be a factor to consider whilst answering the question about your date of availability. Try to be accommodating of the hiring manager's schedule and work a possible date around that. Taking the employer's and the company's needs into consideration may earn your employer's confidence.

Ways to respond to date of availability

Depending on your own circumstances and current work situations, here are some ways you can respond when the hiring manager enquires about your date of availability:

You're able to start right away

Employers may welcome individuals who display the willingness to start work right away. However, if you're currently employed, clearly convey to the interviewer, the notice period that you have to give your current employer and any pending work that you would have to complete prior to you joining the new organisation.

Hiring managers may appreciate your work ethic and sense of responsibility as it gives them a glimpse of how your attitude is, should you be hired to work in the new company. If you're currently unemployed, you can state that you're ready to start work on the employer's preferred date.

Example 1: 'Our conversation has given me a clearer picture of what this role entails. With my knowledge and skills, I'm certain that I can contribute my best to your organisation. I'll be available to begin next Monday.'

Example 2: 'I'm excited to be entering the working world as a full-time staff, and I'm looking forward to learning a lot from people like yourself. So, I'll be happy to start right away. I'm available to begin work next week.'

Related: Guide on How to Accept a Job Offer: Process and FAQs

You may give advance notice to your current workplace

Most companies require its employees to give at least a week's notice before they can start their new job. You may decide that you want to stay slightly longer to formally finish up any large-scale projects you were managing. Alternatively, you may even consider staying a few extra days to help with the handover process and to train your replacement. Inform your prospective employer about the notice period that you would need to give your current employer and let them know that you can join the company thereafter.

Example 1: 'I'm eager to join your organisation. I'll have to give the standard one week's notice to my current employer. At that time, I intend to wrap up some projects that I'm currently involved in. Once I've settled those and have served my notice period, I'll be happy to come onboard and start work here.'

Example 2: 'I'm really looking forward to start working with the team here. I do have certain obligations to fulfil at my current workplace so that I can ensure a smooth handover. I plan to give my two weeks' notice to my employer after which I'm available to start working with you here.'

Related: How to Choose a Job Offer in 7 Steps (With Definition)

You prefer a longer break between jobs

A common practice among many individuals who switch to new jobs is that they would like to take a few days to relax and recharge before embarking on their new job. While it may not be advisable to mention during the interview that you need some downtime or that you're going on a holiday, you could inform your prospective employer that you may attend some prescheduled commitments before starting your new job. Hiring managers usually have an open mind when new employees require some time to fit in to the company's schedule. Thus, they can practise a certain degree of flexibility.

In such situations, do also ensure that you express ample enthusiasm for your new role so that your hiring manager will be confident about your interest in the position. Alternatively, when interviewers ask for your date of availability, you may consider flipping the question around and asking them what is the company's preferred date for you to start work. You may learn that the employers themselves could also be fairly flexible about when they would prefer you to join their organisation and may be willing to work around your schedule.

Example 1: 'I'm thrilled about an opportunity to work in your company. I do have some pre-planned commitments that I have to attend to once I give my notice to my current employer. Should you decide to hire me, I'll be happy to join your organisation at the end of October.'

Example 2: 'I'm certain that I can utilise my skill set for the benefit of this organisation, and I'll be thrilled for an opportunity here. I have an upcoming one-week trip at the end of April. I can start work at your company as soon as I get back.'

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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