How to sneak out for a job interview
Episode 7 - How to attend a job interview when you work full-time
You want to keep it to yourself, but if you dress up to the nines, out of the blue, then take a 2-hour lunch break, it will be pretty obvious you have gone to a job interview.
Listen to this episode of The Job Hunting Podcast, where I tell a heartbreaking story about what not to do and how everything can go wrong if you are not careful about job searching while working.
Three things you can try to do:
If possible, take a day off.
People will know if you dress up better that day, so dress nicely every day.
Try to book at the start or end of the day.
Have I done a job interview during work hours? Yes? Was it stressful? A bit, but not so much.
In my view, the best way to do it is to create an environment where you are allowed to leave work now and then to do personal things. This should be fine, as long as you can catch up on work later and keep on top of your responsibilities and KPIs. Remember that your current work and boss are your best references for future jobs, so don't burn any bridges! Now more than ever, you want to make sure your work is above the bar.
Maybe I have been lucky, or it's my sector, but I was not micromanaged and could take time out now and then to run a personal errand and catch up with work later. I also never over-explained anything and didn't say all the details of my medical appointments. Add to your calendar, give people access to your calendar, and then go. Period. I also always dressed professionally so that people never thought I was more overdressed than the other day. If you read my 10 Tips for Making Job Hunting Less Stressful and More Successful or listened to previous podcasts about building your brand (numbers 3 and 4), you will know by now that you can find your next job anywhere. A lucky person is a person prepared for opportunities. If your job requires you to be dressed more casually, then walk into the interview room and "destroy" with your confidence, exude leadership. Let them know you have been at work and need to go back to work, so it explains things like a lack of tie or suit.
What you shouldn't do:
Over explain your lie
Come up with complicated stories
Have a guilty attitude
Tell people you are looking for a new job
Talking about the elephant in the room: you should NOT tell people at work. Don't tell anyone at work that you are looking for a job. It may be fine for some people, but it's a good rule of thumb to follow. It's hard to keep a secret at work. You would be asking people not to tell anyone when they have projects, deadlines, and budgets on the line. It's not fair for you to ask them that. Plus, if you don't leave, you will be stuck there with them, which will be awkward for everyone. They may start reconsidering your motivation and interest in your job, which can negatively affect your ability to get an internal promotion or exciting project.
Resources mentioned in this episode
Transcript of this episode
I love this topic. It's such a tricky one, very difficult, and I won't have all the answers, but I'd love to talk about it, and I hope you are interested.
Let's say you want to keep it to yourself, that you're going for a job interview and you don't want to tell anybody, but you dress up to the nines out of the blue. Then take a two-hour lunch break. You work full time. It will be very obvious to your co-workers that you have gone to a job interview.
So how do we deal with it?
Hello there. My name is Renata Bernarde, and this is The Job Hunting Podcast, where I try to help you nail your next job and have the career you want. If you like this and need this type of content, please make sure you subscribe. The path podcast now is going out every at the time of recording every week on a Thursday, Australia, at Eastern standard time. And I think I'll keep it that way. I have about 40 episodes planned, but every time I record one, I think of another two! So I think we'll be going on at Infinitum at this stage. I thought about doing twice a week, but frankly, I can't fit it into my schedule. Maybe in the future, I might be able to if there's enough interest, but let's go for once a week. They are around 15 to 20 minutes long. I don't want to make it longer than that unless I interview someone, which is also a plan of mine.
Also, please do share the love and share this episode with some of you believe will benefit from listening. The episode notes I treat like a blog. So I include information and anything I refer to on a podcast, I try to remember to put it in the episode notes. It's a challenge, but I try my best.
Okay. So how to attend a job interview when you work full time. Well, if you Google that, this is what you will find and it's true:
If possible, take a day off
Right? That's the obvious thing you should do. I would try to take an annual leave day off, not a “sickie” day off. I know in some countries that's not possible. In Australia, it is possible for you to request one day off from work. You just apply online. Mostly if you work for a small business, you would also say: “I need that day for personal reasons,” and you don't have to explain much. The problem is if you have the type of personality where you are a big sharer at work, and everybody knows about your personal life at work because you share a lot, then if you don't share what you're going to do, people will find it bizarre because it's not like you not to share.
