Should you take a day off to attend an interview?

June 23, 2020
By Sarah Blunt
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Once you’ve got over the initial excitement of finding out you’ve got an interview one of the first things to think about is whether to take a day off so that you can attend. If you’re out of work then it won’t be so much of an issue, but fitting in an interview when you already have a job can be a tricky prospect. In this post I'll cover some of the things you might want to think about to help you decide.

Does your current employer know you’re looking for a new job?

If your current place of work is aware you’re looking for a new job then you will probably be able to negotiate with them to fit the interview into your normal working day. Although probably not very common, this might be the case if you’re being made redundant, moving into a completely different field or if some personal circumstances mean your employer knows you’re looking for something new. Furthermore you might be attending an interview for something other than a new job – it might be for a course or an extra-curricular role (e.g. sitting on an advisory panel). In the latter cases especially it’s likely that your employer will expect and support your attendance and they may accommodate your need to attend without you having to take a day off.

However, if your employer has no idea that you want to leave then it’s probably more likely that you will want to attend the interview without their knowledge. After all, you ideally don’t want your employer to know anything at all until the time that you present them with your letter of resignation. In these cases it’s probably more sensible to think about taking a day off. That said, you won’t always have to take a day off at all.

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Where is your interview?

If you have an interview for a job that is located quite far away from where you currently live and work then taking a day off would definitely make sense. In some cases you might even want to take two days of annual leave so that you can travel up and prepare adequately. This might depend on what day the interview is on; a Monday interview would mean you could travel up on the weekend, whereas a midweek interview would probably mean you need to take some time off to travel, as well as then taking the day off for the interview itself.

What time is your interview?

Depending on what hours you normally work, you might be able to juggle things round to attend an interview taking place either first thing or at the end of your normal day.

Are you prepared to fake a sick day?

If you are looking for a change then it’s likely you won’t be overly concerned about faking a sick day so that you can attend an interview. Most of the time this wouldn’t be recommended, as if you happened to run into anyone from your current place of work then this would likely leave you in a stressful situation with (potentially) a lot of explaining to do, especially so if you don’t get the job.

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So there you have it - everything you need to think about before deciding whether to take a day off to attend your job interview. Got more questions about your interview? Check out all my interview blog posts - they're full of tips and advice to help you ace your interview.

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