It’s not easy to conduct your job hunt while working. Finding the time to search and apply for roles, sneak glances at your emails and pick up calls from employers take enough time as it is. One of the biggest challenges, however, is being able to attend job interviews when you’re working a full-time job.
Being invited to attend an interview is certainly exciting stuff, but how should you go about getting time off to attend it? Delaying the interview because you feel guilty about taking the time off work could have a negative impact on your chances of success. It’s important to put your career first and take the opportunities you get to move forward.
On the flip side, you’ll want to avoid rustling feathers at your current workplace. If you’re thinking of attending job interviews on company time, this will not go down well if your boss finds out. Remember, you can’t know for sure how long your job search is going to take. You certainly don’t want to end up with no job at all.
Ideally, you want to conduct your job search and attend interviews discreetly. You’ll want to take time off work but preferably without raising any suspicions. Here’s some key advice to bear in mind.
Don’t shoot yourself in the foot
It’s difficult to take a day off work without your boss or colleagues asking if you’re doing anything nice. This can be an awkward situation if you’re attending job interviews and you should avoid coming up with a false excuse that could unravel or raise suspicions. A family member dying, for example, is definitely a no-go excuse. A slip of the tongue or a little digging sees a lot of excuses unravelling. Beware of a white lie becoming a big problem.
It can be tempting to book interviews at the start or end of the working day and then to simply come up with an excuse as to why you’re late or have to leave early. When it comes to interviews, however, you can’t predict how long they will last. Arriving 2 hours late to work with the “I slept through my alarm” excuse will not go down well. Indeed, you should always avoid excuses that make you sound unprofessional or irresponsible.
Avoid calling in sick
Calling in sick is an option that many job seekers consider. However, this should only be a very last resort. It may work for one interview, but who knows how many job interviews you’ll have to attend before finding a new role? You certainly can’t call in sick every time and you’ll want to avoid tarnishing your attendance record at work.
Remember, if you call in sick there is always the risk that you may run into a colleague or manager while you’re out and about. This could be extremely awkward as not many people with a sickness bug are found wandering the streets in their best suit.
You don’t need an overly elaborate excuse as to why you’d like to book a half day holiday off work. You’re well within your right to do so and your employer doesn’t need to know the details. If they ask, however, keep your answer vague.
Simply saying, “I have an appointment”, should be an adequate excuse that doesn’t require any further information. If you are asked further, anything from visiting the doctor, dentist or hospital to attending a financial appointment should be more than enough to satisfy them. Plus, these matters are generally private, so your boss or colleagues shouldn’t press you further.
Use your lunchtimes
It may be possible for you to attend an interview during your lunch break. If so, you should cover yourself by checking you can take a longer lunch and offering to make up the time by coming in earlier or working later. You could use the excuse of meeting a friend to justify this.
The best way to get time off
The best way to take time off from work is to take a day’s holiday. While you’d probably prefer to use your holiday entitlement for fun activities, in this instance, put your career first. A new job will have a big impact on your life so it’s worth taking the time to get the right one.
Try to avoid it altogether
Many recruiters and employers understand that it can be difficult to get time off for job interviews. Don’t be afraid to ask them if there is an opportunity to attend an interview outside of normal working hours. This isn’t always possible as they will have busy schedules too, but it’s certainly worth asking the question. It won’t make them think any less of you. In fact, asking this question shows them that you are a committed and responsible employee!
Bringing it all together
Taking time off work to attend job interviews can be tricky, but it will definitely be worth it when you secure that fantastic new job. Be smart, don’t over-complicate things with elaborate excuses, stay professional and you’ll be absolutely fine.
Thanks for this post go to our friend, Jennifer Tait, Head of Marketing at graduate recruitment consultancy, Bridgewater Graduates. They offer sales, management and a variety of other commercial graduate jobs with market-leading businesses across the UK and Ireland.