So you have to juggle that and maybe think about that in the future as well. I am a 50/ 50 person. I like to be human and have social interactions with co-workers and people I work with in the past. I don't work with anybody much these days, as I have my own business, but I have collaborators. I do tend to a little bit, but not too much. I do know people really enjoy sharing a lot. It will be tricky for them, but you should take a day off. It's easier.
Job interviews can be a bit stressful if you're not used to doing them. And things tend to go really messy on the day of the job interview. So having that time, let's say if a job interview is at 10 or 11:00 AM or 4:00 PM, you have enough time to make sure everything's going to go okay, and you're not busy at work, and you don't get caught up at work with one thing or another. So that's the ideal.
I don't like the idea of taking “sickies,” that’s what we call a “sick day” in Australia. Because it just doesn't sound good. But you have to do what you need to do to get to their job interview.
Ideally, annual day annual leave, take the day off. Bob's your uncle as they say. If that's not possible for one reason or another like in my home country, I don't think you can just take one day off like that. I could be wrong. I'm from Brazil originally, and I think mom told me, and I haven't been to Brazil working a visit for 19 years, but mom did tell me it wasn't very common. People just take, like a batch, like a week off. And she's often when she comes to visit me, she often says, Oh, can you just take a day off when she comes to visit me? I try to do longer weekends, so I'll take a day off on a Friday and on a Monday and have a four-day weekend and take her somewhere close by. And that's how I do it. And she's always curious that we can do that in Australia.
So let's say you can't take a day off, right? But you need to get out of work earlier or right in the middle of the day, and you have a job interview, let's say a lunchtime. People will know if you dress way better that day, so you have to be ready to either not care or not explain or ideally what you would do, which is my preference and how I hope I've always done it, are you just dress professionally every day. I spoke about this in part two of a personal narrative, which is episode four of this Podcast: the idea of professional identity in semantics and amplifying every message. It's what you say. It's what you do. It's how you are portrayed to your colleagues, which has to do with the way you dress.
Think about Dr. Oz on TV: he's always dressed as a doctor, and that reinforces the message that he's an expert in what he's saying. The same would happen to any other professional. I'm just giving that as an example because it's an obvious one for doctors, they dress like doctors. When you go to the hospital, everybody's stressed in a certain way, and it gives them credibility. So dress well every day if you can. If your work environment is really casual and you're applying for a job in a place that's not casual, you need to dress a little bit better. Do so, mindfully. But also when you walk into the interview, let them know that you had been at work, not trying to find excuses for not being dressed in a suit, but reminding them that it's an awkward situation for you. Hopefully, that will deal with the situation of not being super interview ready and dressed for that situation.
Try to book the interview at the start or end of the day. That's also very good. So if the recruiter calls you and asks you what time you would prefer? There's a nine, and there's a 10, there is a three, there's a four. You try the 9:00 AM or the 4:00 PM sometimes earlier if they have earlier like 8:00 AM and then let work know that you'll be arriving a bit later that day and you'll make it up another time depending on your position you need to make up the time at another time.
Sometimes that's not possible, though. Sometimes the recruiters have a mandate to just get all the candidates in on a certain day, and she or he had called people before she called you, they got those easier times, and you're stuck at 10:30 AM in the morning.
So that's a really tricky situation. I'm not going to lie. Have I done it? Yes, I've done it. Was it stressful? A bit, first few times it was, but not so much. Later on, I kind of got the hang of it. I haven't done that many, but I've done enough for it to get easier and for me to learn from my mistakes of not being an oversharer. And also, so let's go through this right then. Let me kind of go through the things that I've done, and the best ways to do it is to create an environment where you are, where you are excused from work every now and then to do a thing or another. As long as you're always able to catch up on work later and keep on top of your responsibilities and KPIs, that's fine.
I guess also being a mother of two, and working in the corporate environment that I've worked with, which environmentally have a great culture and great attention to females in work for us, and giving them flexibility. I suppose I've kind of been able to arrive a bit later if a kid was sick or if there was a problem with school or, I remember I had a great manager and a dunk, and he fits you. And he said I have a wife. I know sometimes you need to get your hair done. I don't know what he's trying to say. Maybe my hair is not looking so good, but I got it. He's like, yeah, you don't need to do that. After hours, if you needed time to just do something for you and then catch up on work, as long as you're doing what you need to do for us, that's fine.
