How to Get Out of Work for an Interview

Taking off work for an interview can be tricky. Unless you have a very supportive boss or the company is going out of business, you probably don’t want anyone to know you’re job hunting. It’s generally frowned upon.

But it still has to be done! You can spend time searching and applying for jobs at home after work, but getting the interview is a different story. You don’t want to lie to your boss unless you need to, but navigating the path between not entirely lying and not explaining yourself can be confusing and frustrating. It can be done, but getting some ideas never hurt!

Plan Ahead

If you know you’re going to need time off, try and put in a bit of extra work ahead of time. Make an extra effort to get in early, or take a few short lunches. Chances are, you’re not leaving this job because it’s your dream position, but you do want to go out with a good reputation. You’ll know when you have an interview. Try to plan it for a day and time that won’t interfere with your current job. Set it up so that you don’t have to miss critical meetings or reschedule a presentation, and the whole thing will go much more smoothly.

Schedule It on a Day Off

If you already have a day off planned, schedule your interview for that day. That takes care of everything. You won’t have to deal with trying to make something up or get off work – you’ll already have it! This works well if you have to take off early because the kids have early dismissal one day or something similar. Just squeeze in the interview on that day, and the whole issue is taken care of, with no need for lies or extra work!

Schedule Other Appointments for That Day

If you need to get a physical at the doctor’s, or you really should go in for a dental appointment, set it up for after your interview. You can request a note from them for your boss as proof, though if your boss is asking for that, you either take off too much, or there’s a good reason you’re leaving that job!

You can also set this up as a day to get some work done on your car, especially if you can take your car to a place close to where you’re interviewing, then have your interview while they work on your vehicle. Once again, this takes the guesswork out and prevents you from having to come up with any lies. You don’t want to lie to your boss if you can avoid it, although sometimes that might be impossible.

Go During Lunch

If the place you’re interviewing at is close enough, you might be able to squeeze an interview in during lunch. Make sure to tell your boss you’re running some errands and might be late, but you’re happy to make the time up that evening. That way, you won’t feel as pressured to rush the interview and you didn’t lie to your boss. They don’t need to know what personal errands you’re running, as long as they know you’ll get your work done.

Request off Due to Personal Matters

This is probably the most honest you can get. There is no real reason for your boss to know exactly why you’re taking off work. You can either take a personal day or take an unpaid day off of work. Try to do it at a time when it’s convenient, and try not to miss any big meetings.

If you plan to leave sooner rather than later, make use of those vacation days! This might be a little tricky since some offices will expect you to give a certain amount of notice for them, but if you don’t have personal days, vacation days work just as well. Plus, getting that time off, even if it’s not for an interview, tends to make you a better employee. You want to leave this job on a good note, so take all the time you have!

Take Multiple Interviews in One Day

If you can get a whole day off, try and make the most of it. Interviews can be tiring and nerve-wracking, but so is trying to get off work without telling your boss why. All you need then is one excuse to cover the whole day. It won’t be relaxing, and it won’t be easy, and you’ll have to spend the entire day trying to be the best version of yourself. But if you can swing it, it can be an incredibly productive day that might get you another step closer to your dream job. One hard day is worth that.

Keep in mind that getting multiple interviews is a good thing. Having more than one shouldn’t overly complicate the others, as long as you can get to them all on time. Remember that there’s no need to mention other interviews unless you’ve been offered multiple jobs and are using them as negotiation points.

Make It Up

Worst case scenario, just make something up. The key here is to make your lie believable. That means you shouldn’t have 13 dentist appointments because no one is going to believe that unless you show up with a brand new smile. It should be something that’s probably happened to you before. Say your kid accidentally grabbed an electric fence, even though it’s something you did as a kid.

Or tell them that your dog got into a bunch of chocolate and then threw it up all over your white rug and you have to clean it up before you can come in. Otherwise, that stain will never come out! Of course, both of these only work if you have kids or a dog, but choose your own story. Make it a real one, and make it something that makes sense for you.

Have you used a fun, original story to get to an interview? Let us know about it! And sign up here to get more tips and tricks about work, life and the struggle to balance it all.

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Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks.

1 Comment on How to Get Out of Work for an Interview

  1. gomarcet
    January 27, 2018 at 11:50 am (3 years ago)

    choose your own story. Make it a real one, and make it something that makes sense for you.


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