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What to Do if You Can't Get Time Off for Interviews

By The ZipRecruiter Editors

Finding a way to interview for a new job while still working your current job can be difficult. You may have limited capability of getting away from your work during the day and don’t want to tell your manager that you are on the job hunt just yet. 

But there are ways you can make it happen. Here are some tips for getting time off for interviews.

Communicate Effectively

Good communication is key when trying to get time off for interviews. 

Be Honest With the Hiring Manager

If you do not have much flexibility in your schedule, be honest about that and ask for accommodations. This will show the hiring manager that you are a responsible and dependable employee. Many employers are willing to work around your schedule and offer times before or after work to give you a chance to interview.

Ask Your Current Boss for What You Need

It is normal to feel a little guilty or strange about taking time away from work to interview for another job. You are not doing anything inappropriate, though, and it can be helpful to remind yourself of that. People move from one organization to another all the time for many different reasons. It's okay to ask your boss for time away as you need it.

Be Discreet, But Not Dishonest

You most likely do not want to discuss your job search with your current manager until it is time to give an official notice of resignation. Asking for time away for an appointment or personal reasons is acceptable in most workplaces. You should not be required to give more information than that. 

If a manager asks for more information, you can politely state that it is personal and you do not want to share. If this kind of conversation feels too awkward for you, it may be best to try and schedule your interview outside of regular working hours.

Plan Ahead

Try not to make last-minute requests for time off, but rather plan ahead so that your manager doesn't feel like you are abandoning your job duties. Let the potential employer know that you want to be responsible with your time off and respect your co-workers by not blindsiding them with an unexpected absence. There may be some cases where planning ahead is not an option, but when it is, take advantage of it.

Other Helpful Tips for Taking Time Off for Interviews

  • If you have a long enough lunch break, try scheduling interviews during this time when you are already expected to be away.

  • Ask for a late arrival or early leave from the work day and see if the hiring manager can get you in at the very start or end of the work day.

  • Make sure you plan ahead for any wardrobe changes you may need to do before and after a midday interview.

  • Set up out-of-office messages and notify co-workers of your absence ahead of time.

  • Use your personal time or paid time off to mark off a day on your calendar and try to schedule multiple interviews for that day.

  • Ask if a phone or virtual video interview is available instead of in person to save commuting time.

  • Ensure all job tasks are completed or delegated before asking for the time off.

  • Be careful to give yourself enough time for the interview so you are not rushed or anxious during it.

If you are feeling anxious before the interview, take some time to calm your nerves and build your confidence before engaging with a potential employer.

  • Give yourself a few minutes before the interview to do some deep breathing or mindfulness exercises.

  • Ask for a friend to give you a pep talk or share affirmations to build your self-esteem.

  • Be authentic in the interview, even if that is sharing that you feel nervous.

Maintain Current Employment

The process of applying and interviewing for new positions can be lengthy. There is no guarantee of a new job offer just from an interview, so keeping your current place of employment happy with your performance is key. 

  • Continue to be on time and stay until you are expected to for the workday.

  • Make sure all duties are completed on time.

  • If you do take time during the workday for an interview, ensure it does not impede your current work from getting done.

  • Don't sneak around or lie to your current manager—you want to maintain a good rapport throughout your time there.

  • Maintain good relationships with co-workers throughout your job search.

  • Follow through on any commitments you have made, even if you are planning not to be around on a long-term basis.

Keep Up The Good Work

It can be tempting to lose motivation for your current role when you are imagining a new beginning somewhere else. Work to keep your mind in the present moment and do your best work wherever you are. This will be a good sign to your next employer as well as appreciated by your manager for right now.

The ZipRecruiter Editors

At ZipRecruiter, our mission is to connect employers and job seekers with their next great opportunity. On the ZipRecruiter blog, we use insider experience and data derived from our AI-driven jobs marketplace to provide advice and insights on topics such as the job search process, interviewing, and labor market trends. Start your job search or post a job today and connect with us on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn!

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