After being in an organization for many years, people know that you that it's okay to look for another job don't feel guilty or bad about it. And if you need to take time off during the day, if you have developed that relationship with your coworkers, where if you come in and out, they know that you are going to do the right thing and, and catch up on work at some point, then you have created the opportunity for you to catch up with a recruiter for our coffee. If you decide that it's time to move on, okay, remember your co-work and boss are your best references, right? So this is really important to remember because what you're trying to do is to find the best job, opportunity, and career opportunity for you. But you have a responsibility for your current job.
And this current job, coworkers, and managers are your best references. They are the things in your resume that will resonate with your future employer. And eventually, they will call your manager to ask about you. So you always need to do the right thing by your current work. So more than ever, you want to make sure your work is above the bar, even if you have to take a few hours off your day to go to a job interview. So maybe I've been lucky, or maybe it's my sector, but I, I was not micromanaged, and I could take time out every now and then to run personal errands like I said and catch up with work later. I also never overexplain things like I said. And for example, don't say all the details of a medical appointment. That's a pet peeve of mine. When my friend of co-work, it tells me everything that she has done at the dentist's.
I don't like listening to stuff like that. So, and because if wanted and go to a job interview and you've decided that the best way to do it is to tell a white lie, guys, it's going to be horrible. People are going to ask you if you say, Oh, I went to a, an appointment, a medical appointment. People are going to ask you what's wrong with you? Or how was it? And then you're going to start lying at add in detail to it. Oh gosh. It's the worst situation. You just know people are not telling the truth. It's really awkward. Don't go down that path. What I've always done as well is every, I mean for years since outlook has been around my, my work calendar is available to my coworkers, like not just to my manager or people that work in my team.
It's just, and it's available. Anybody that works in an organization that wants to check my calendar, it's there. Why? Because my time is the time in my, this is my philosophy. Oops, I just shook my microphone. This is my philosophy. My time is the organization's time, and if people want to know what I'm doing, they can check, and I'm completely open and honest about it. But also because I've done a lot of work in relationship management and business development, which means I'm always out and about and in many of my previous roles have been on, there's been a lot of travel and I want people to know where I am. Sometimes I'm in a different time zone for example, and they can't reach them, and they don't know why. And it could be that I'm still asleep, right. If I'm in the UAE, in Western Australia and they're calling me from Sydney.
So, yeah. And if I need a personal diamond, my calendar, I blocked that as a personal time. Ben, people know that I'm doing something personal at certain time, but other than that he's a meeting with this client. This is a meet internal staff meeting. People just know what I'm doing, period. I've always liked that openness. Some workplaces that I've worked in the past have asked that of other employees, some haven't. And, I really think that that's, that's a good way to go. I also, like I said, dressed professionally so that people never thought one day I was more overdressed and another, if you read my top 10 tips for making job hunting vest stressful and more successful, now I can say that it's really quite hard. , so that's the document that you can download from a link on the episode notes.
Or if you'd listened to my previous podcasts about building your brand, the personal narrative one's parts one and two, you will know by now that your next job can be found anywhere. So, sometimes I have clients that say, Oh, I can't be bothered dressing up nicely every day. I'm like, well, there you go. Do that for the next 12 months and, and see the opportunities, opening up for you. Because if you are a great financial analyst, I'm just going to use an example. And, I'm using financial analyst, cause that might be, an intelligence analyst, some that it has a very, a desk-bound job, right? So it's, it's less, most motivating for a person that doesn't get out much to dress nicely for work. They can come in, in their jeans and tee-shirt at times, depending on the culture of the workplace.
But I would, I would recommend to clients to dress up in a nice pair of dark jeans and a shirt and Belton shoes. And, if you're going out for a coffee, you're bumping into people. You're at George street or Coleen street in Melbourne or even anywhere. It doesn't matter where you work, and there are opportunities everywhere. Be ready for them. Dress nicely. If you go to a job interview, it won't make any difference to people that work with you. They know that you dress well. So, a lucky person is a person prepared for opportunities. I like that. If you are job requires you to be dressed more casually, then walk into the interview and destroy with your confidence and exude leadership, right? So let them know you have been at work and need to go back to work. So it explains things like a lack of a jacket or you're not dressed in a suit, for example.
