5 secrets for getting time off work for interviews!

Article Credit: CV Library


Job hunting is rarely easy. But it can be especially difficult when you’re looking for a new role while still working your current job. Getting time off work for interviews can be awkward!

Finding time to look for roles, tailoring your applications and speaking to recruiters is tricky when you’re tied up at work. However, to make a smooth transition from one position to the next, it’s better if you can be in a job while seeking other employment.

You may have to sneak a look at your emails on your lunch break. Or pop out for a phone interview while trying to keep your job search on the down low. Naturally, these things can leave you feeling a little guilty and awkward at work. But, it’s important to remember that in the end, it will all be worth it!

One of the most exciting aspects of looking for a new role is successfully receiving an invitation to interview. Now you’ve got your foot in the door and have been given a big opportunity to impress! If you can sell yourself at the interview stage, then that opportunity will be yours! You’ll be starting your exciting new role in no time. But now you’re faced with another challenge – how to get time off work for your interview.

If you have a lot of autonomy and are often out on the road attending meetings, you may be tempted to attend the interview during your working day. However, if your current boss finds out you’ve done this on company time, you could find yourself in a sticky situation.

Lying about why you need time off work can also be quite risky. When coordinating how you’re going to attend your interview, always bear in mind that you don’t want to jeopardise your current job. Interview number one may not result in an offer; and if this is the case, you still need to be on good terms with your current company.

Job searching takes time and you can’t know how long you will need to continue with your current job.

So how should you go about getting time off work for your job interviews? You have a few options, but these five secrets are what we recommend.

1. Do everything you can to avoid needing to take time off

This option isn’t always possible. But there are some steps you can take to avoid needing to take time off work to attend an interview. Some recruiters are more understanding about the difficulties of meeting for an interview during standard working hours. So, they may be able to arrange to meet you before or after work.

When arranging your interview, there’s no harm in asking whether you can arrange a meeting outside of your working hours. While the recruiter may not be able to accommodate your request, they will respect the fact that you are a committed and reliable employee.

It’s also okay to let your interviewer know that your current employer is unaware of your job search. You may not want them calling up for a reference as that would give the game away!

If before or after work is impossible, there’s always the option of trying to schedule a phone interview to coincide with your lunch break. Just think about what times of day will be easiest for you to work with.

While looking for a job, do bear in mind that most employers and recruiters will only contact you and arrange meetings during their working hours. Do your best to be available to take calls during the day and to be flexible with your interview arrangements. Unnecessary delays could mean that you miss out on a hot opportunity.

2. Don’t tell a lie when you don’t have to

Lying doesn’t sit well with most of us, and if you get found out (which can happen quite easily), you will find yourself in hot water. A slip of the tongue, a shifty look or a red face could raise suspicions with your colleagues or manager. While we might all get away with a little white lie now and again, why risk it when you don’t have to?

3. Try not to pull a sickie

Pulling a sickie should only be done as a very last resort. Don’t be that person that calls up the office and puts on the croaky voice and pitiful cough. Yes, it happens, and yes, your employer will see right through your excuse!

While saying you have a sickness bug may seem like a very simple solution, you have to remember that it’s highly unlikely that you’ll only have to attend one interview during your entire job search. Do you want to tarnish your attendance record? It is also not hard for managers and colleagues to catch you out on this one. You could run into anyone on your way to your interview!


4. Keep your reasons vague

If you need to request some time off work, your employer doesn’t need to know all the ins and outs. While you may already be planning an elaborate and fool-proof excuse in your head, all you need to do is say that you have an appointment.

If your employer does press you for more information, then you may have to go to the doctor, dentist or hospital appointment excuse. Your employer shouldn’t be pushing you for more information than this regarding such private matters.

If you’ve successfully managed to schedule your interview during your lunch hour, then you may want to say that you are meeting a friend or family member for lunch to cover your back. This will allow you a little extra time if your interview runs over. Another good option is to offer to come in early or stay late, so you can take an extended lunch break.

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

If you need to attend an interview during working hours, your best option is to take a day’s holiday. Naturally, you’d probably prefer to spend your precious holiday time jetting off to hot countries and having fun with family and friends. But when you land a fantastic opportunity, it will be worth the sacrifice.

Taking a day’s holiday will also allow you to have plenty of time to prepare for your interview. You can ensure that you’re dressed to impressed, have conducted plenty of research and arrive on-time feeling confident and ready to sell yourself. If you’ve sneaked away from work and had to rush to make your interview, you aren’t going to be in the right frame of mind to make a great impression.

Getting time off work for interviews

Remember, putting yourself and your career goals first should always be a top priority. Your job is a massive part of your life. Just think about how many hours you spend at work! Whether you’re looking to move into a new role that’s more enjoyable, that will offer your better progression or pay a higher salary; this change will have a positive impact on your life.

Don’t let a fantastic opportunity slip by because you can’t make the interview. And don’t jeopardise your current role and professional reputation in the process.

You’re not alone! Many job seekers are confronted with the awkward business of having to juggle their job search with their current job. Other people from your company may be in the same position as you right now. What’s important is that you can be smart about how you manage your job search and be discreet with the way you take phone calls and attend interviews.

If you do this, then you shouldn’t come up with any problems that leave you in hot water.

Good luck!