Careers

How to answer the interview question, 'What's your availability?'

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Some interview questions may throw you for a loop, but, "What's your availability?" is a common question job search platform Glassdoor says many candidates can expect to encounter.

"The answer to this question varies dramatically from industry to industry," Zachary Painter of ResumeGenius.com tells Glassdoor as part of the site's 50 Most Common Interview Questions series. "Service industry jobs might want to know if you can work weekends, and a traditional office job will want to know exactly when you can start."

Resist the urge to say, "I'm available right away," career coach Aurora Meneghello of Repurpose Your Purpose says, and instead, consider a time-frame that will allow you to leave your current job on good terms.

"It is in your best interest to ask for enough time to properly give notice and wrap things up with your soon-to-be-ex-employer," Meneghello tells Glassdoor.

According to Nell Wulfhart of The Muse, the exit processes of past employees can help you solidify a proper time-frame for notifying your current boss.

For example, if your boss has immediately fired a past employee who told them about another job opportunity then it may be in your best interest to start your new job sooner rather than later to avoid missing out on pay. However, if you're sure your boss won't dismiss you immediately, then Wulfhart suggests giving them at least two weeks notice, as it can help increase your chances of a good reference letter.

To leave an even better impression, Wulfhart says you can provide your boss with a plan for how you will leave a current project and how you will train the next employee filling your role.

After assessing the date that will work for your current employer, Painter says, "ask [the interviewer] what their timetable is...and then give them a date within that time-frame that best suits you."

While the thought of taking a new job is exciting, Meneghello and Wulfhart's advice to pick a start date that will also please your current boss is key to maintaining a good relationship with a company.

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