Lying to your boss and colleagues about your whereabouts is never easy, but sometimes it can feel like the only way to get out of the office and into a job interview. If you’re worried about your third dentist appointment of the month raising suspicions with your employer, why not try one of these six approaches, as advised by a career expert.
Try to use a white lie
While it can be tempting to create a back story about why you need the time off to make it seem more believable, this can often backfire. “Creating an elaborate story to escape the office is likely to come back and haunt you,” warns Peggie Temple at Instash. “If telling a white lie is unavoidable, make sure it’s an extension of the truth. If you attend meetings outside of the office, try to bolt the interview onto the meeting. This will see that your colleagues are aware that you are out the office but for good reason.”
Ask to work from home
Flexible working is more commonplace than ever, which can be used to your advantage when it comes to taking time out of the office. Put in a request to work from home under the guise of needing your own space to concentrate, and present your boss with a plan of tasks that you intend on completing on the day. Just don’t forget to complete them alongside the interview! If your company isn’t quite so flexible yet, maybe you’re waiting on an electrician to fix your buzzer?
Can you extend a lunch break?
Depending on the location of the interview, don’t assume you need to write off a whole day, or that being ‘sick’ is your only option. Could you request a lunch break extension to make it there and back swiftly? Is asking to shift your hours earlier or later on the specific day a possibility? If you ask, more often than not your boss will try to accommodate you.
Try to schedule the interview out of working hours
Be honest with your interviewer from the get-go, and explain how meeting in work hours is unlikely. As Peggie says, “Negotiating time is not negative. It showcases that you are accountable within the workplace and your presence holds weight. If you know that it is unlikely that you will be able to step outside the office, make the interviewer aware straight away and provide a brief outline of your reasons why, and then provide alternative times that are suitable. Thank them in advance if they fall into social hours.”
Be strategic with your annual leave
Even if you’re Augustus Gloop, there are only so many dentist appointments one person can have. Which is why David Baddeley from Finance.co.uk advises submitting several job applications at the same time, and strategically taking time off to attend the interviews.
“Shortlist the roles that you wish to apply for and submit applications over the course of a week,” he comments. If you get asked back for interviews, take multiple days of annual leave, and try to create an interview schedule. “This will provide the opportunity for you to attend several interviews, including second interviews, without causing office speculation.” Of course, this can be stressful when it comes to interview prep – but is a good option if you feel guilty about lying to your colleagues.
The idea of being open with your boss about your potential job search can fill many with dread, but sometimes it’s actually the easiest option. Use past experiences to determine how the workplace has handled former employees leaving, and consider how seriously you’re taking the job interviews. Are you in a position to explain why you want to leave and what options are open to you, without jeopardising your potential future in your current role?
If laying the groundwork to move on is not an option, ensure that you are still fair to your current workplace. Do not slack with your current workload or let your interviews take over your focus. Always leave a role with a bit of grace.
This article first appeared in Cosmopolitan UK.