What's the best way to schedule job interviews when you're employed? It can be hard to juggle job interviews when you’re working. Some employers may bring a candidate in for multiple rounds of interviews or conduct a series of lengthy interviews in a single day. There are a wide variety of formats for the interview process before reaching the final interview.
If you are going for many interviews, that can add up to a lot of time that you’ll need to take off from work—without the guarantee of getting a new job. In some cases, the first round or two are phone or video interviews, which can make it easier to manage. In other cases, it’s more complicated.
It’s important to carefully manage the time you take to interview, so you don’t jeopardize the job you have. Here are tips for scheduling job interviews when you’re employed.
Options for Scheduling Interviews
Most prospective employers will understand your desire to keep your search confidential in the early stages, and they'll appreciate your dedication to your current job. So, it’s appropriate to ask about interview times when talking to recruiters and hiring managers.
What to Say to the Recruiter
What's the best way to discuss your availability for interviews? You should begin your conversation about an interview by expressing your excitement about being selected. However, it is acceptable to explore options for interviewing that will not interfere with your current job or raise any suspicions on the part of your employer.
The Best Way to Schedule Interviews
Inquire about early morning, late in the day, evening, lunchtime, or even weekend options, especially for initial or exploratory meetings with a limited number of representatives from a prospective employer. Interviews over the phone, video, FaceTime, or Skype may be a possibility, depending on the job and the employer.
If you're not interviewing in person, you can interview from almost anywhere, including coffee shops, libraries, lobbies, or other spaces with Wi-Fi. For interviews at the company, ask if there is flexibility in scheduling the interview around your work schedule.
Be sure to confirm your interview in advance. That way, you won't waste time away from work if the interview is canceled or rescheduled.
Use Time Off or Flex Your Schedule
You may be able to use paid time off or juggle your schedule to cover the time you're away from work.
Use Paid Leave
Another possibility is to save some vacation or other paid time off for your interviews. If you can schedule your interviews at the start or the end of the workday, or around your lunch hour, you won’t need to take the entire day off. If you don't have paid leave, you could simply ask for unpaid time off for the time you need.
Shift Your Schedule
If you can shift your schedule, even by an hour or two, you could come in early or stay later to accommodate the time you need to interview. In some instances, unknown circumstances could come up and force you to reschedule your interview. Don't worry, your prospective employer should view your dedication to your current job as a strength and rescheduling shouldn't be too difficult.
Be Cognizant of Workflow
Whenever possible, try to arrange interview times on days you will be missed the least. Prepare for your absence by getting work done in advance, if feasible. Your absence will be tolerated more easily if your work is getting done.
Remember that at some point you will probably need a favorable reference from your current employer. Since a job search can take several months, you don't want to be viewed as a slacker during this time. Work some evenings or weekends, if necessary, to maintain your image as a strong contributor.
Be Selective When Accepting Interviews
You don't have to accept every interview you're offered, especially if you're getting a lot of interest from prospective employers. If you're an in-demand candidate, it's appropriate to ask some questions before the interview to determine if the job is a good fit and if it's worth your time (and the hiring manager's time) to pursue the opportunity.
It's fine to decline a job interview if, after further consideration, you've decided this isn't the best job for you. It's more polite to cancel than to keep the process going when you know it's a position that you don't want. Plus, canceling will free up some time to interview for the jobs that you know you would love to get hired for.
Keep it Confidential
If you are concerned about maintaining secrecy, resist the temptation to share your interviewing news with colleagues, even those whom you trust the most. Making an excuse to cover your absence might help deflect the curiosity of co-workers, but you don't need to say anything at all other than you'll be out of the office or not available.
Word gets around very quickly in the workplace. It's a good idea to keep your job search to yourself until you have a firm job offer in place, and you're ready to turn in your resignation.
- Check to see if the prospective employer is flexible when it comes to scheduling interview times. You may be able to schedule the interview at your convenience.
- If possible, see if you can work flexible hours on the days you will be interviewing.
- You may be able to use paid time off for the time you need to interview.
- Remember that you don't have to accept every interview you're offered. Being selective can help minimize the time you need to take off from work.