Classic Interview Questions and Answers
When would you be available to start?
Alternative and related questions:
What notice period does your current contract stipulate?
The meaning behind the question:
Sorry, this doesn’t necessarily indicate that you’ve won the job! The interviewer is generally just planning ahead and trying to identify when, if they were to offer you the job, you would be able to start work. It’s a simple, factual question.
Your answer is going to be relatively straightforward. Stick to the facts. Tell the interviewer what your current notice period is and how many leave days you remain entitled to – since these could reduce your notice period. You should also have decided in advance whether you wish to take advantage of the break between jobs to have a week or two’s holiday.
Bear in mind that if the interviewer urgently needs to fill the vacancy then the timeframe within which you are able to start may be a deciding factor.
However, most employers are generally very understanding of notice periods and will be prepared to wait if it means they secure the best candidate for the job.
In some circumstances you may even wish to give your current employer more time to replace you than is stipulated in your contract. While this might be inconvenient for your next employer, they may well be impressed by your loyalty and dedication. This should be negotiable anyway and, if it does pose a major problem for your prospective employer, they will simply tell you.
My current contract stipulates a notice period of four weeks but I fortunately have 10 days’ leave available to me which effectively reduces my notice period to just two weeks. On receipt of a firm job offer I would intend to resign immediately from my current position and conceivably start my new role just two weeks later.
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More classic interview questions and answers
How would you describe yourself? / How would your boss/colleagues/team/family/friends describe you?
In what ways are you a team player?
Do you work well on your own initiative?
What techniques do you use to get things done?
What motivates you?
Are you proactive?
Are you creative?
Are you a risk-taker?
How do you handle pressure and stress?
Can you tell me about a time when you have failed to achieve a goal?
What's the worst mistake you've made at work and how did you deal with it?
How would you handle the following situation?
Can you tell me about a major project you have successfully completed?
Can you tell me about a major problem at work that you've had to deal with?
We have a problem with x. How would you resolve that?
What do you do when you disagree with your line manager?
How would you describe yourself as a manager?
Can you give me an example of when you have successfully coached a member of your team?
What is your customer service philosophy?
How did you get your last job?
What does your current job involve on a day-to-day basis?
What contribution do you make to the department in which you work?
What changes have you made to your current job role since you started?
What have you learned in your last job?
Can you tell me about your last appraisal?
How would you describe your current boss?
Why did you leave that job?
Which of your jobs was the best?
Why is there a gap in your resume/CV?
What do you know about us as an organisation?
What do you know about our products/services?
What do you think are our organisation's greatest strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
What do you know about the vacancy for which you are applying?
How do your skills and experience match the job description/person specification?
What appeals to you most about this vacancy?
Why have you chosen this line of work?
Are there any other organisations to which you are applying?
How does this job compare to others for which you are applying?
Can you describe your ideal employer to me?
What sort of person would you most like to work for?
In what ways is your degree relevant to the work you are now doing?
What have you learned and how have you developed over the last year/five years?
What sports are you/have you been involved in?
Do you know what the current headline news is?
How quickly can you adapt to a new work environment?
Would it be a problem if we asked you to work overtime/evenings/weekends?
What is your current salary package?
What salary package are you expecting for this role?
When would you be available to start?
Do you mind if we contact your current employer for a reference?
Author: James Innes