Excuses for Missing Work for an Interview

missing work for interview
Calling in sick for interview. Credit: Pixabay

You are currently in a full time position that you’re looking to get out of. However, because it is full time you have no time during the week to interview for new jobs and have a hard time getting a day off. Ideally you would like to avoid calling in in sick when your not actually sick, but that seems to be the only option. How would you go about finding time to interview? What excuses do you have to miss work for an interview?

Job hunting and interviewing for new positions while still employed full-time can be tricky. But in the increasingly hot job market today, it’s more common for employees to be constantly on the lookout for a more promising offer. According to a poll by Monster.com, when candidates want to skip work for a job interview, 44 percent of them tell their boss they have a medical appointment, and 15 percent say they are sick.

Use a Vague Excuse to Miss Work for An Interview

It will be less stressful for both you and your boss if you have a planned day off.  While it is understandable that not every job offers extensive paid time off, life does happen and it’s not reasonable to expect an employee to be handcuffed to their desk.  Making a vague request for time off is probably your best option if you work for a reasonable boss.

Excuses you can use for an interview:

  • I have an appointment scheduled.
  • I need to take a day off to tend to family obligations.
  • I need a day off to handle a personal matter.
  • Something came up at home, and I need a day off to deal with it.
  • I have an errand I need to run during the day, so I will be late to work.

Using these vague excuses to miss work for an interview may help keep your mind at ease, knowing that you have secured the day off.  A reasonable boss would not ask personal questions and would not have a problem with you taking a day or half-day off to tend to a personal matter.  (If your boss, however, is not reasonable, you may need to consider other options, which are discussed below.)

Whatever you do, don’t go into elaborate detail or create a dramatic story.  That will only add to your stress because you will then need to remember every detail you gave and make sure your story continues to add up.  You may be caught in a lie, and it’s not worth the risk.

Ask for Flexibility if You Can’t Miss Work for an Interview

As a second option, if you are having trouble taking an entire day off of work, you could speak to the recruiter to explain your current situation and ask for alternatives to make the interview schedule more flexible.  Since the recruiter has a vested interest in filling the position, if you are a strong candidate, they should be willing to work with you as much as possible.

How to Ask for A Different Interview Schedule

  • I am unable to request a full day off right now due to work demands.  Would it be possible to break the interview into two half-days?
  • I am unable to visit at that time due to work commitments.  Early in the morning or toward the end of the day would be better.  Would that work for your schedules?
  • I am unable to find time during the day because we are short staffed right now. Would it be possible to meet before or after normal work hours?

The recruiter may be able to reschedule at a time that is more convenient for you, or she/he may say there is no flexibility at all. Granted, the interviewers have busy schedules themselves, but certainly they should be able to find some wiggle room even if it means extending the interview calendar. So how the recruiter responds to this request can be very telling.  If the company is not willing to be flexible to meet a strong candidate, or does not have a very good reason for their rigidity, then perhaps this is an opportunity you should reconsider.  After all, if they are not willing to be flexible while they are “wooing” candidates, how flexible are they with their actual employees?

Call In Sick if You Must Miss Work for An Interview

As a very last resort, if you are out of all other options and excuses to request off for an interview, you may need to take a sick day. The problem with calling in sick, though, is that after a few times, you become less credible, especially when you’re looking fit and healthy before and after you are out. If you are a strong candidate that is getting a lot of phone calls, too, you may need to take multiple days off.  So, if you do need to call in sick, make sure it is for the right opportunity, such as a final-round interview for a company you really want to work at.

Do you have good excuses to miss work for an interview?  Share your excuses in the comments below!

March 20, 2017

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