How to get time off for a job interview | Main Region

How to get time off for a job interview

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So you’ve taken a significant step towards advancing your career and landed a job interview. But there’s a problem. Your interview coincides with a critical client meeting you've spent weeks preparing for or collides with an important deadline that you know you’ll struggle to get out of. While many interviews are now conducted remotely, arranging time off to attend the interview and potentially reshuffling your work schedule can be a daunting task. Learn strategies to seamlessly secure the time off you need for your job interview and reduce your stress levels. 

What to consider when trying to get time off work for a job interview 

Although this may feel like a bit of an impossible situation, it’s one that you will most probably face as a jobseeker. Once you’ve secured an interview, the next challenge is how to get the time off work so that you can attend it. 

If you work flexible hours, or often work remotely, getting time off to attend an interview is usually relatively straightforward. However, if you are primarily office-based or if you are required to be in the office on the same day as your scheduled job interview, it might be trickier to book the time in without worrying about the ramifications of doing so.

1. Strategically time your interviews

When faced with the task of securing time off for a job interview, consider – timing is everything. Try to schedule your interview early in the morning, during lunch or after regular working hours.

If the proposed interview time poses challenges, let the hiring manager or recruiter know. Explain your conflicting commitments and suggest some alternative dates and times. Most employers understand the constraints of attending interviews during working hours and are willing to accommodate.  

2. Book annual leave for an interview

Often, the best approach is to book the day of the interview off as annual leave. If this isn’t possible, could you ask for a half-day? This way you can reduce anxiety and allow yourself to concentrate solely on your impending interview.  
If you’re actively and regularly job searching, it might be a good idea to schedule a couple of interviews on one day, in order to use your time most effectively.

In cases where interviews are scheduled on short notice, submit your holiday requests promptly. Remember, you’re proactively investing in your career and seeking time off for an interview, so even on short notice, it’s a key step towards your professional development. 

Should I tell my boss that I’m looking for a new job?

In today’s world of work – a world in which we’re all living and working longer – it’s becoming more and more common for organisations to adopt an open and honest culture around career paths with their employees.

Some managers are comfortable discussing employees' career paths, even if it raises the possibility of them exploring new opportunities. If you've had prior discussions with your boss about your career, it may be appropriate to inform them about your upcoming interview. However if these conversations haven’t occurred previously, it’s best not to divulge any such information until you’ve been offered the job and have the contract in your hand.

By following these strategies, you can navigate the process of securing time off for your job interview while retaining your confidence and integrity. With the peace of mind that comes from transparent communication and strategic planning, you'll be well-prepared to perform at your best during the interview, advancing your career aspirations.  

If you are looking for further advice on interview preparation and job hunting, download our job interview guide or take a look at more career advice.

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