Begin Right: How to Negotiate Job Start Date

Timing is Everything: Seize the Right Moment for Your Perfect Beginning.

Commencing a new job extends far beyond a mere date on the calendar. It symbolizes the initiation of your journey in a fresh role, influencing your transition process, work-life balance, and the rapport you build with your prospective employer.

Nevertheless, the suggested commencement date may not always coincide with your present circumstances. You could be occupied with your current position, making arrangements for a vacation, or moving to a different city. In such scenarios, engaging in negotiations for your job start date is advisable and essential.

As I explore how to negotiate your job start date professionally, I will ensure you are on the same page with your employer. In addition, I will cover actionable tips, negotiation techniques, ideal timing, various start dates, and sample communication templates.

Reasons to Negotiate Your Job Start Date

Providing Notice at Your Current Position

There is no substitute for giving proper notice to your employer (sometimes, it is a contractual requirement). Two weeks is a reasonable amount of time to allow your current employer to find or begin to find a replacement and for you to complete any outstanding tasks.


If your new position requires a move, you will need some time to transition.  No matter where you move, relocation means a change of lifestyle, arranging housing, planning the move logistics, possibly finding new schools if you have children, and so much more. 

Planned Vacations or Commitments

Perhaps you had a family vacation planned or an out-of-town wedding to attend upon receiving your job offer. Try to honor those events first before starting a new venture.

Time to Refresh and Recharge

Before embarking on this journey, it’s a good idea to recover and recharge so that you can begin the job energetically, refreshed, and ready to face new challenges.

Negotiating a Job Start Date: Tips for Success

  • Honesty and clarity are key  Convey your enthusiasm. “I am excited about this opportunity, but due to my current commitments, I would prefer to start on (specific date) if that works for your team.” 
  • Be flexible – Negotiating is a two-way street. As you’d prefer if your prospective employer accommodated your needs, you should also do the same for them. This will demonstrate that you are cooperative.
  • Maintain professionalism and respect – Always keep your composure by being respectful and professional. Do not become defensive or argumentative if your proposed start date is received with pushback. Politely reiterate your case; I understand your need for me to start earlier. However, I want to ensure I can give my best from my first day, and I need (a specific date) as my start date.
  • Be mindful of the employer’s needs – Again, this is a two-way street. Be sensitive to the company’s needs regarding your start date. For example, “I don’t want my absence to impact projects or the team negatively. Are there tasks I could work on remotely if my suggested start date is delayed?”

A Guide to Negotiating Your Job Start Date

  1. Open Dialogue with Your Potential Employer – Have a direct conversion. They want to hire you and will most likely work with you.

Try this, “I’m excited about this opportunity and eager to contribute positively. I’m reaching out to discuss a possible alteration in the proposed start date.”

  1. Communicate Positively and Professionally – Always remain positive, showing a professional demeanor. The point is not to argue or become upset but to work with the employer.

Here’s an example: “I wonder if it might be possible to push back my proposed start date to allow for a smooth transition from my current role. I fully recognize the requirements and deadlines associated with the new position, and I want to ensure I meet them efficiently.”

  1. Approach it as a Negotiation – Negotiating a job offer means discussing and modifying the terms and conditions with the employer before accepting it. Therefore, there is give and take by both parties. 

Putting this in play: “While my ideal start date would be the second week of January due to my current commitments, I would be open to discussing other potential start dates that work within both your needs and mine.”

  1. Confirm in Writing – Once you’ve concluded the conversation, send a follow-up email summarizing the points discussed. This way, both parties will have a comprehensive record of the conversation and any mutually agreed-upon matters.

In other words, you might say this: “I appreciate your understanding and flexibility in discussing the start date for the new role. Per our conversation, we have tentatively agreed to postpone the start date to the second week of January, subject to further discussion.”

When is the Best Time to Negotiate Your Job Start Date?

Negotiations are a delicate art, and timing is the key to success. It can determine whether you get what you want or compromise more than you’d like. 

The best time to start negotiating your starting date is after you’ve received a job offer but before you’ve accepted it. 

Once they have extended the offer, they value you as a team member. Therefore, there is no time like the present for negotiating your start date!

In certain instances, you may encounter inquiries about your availability earlier, such as during the concluding phases of an interview or while deliberating potential employment conditions. In such cases, don’t hesitate to express your preferred start date or address any potential factors that might affect the timing of your joining.

Options for Negotiating Your Job Start Date

Begin immediately – If you are currently unemployed and can start right away, why not? Express to the employer that you are enthusiastic about starting the job immediately.

Two-Week Notice – Providing your current employer the respect of a two-week notice is expected and acceptable to both your existing and new employer.

Extended Notice Period – If you find yourself amid a substantial project at your present employment or require additional time for a prearranged vacation or essential relocation, engaging in negotiations for an extended notice period might be necessary.

Email Guide to Negotiate Your Job Start Date

  1. Start with a warm introduction and gratitude
  2. Discuss the Start Date
  3. Propose an Alternative
  4. Close with Understanding and Enthusiasm

Putting these guidelines into place, use a template similar to the one below:

Subject: Re: Your Employment with [Company]

Dear [Manager’s Name],

  1. Thank you very much for the opportunity to join [Company]. I am eager to contribute to your team and am confident that my skills and experience will be valuable to this role.
  1. I understand that the preferred start date for this position is [their proposed date]. However, due to [your specific reason(s)], I would like to know if it is possible to commence my employment on [your preferred start date]. 

This adjusted start date would allow me to wrap up my current commitments appropriately and ensure I can hit the ground running when I join [Company]. 

  1. I am open to discussing this suggestion further and am eager to find a mutually beneficial arrangement.
  1. Thank you for considering my request, and I look forward to discussing it further.

Best Regards,

For a more detailed outline of how to structure an email negotiation template, see Insightful Templates to Negotiate Better Job Offers.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, mastering the art of negotiating your start date is a valuable skill that can significantly impact your career journey. By approaching the process with professionalism, transparency, and understanding, you can forge a strong rapport with potential employers while ensuring your personal and professional needs are met. 

Remember to communicate clearly, provide well-reasoned justifications for any requested adjustments, and remain open to compromises. Ultimately, a successful start date negotiation demonstrates your commitment to the role while establishing a foundation of mutual respect and cooperation with your future employer. Be mindful that this is a negotiation, not a demand. 

As you navigate this crucial step, be confident in advocating for a start date that aligns with your goals and sets you up for success in your new position.

Next Steps

If you remain uncertain about how to negotiate your job start date, don’t hesitate to contact one of our dedicated career coaches. They are available to assist you in determining the ideal start date that aligns with your specific circumstances and requirements. Moreover, they will provide personalized strategies to aid you in the negotiation process.

Take action today, and let’s turn this challenge into a stepping stone for your triumphant career journey!

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