You’re job hunting, but how do you do it without making your current boss suspicious? All those “doctor’s appointments” are going to sound fishy after a while. But you can’t land a job without an interview, so you’re going to have to come up with some pretty good excuses as to why you keep ducking out of work all dressed up. We went to the experts for advice.
1. ASK ABOUT INTERVIEWING BEFORE OR AFTER WORK.
Dan Schawbel, author of Promote Yourself and Me 2.0, advises explaining to the perspective interviewer that you have a full-time job, and see how flexible they are with doing the interview outside of working hours.
2. CHANGE YOUR WORK SCHEDULE.
Peg Newman, a managing partner at the executive search firm Sanford Rose Associates, advises adjusting your calendar for the next 90 days so you can schedule a late start once a week. That way, if you're planning on doing many interviews, you can be out by 4 p.m. and no one will raise an eyebrow.
3. TAKE A PERSONAL DAY.
“If you accept this job and leave your current role, you may not benefit from unused sick or personal days anyway,” says Amy Hakim, a psychology practitioner and executive consultant. “Further, if you take the full day off of work, you will be able to attend the interview calmly and will not worry if the interview is extended.”
4. TELL YOUR EMPLOYER THAT YOU'RE DEALING WITH SOME FAMILY MATTERS.
Explain that you’ll get your work done while also managing your personal responsibilities, but you may have to take longer lunches and personal vacation days as needed to deal with your issues, says Scott Wintrip, author of High Velocity Hiring and founder of the Wintrip Consulting Group.
5. REQUEST A PHONE INTERVIEW
Tell your boss that you want to be respectful to your current employer by not ducking out of work frequently. Jeff Altman, a job search and leadership coach at The Big Game Hunter, suggests saying something like the following to your potential new employer: “Can we schedule something by Skype or Facetime to cover some of the preliminaries of our valuation of one another? After we’ve had a chance to assess one another, if you and I would like to proceed further, I’m happy to meet with you.”
6. BUILD FLEXIBILITY INTO YOUR SCHEDULE.
Do this before you start your job search, says Caroline Ceniza-Levine, a career expert with SixFigureStart in New York. “Ask for a remote work option, even if it’s one or two days a week,” she says. “Start taking longer lunches, taking your meetings out of the office or working from home, so people get used to not seeing you as much.”
7. DON'T BE SPECIFIC.
Minimize your explanations so you don’t have to come up with specific excuses: Ask for time off for an appointment (but don’t volunteer what type of appointment), Ceniza-Levine says. Or come to the office early so you can leave early—or come in late, then stay late. “If you’re asked about your absences, then you can mention you have a personal matter that requires some business daytime, but you’re coming in early or [working late] to make up the time,” Ceniza-Levine says.
8. TAKE A LONG WEEKEND.
Start burning some leftover vacation time or accrued overtime every other Monday for the next few weeks, says Jana Tulloch, a human resources professional with DevelopIntelligence. “Having an additional day off during the week would allow you to set up interviews without having to dream up a way to get out of work at the last minute,” Tulloch says.