We recruit in a very busy sector, and need candidates to be available immediately as the business needs are high and the recruitment process is quick and fast.
As recruiters, one of the first questions that we ask candidates is if they are available immediately? A majority of candidates answer 'yes', but do they really understand what being immediately available means from a recruiter’s perspective?
What we mean by being available immediately is being prepared for an interview in a short period of time (as little as 24 hours) and having two valid contactable references at hand.
You need two valid references; so the question is: "Are you on good terms with your referees? Have you spoken to them recently?" - Just because someone told you they would give you a reference a few years ago does not mean that they would be happy to do this now. Always contact your referees when applying for positions because you never know when a job might creep up and you may need a reference ASAP as managers may not be available to take calls, they may have left the company or be on annual leave and this could impact you getting a job.
If you have only worked in one place, you may need to get an academic reference. Have you spoken with your lecturer/teacher since finishing college or school? Do you know what the office opening hours are for the school/college? This is information that you need to know when applying for positions.
When talking to candidates, we would always advise they get in contact with their referees before handing over their details so that they do not have any delays when going through the process. While in contact with your referees, make them aware of the role that you have applied for and the time frame associated with the process. My advice is that as soon as you get a job interview, get those references sorted.
What can a candidate do to prepare for their interview?
There is another issue that we see when candidates are applying for positions that have an immediate start; with the speed at which the process is going, we see the candidates who are prepared and the ones who are not. Each person is different and some candidates can prepare for an interview in less than 24 hours. However, for a lot of us, preparation is the most important. Knowing your CV inside out is the key, making sure that you have specific examples to demonstrate your skill set as well as having references ready to provide your prospective employer.