After months of searching and dozens of applications, you’ve finally landed an interview for the job you’ve always dreamt of. Excitement is keeping you awake at night – and so is the thought of asking your current boss for time off.

It’s a tricky scenario that we all face from time to time, and although employers expect a certain level of staff turnover this is a situation that is ripe for awkwardness.

To avoid such difficulties, let’s have a look at some of the common dilemmas to see how they can be navigated successfully.

Are you entitled to time off for interviews?

There is no legal requirement for your workplace to grant you time off to attend a job interview. You may have a close enough relationship with your employer to be able to request this without causing bad feeling; alternatively, you may need to consider other options.

So, should you pull a sickie or take an official day off?

It may be the case that the interviewer is able to free up a slot that coincides with your lunch break, but sod’s law suggests that this isn’t always likely. Even if you work fully remotely, you will need to offer some kind of explanation for your absence. Yes, you could take a sickie but is it worth getting caught and have to explain yourself, possibly resulting in a less-than-favourable reference or at least a period of cold-shouldering? Much better to book a day’s holiday if you can.

If they ask, should you tell your employers why you’re taking the day off? Or come up with an excuse?

Again, it depends on your relationship with your boss. If they know that you’re keen to move on to the next step of your career path and they understand the reasons for that, telling them the truth may not be a problem. That said, it might be awkward if you don’t then get an offer and have to return to your current job. Perhaps a better approach is to say, if asked, that you have an appointment, thereby keeping it vague. Then if you don’t get the job subsequently, no-one will be any the wiser.

You think you might have got the job. Should you tell your employer now?

In a word, no. You may have answered all the interview questions perfectly, impressed the recruiter and hiring manager with your qualifications and previous experience, and feel you are the right fit for the job description, but until you have the confirmation letter in your hand, say nothing. You might think you’ve landed the dream new job and are on your way out of the door – you might also be disappointed! At this stage, you really don’t want to be bitten on the behind because of false expectations, so wait until that confirmation arrives before you knock tentatively on the boss’s door.

The recruiter has called back for a second interview and you don’t have any more annual leave. You can’t tell your boss about it. What now?

OK, this is tricky but not impossible. Perhaps the best way is to talk to your potential employer, explain the difficulty and see if you can schedule an out-of-work or virtual second interview. As many interviews are online-only now, this may not present as many difficulties as it would’ve done when meetings were always face-to-face.

If you can take an extended lunch break and make up the hours at another time, this may be another solution.

There is talk of redundancies in your organisation or workplace. Can you now officially take time off for interviews?

Again, beware of jumping the gun. Rumours of job losses may well turn out to be true, but they may just be rumours. Unfortunately, you will have to wait until you receive the dreaded redundancy notice until you’re legally able to take time off to look for and attend job interviews. And note: you have to have been in your job for two years minimum before you have this right.

Time off for interviews is never an easy negotiation, but with the right amount of tact and common sense, it shouldn’t cause too much pain. At the end of the day employers accept that employees move on; respect and understand their position, tread carefully and above all, don’t lie. Your sins will invariably find you out!

If you’re ready to start a new job search, PPR is here to help. Give us a call on 01895 808188 or get in touch today – you might just be the ideal candidate for one of our current vacancies.

Related blogs you might be interested in:

Top CV Tips