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How To: Attend Interview When You’re Still Working

Posted By Laura Morton on 3rd Apr 18

Few things can surpass the excitement of an invitation to interview. However, this feeling of elation can often quickly give way to concern, as you realise that you’ll need to get out of work to attend. VANRATH have gathered our best advice on how to handle this situation with care and ease. 

Try and work around 9-5pm

Ideally, try and nip the whole issue in the bud by attempting to arranging the interview outside working hours. Your prospective employer should understand your predicament, and may be able to accommodate you before or after work- they might even be able to see you at lunchtime (if you work close enough).

If this isn’t a possibility, you will have to tell a white lie. We certainly don’t advocate being deceptive in the workplace, but it’s something everyone has to do at some point. Use the following advice to help navigate these tricky waters.

Keep it real (well...as real as you can)

If you need to tell a white lie, try and make it as believable as possible. For instance, if you’ve just been for a dental appointment, another trip right away might seem strange. If you are the picture of health, a doctors appointment won’t check out.

Try and find an excuse that makes sense in the context of your life and circumstances. Have you been having issues with your car? You could say things have taken a turn for the worst and you need to get it to a mechanic . Are you moving soon? You could frame a few hours absence as ‘house viewing’. Another useful excuse is letting in an engineer to look at a ‘sudden’ boiler failure, internet breakdown or similar.   

Steer away from illness (both yourself or close family)- it’s always better to stay on the right side of karma.

Pitch it in the right way

If you’re interview is imminent, then you need to take action ASAP to get the time out of work. Once you decide on your story, try and get face-to-face with your boss to let them know why you need a few hours off. Keep it short and to the point- the less details you give, the less likely you’ll trip up if you need to recount anything. Apologise for the last minute notice (if it’s very soon), but unfortunately the situation is unavoidable- try and end on a positive note by offering to work back the hours in the following few days. If you can't meet in person, try and call your boss instead- text should be the very last resort, and only if you're under serious time constraints.

Take a day off (or a half day)

Sometimes it’s not going to be logistically possible to go to interview in the middle of the working day. Your interview may require travel or might take a number of hours. If you want to avoid the rush and stress of slipping out and back into work, then take a day off. If it’s a job you really want, it will be better to focus on psyching yourself up for the interview, rather than the worry of trying to attend covertly.

For more expert advice on handling the interview process, call our expert consultants on 02890 330240 for a truly confidential chat.

You can also browse VANRATH job boards here- our expert consultants upload new roles every day, including weekends, so it's worth checking in regularly to see if we have a role that could be perfect for you.