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kevbo's avatar

Did I get the job?

Asked by kevbo (25603points) January 5th, 2014 from iPhone

I suppose I’ll find out soon enough, but why not speculate while I have the time?

I had a conference call interview recently. Four people merely listened, and I spoke with two including the person who will be my direct supervisor. I wasn’t as prepared mentally as I would have liked to have been, and/so I got a fierce case of nerves during the interview. I managed to sputter out the information, but was hardly eloquent and unfortunately left a lot of selling points on the table, because I was trying to string words into coherent sentences. Anyway, the interview was simply a list of behavioral interviewing questions, and at the end the lead interviewer asked “When can you start?” Following that she said they’d be choosing the best candidate and running background checks, etc. and would contact me when they were done with that.

My real question is: is it common nowadays to ask all candidates when they can start or was that a sign that I’m the one? I was already a top candidate out of two (from what my inside source says.)

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19 Answers

talljasperman's avatar

If you said “right away” when the interviewer said “When can you start?” than you have the job.

glacial's avatar

Hmm. “When can you start?” or “When could you start?”

There’s a big difference. The second one is hypothetical. The first one could have your interviewer kicking himself pretty hard if he didn’t mean it.

I would guess it means that you have the job unless your references don’t check out.

VS's avatar

I did something following my last job interview that I have never done before and I think it cinched the job for me. I wrote a short letter to my interviewer thanking him for taking the time to interview and explain various aspects of the job, hoping I would be a good fit and expressing that I thought I would really enjoy the challenges of the position. It took five weeks bur they called and offered me the job. Twelve years later, I’m still there and still loving the job and its challenges! I hope you get the job!

Smitha's avatar

I too think this is a very positive sign as he is already thinking in terms of when you could start work.

augustlan's avatar

This happened to my daughter recently, too, and she actually didn’t get the job. Very confusing wording! Either way, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you. :)

BosM's avatar

Asking candidates when they could start is something I do on a regular basis because I want to know what the notice period would be for a candidate should they be selected. You should never assume anything in an interview.

One thing you could have done is asked them if they were making you an offer – they certainly opened the door for you to do so – based on what you have described them saying. At this point you should follow up with a thank you note, restate your interest, and ask them if they need anything else from you.

If they are going to call your references, you should make those individuals aware of this and give them a brief outline of the job/company and position you are applying for. You never want your references to be surprised by a reference call. Good luck!

kevbo's avatar

@augustlan @BosM, that’s the answer I was looking for. Thanks!

Pachy's avatar

@VS, writing that letter was smart—in fact, I can’t imagine NOT writing a thank you note (not an email, an actual note) after an interview. I always did that.

livelaughlove21's avatar

If you were one of two, I’d say it’s a good sign, but don’t take our word for it. I’ve never been interviewed for a job and not received an offer, so I’m not entirely sure if that’s a typical interview question. I do think the distinction between “can” and “could” is important, as mentioned.

Good luck! I know waiting for an answer is difficult. I was lucky with my new job – I got the call with the offer an hour after getting home from the second interview. But waiting to see if I’d get a second interview took two weeks. I was told it was down to me and another girl and I happened to interview with the shareholders first and they liked me so much they didn’t want to meet the other person. Lucky me!

Cupcake's avatar

I think “When can you start” (or “could”) is a standard question now. I have been asked and not gotten the job. I have also asked it of applicants even though they were not very strong candidates. It beats not knowing when you are trying to decide who to hire.

Cupcake's avatar

As an interviewer, I also want to know when they could start because it might shed some light on their loyalty or duty to their current employer, if they are currently employed. It’s not a bad thing to not be able to start for a month, in my book (although it might be inconvenient). I also want to get a general picture in my mind of when training would begin and end with each particular candidate.

Strauss's avatar

^^I agree with @Cupcake, and I would wholeheartedly agree with all who said to write a thank-you note.

janbb's avatar

I wouldn’t be sure it was a yes; as others have pointed out, might just be looking for your availability or loyalty to another employer. Depending on the type of job, I’m surprised that they don’t plan to interview the top candidates in person; a phone interview is often the first screen.

johnpowell's avatar

I wouldn’t base anything on can vs. could. The odds are good that you weren’t the last interview.

Best of luck.

VS's avatar

@Pachy I had never written a thank you for an interview before, but then, it had been 28 years since I had interviewed for a job!

livelaughlove21's avatar

@VS I’ve never written a thank you note after an interview either. I’ll send a follow-up email if I have the interviewer’s email address, but I usually don’t. Like I said, I’ve never interviewed for a job in which I didn’t get an offer, so I’m not sure how necessary a thank you note is. It may also depend on the type of job. I’ve worked for a restaurant, medical office, bank, and now law firm.

kevbo's avatar

Well… I didn’t get it. I was a (fixer upper) contender, but someone else had more directly applicable experience. Thanks all!

augustlan's avatar

Aw, sorry @kevbo. Thanks for updating us.

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