Job Seeker Blog - Spark Hire

Taking Time Off to go to a Job Interview During Work

If you are looking to change full-time jobs, chances are you are going to have a job interview scheduled during normal working hours. This can sometimes be an uncomfortable situation because while you go out to these job interviews you are going to be lying to your current employer. It’s not a straight lie to their face, but it will be a lie of omission. Everyone has to do it at some point if they are trying to find a new job because the first rule of switching your current job is that you don’t let your boss know until you have signed the contract and shaken hands with your new employer.

Why should you not tell your employer? Because while some might be understanding of the situation and a few might even be willing to help you out, there will be others that will want to get rid of you earlier than you planned, if not on the spot. I had a friend who had recently gotten a position with a company and a month in he was offered a job interview at a much more prestigious company, which he was obviously very keen to accept. He told his boss that if all were to go well he would be leaving the company, and he did so very courteously and professionally. His boss, in response, told him to clear his desk and leave immediately.

Luckily my friend got the other job, but had he not he would have been unemployed, and within months would have had to move back in with his parents. His boss told him that he didn’t want to waste time training someone who might be gone before the training was finished, and would rather hire a sure thing instead. While that may seem reasonable, just remember that a company would fire you with little to no notice if it benefited them. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there and you need to look out for yourself because no one else will, and that’s a cold hard fact.

Now that I’ve hopefully somewhat soothed those guilty consciences some of you had, it’s time to go about planning how you are going to go on this Wednesday lunch job interview. If you have paid days off to blow then you can stop reading here because just use one of those, I’m sure you’ll agree it’s worth it. If you don’t, then you have one of two reasonable options to get that time off.

Either you can be unprofessional and call in sick on the morning of the job interview, or you can be respectful and do the professional thing by going to your boss a few days in advance and notifying them that you will be taking a personal day on the day of the interview. You do not need to divulge to your boss what you will be doing with your time off, simply say ‘I need to take some time off on XXXXXX for personal reasons.’ Tell them it is unavoidable and you apologize for any inconvenience it may cause. That’s the professional way to go about it. However, there may be circumstances where you only have a day’s notice and have no chance to notify your boss that you will be taking time off. In this case, you have no choice but to go the unprofessional way. It’s unfortunate, but there you have it. If you don’t feel right lying about being sick then simply shoot your boss an email saying you will be taking time off for personal reasons.

It’s important that you make sure going to this interview does not get in the way of your work relationship, but you also have to be sure you do not skip the interview because of your work. You need to take this interview because clearly something isn’t working where you are now and it might change your life. Just follow my recommendations and you should get by with flying colors.

How do you go about interviewing for other jobs while you are employed? Share with us in the comments section below!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by Rochelle, just rochelle

Bane Srdjevic

Bane is a Purdue graduate and has been through a lot of the trials and tribulations every job seeker goes through. He is looking to spread his knowledge so that other job seekers don't make the same mistakes. Learning by doing is fine, but knowledge is king.