5 top tips for getting time off for an interview

Searching for the ideal job is not easy and can prove even more difficult if you are in full time employment and seeking a new role.

Finding time to: job hunt, update a CV or speak to a recruiter or employer is tricky, especially when you’re tied up at work. You may often find you have a missed call, you are having to take a sneaky look at your emails or you are having to nip to a quiet area to take a call. With all this going on, you may often be left feeling guilty and increasingly awkward at work.

That being said, when you’re given the opportunity to go for an interview it is the best feeling! This is your time to shine! But now you’re faced with another hurdle…how to get time off for an interview?

Establishing how and when you’re going to attend your interview can be risky – the last thing you want is to jeopardise your current position. So, how are you going to get time off to for that crucial job interview?

Here are a few options that you may find useful:

1. Where possible, avoid taking time off

This isn’t always the best option, however, it’s always worth asking the question as to whether you can have the interview outside working hours.

If you’re working with a recruiter they understand the difficulties of interview timings within the working day and should work with you to make the potential new employer aware of any difficulties. Employers are usually more than happy to be flexible with their time in order to see the right candidate.

One thing to note, most employers and recruiters will contact you and arrange meetings during their working hours. Do your best to be available to take calls, even if you have to nip out during the day to call them back. Try and be flexible with your interview arrangements – unnecessary delays could mean that you miss out on that hot opportunity.


2. Don’t lie when you don’t have to

Lying doesn’t sit well with most of us and there is every chance that you will get found out. It only takes one misplaced comment, a slip of the tongue or a red face to raise suspicions with your team or manager so while you might think you may get away with it, why risk it when you don’t have to?


3. Don’t take a sick day

This might seem like a valid option but the last thing you want to do is to tarnish your attendance record. Plus, if you have more than one interview then you can’t call in sick every time! You also run the risk of getting caught out by a manager or a colleague – even in the most unlikely of places.


4. Keep your reasons vague

If you do need to request some time off work, your employer doesn’t need to know all the details. All you need to say is that you have an appointment. Your employer shouldn’t press you for more information as it is a private matter.

However, it is worth letting a family member or a friend know of your interview so you have your back covered. This will allow you a little extra time if your interview runs over.

You could also offer to make the time back by staying late or coming in early so that you aren’t missing any work time.


5. Your best option is to take a day’s leave

This is by far the best option; I appreciate in an ideal world that you’d rather be doing something different with your day off as holidays are precious! But if it helps you land that perfect opportunity then it’s a day’s holiday well spent!

Taking annual leave will allow you plenty of time to prepare for your interview; you’ll feel refreshed, prepared and be in the best frame of mind.

For all of us, our jobs are a huge part of our lives; your job and career goals should be at the top of your priorities. So, if that new job offers you a better work-life balance, career progression, a higher salary – then this change will have a positive impact on your life.

The key is to remember to not let a great opportunity slip past you because you can’t make the interview. Equally, don’t jeopardise your current role and professional reputation in the process.

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Remember, you’re not the first person to want to progress in their career! Many candidates are faced with the awkward situation of juggling their job search with their current job. If you’re unsure about what to do, speak to your recruiter who will be able to advise.

Best of luck!