3 Secrets For Taking Time Off For Job Interviews

Guest Post By Max Woolf

So you’ve punched a clock for quite a few years now. In your career, you’ve had several promotions that made you feel financially independent.

But—now, you’ve decided to look for greener pastures and up your career.

The only problem is—how do you interview for jobs discreetly, so your job search efforts won’t be outed?

Don’t stress. Today, you’ll learn how to sneak out for a job interview without sounding a single alarm bell.

Set Your Best Foot Forward to Avoid It Altogether

Here’s the thing:

Most recruiters are quite understanding of busy schedules that most working professionals have and that you might not always be able to secure time off.

So—when you arrange an in-person interview, it’s a good idea to ask if you can plan a meeting outside of working hours. Otherwise, you’ll have to take a day off or come up with an excuse for your boss.

This should be fairly easy to arrange if you encounter a flexible hiring manager or if you’re an extraordinary candidate companies bend over backward to hire.

If the hiring manager can’t accommodate your request, you can still be smart with your interview time.

Just ask for a slightly earlier morning interview or a slightly-late evening interview and see where it gets you.

Once you've agreed on the time, ask the hiring manager to keep things on the down-low. You wouldn’t want the company to call up for a reference, as that could put your existing job at risk.

Take a Day off or Half-Day off for a Job Interview

Now—if you can’t meet the hiring manager outside working hours, the best thing you can do is take a day off or a half-day off.

As Maciej Duszynski, Resume Expert and Career Advice Writer at ResumeLab, explains,

"The benefit of this tactic is that you won't have to worry about sneaking away from the office and then being stressed out you won't make it back in time."

You'll also have plenty of time to prep for the interview and, for instance, do company culture research. Plus, if you wear business casual at work, you won’t be forced to change into a suit and out of it for the interview.

So—let your boss know you want to take a day off or at least a half-day off as early as you can. It’ll up your chances of success because they’ll have enough time to cover shifts.

Best way to break the news? Just tell your boss you need a day off or a half-day off. If you have a good boss, they won’t ask any questions.

Then again, if you had a good boss, you probably wouldn’t be looking for a new job and Googling how to pen a resume summary to make your application stand out.

If you’re asked to elaborate, just say you want to take care of a personal matter. If you don’t think it’ll suffice, keep reading to see some more sure-fire excuses.

Work It In Around Your Schedule

Now—let's say it's not an option for you to take a day off or a half-day off. Perhaps, you're out of vacation days, or your boss won't let you go.

The good news is, you can still interview with a new employer without raising the red flag. All it takes is to work the upcoming interview into your work schedule.

First off, pick the day when you aren't overwhelmed with work. In other words, go for a day with slow times (e.g., fewer meetings) vs. a day with busy times.

After that, you’ll need to decide when you’ll have the interview. There are several options:

  Early in the morning. If you have a flex schedule and you don’t have to show up at work at a set time (e.g., 8 AM), it’s an excellent option. You could do the interview in the morning and then stay late to finish work in the evening all while flying under the radar. 

      During lunchtime. If it's commonplace at your company to have extended lunches, this could be a good option too.

      At the end of the working day. If you have the option to come in earlier and leave earlier too, this could be ideal. You'll have done all the work, and you won't have to worry about how long the interview will take.

  Best Excuses for Taking Time off to Interview

So—you need a solid excuse for taking time off for a job interview.

Here’s an important thing to keep in mind: always use a plausible reason that will sound reasonable to your boss.

If your boss starts to think you're making things up, you might find yourself in hot water.

Also, don't make up stories about a sick grandfather, a death in the family, let alone a severe medical condition. This could cause undue concern and lead to follow-up questions.

Below are some examples of solid excuses for taking time off for job interviews:

      I need time off for a personal matter.

      I need to pick up a friend up from the airport.

      I need an emergency car/home/appliance repair.

      I'm expecting an IKEA delivery.

      I have a vet appointment.

      I have a dentist's appointment.

      I need to go to the bank to take care of some financial matters.

So -- What Do You Think?

There you have it.

A whopping three secretes for taking time off for job interviews along with solid excuses. Use them to break away from your job without raising a few eyebrows.

Now—did you ever interview with companies while having a full-time job? Did anyone find out you’d been on a top-secret mission?

Let me know on  LinkedIn!

About The Author


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