And I'm thinking about specific roles here, depending on who your profession in your sector, that wouldn't even be a deal. So don't worry about what you shouldn't do. Like I said, you shouldn't overexplain or lie. You shouldn't overexplain your ally if you decide that that's the only way you can get out of the job for a job interview. Oh, don't get sucked into too many details. I can just think of sitcoms and comedies about it. I'm sure like a Seinfield situation. Don't get sucked up into that. Come up with, don't come up with complicated stories. Don't feel guilty. You will show if you have a guilty mindset about going forward, job interview, it will show you have a guilty attitude at work and don't tell people you're looking for a new job. Okay. So that's, sometimes people that are really wonderful people and brave and confident and they feel like they're doing the right thing is that they will tell their managers they are looking for a job.
Okay. And I don't recommend that they, it's a big elephant in the room. Should you tell people to work? You probably have been thinking about that from the moment I started this podcast. And my answer is no way, Jose! And this is my personal opinion. And it's based on things that I've seen and heard and experienced over time. And the other thing too, even if you have a great job culture and you completely think that there will be no problem telling people that you are looking around, it's not fair on anyone that you tell. I don't think it's fair when you are a manager. So I've been a manager who was people that, report it to me, told me that they were looking when I am planning ahead, and I am strategizing for the next year and the next budget. I have a whole bunch of projects and deadlines and things, and it's not fair to ask me not to tell other people because when I'm planning things, I can't count on you, right?
If you're leaving plus if, and they can't count on you, if you don't leave, you will be stuck there with me. If I'm a manager or a colleague and it will be awkward for me, find me your colleague or your manager that I can't tell everyone. So I'll end up telling if I'm a manager, I have to tell a manager, look, there's a chance such and such, or so when we're planning for this project, we need to take that into account. How do you know? Well, they told right, they may start reconsidering your motivation and interest in your job. , and if they have to give an opportunity for somebody, if you have told them that you're leaving, they will give an opportunity to somebody else. So let's say there is a leadership summit happening, and if they know that you are looking around and applying for jobs, you're not going to be invited for that summit.
They will invite somebody else. I'm just an example. It can be, it really can negatively affect your ability to get an internal promotion or an interesting project. And this could be a way for you to continue a career progression. It's actually the best way to continue a career progression. I will keep you posted by email on future resources, podcasts, webinars, and other things that I'm firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll keep talking about this topic specifically because I think this is one of the trickiest ones for people that are still looking for work whilst working somewhere else. , not only because it's hard not to tell people, it's hard to carve the time to actually do the job applications and do a great job at following up and, and it has to become part of your routine, right? And doing that is tricky. So I really want to support people that are going through that situation.
So, it's really about marketing and selling you as a service to your future employer, and finding the right way of letting people know, is really tricky. So spell it out that you're leaving is probably not the best thing to do. , all right. I guess that's it for today. Ask me anything. Just find me on social media. , leave a comment, email me, and I shall sort of considering what you're saying. I have a few ideas about incorporating questions in the future from listeners. And I'd love to have a batch of them to do a couple of the episodes on those. And you will find on the top 10 tips guide in the, in the episode notes. Have a look, and I'll see you next time. Thank you. Bye.
About the Host
Hello, I’m Renata Bernarde, the Host of The Job Hunting Podcast. I’m also an executive coach, job hunting expert, and career strategist. I teach professionals (corporate, non-profit, and public) the steps and frameworks to help them find great jobs, change, and advance their careers with confidence and less stress.
If you are an ambitious professional who is keen to develop a robust career plan, if you are looking to find your next job or promotion, or if you want to keep a finger on the pulse of the job market so that when you are ready, and an opportunity arises, you can hit the ground running, then this podcast is for you.
In addition to The Job Hunting Podcast, , on my website, I have developed a range of courses and services for professionals in career or job transition. And, of course, I also coach private clients.
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