Excuses You Can Use to Take Time Off for a Job Interview

How to Get Out of Work for a Job Interview

Businesswoman waiting with legs crossed in lobby
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What's the best way to take time off from work for a job interview? It is typical that you don't want your current employer and co-workers to know you are interviewing elsewhere. But interviews are commonly held during the work day.

What can you do? What's the best strategy for asking for time off without raising a red flag that advertises the fact that you're seeking employment?

Getting Out of Work for a Partial Day for a Job Interview

If you have a flexible work schedule, it's relatively simple.

You can juggle your interviews around your time in the office. It's not always that easy though, especially when you're working a set daily schedule without much flexibility.

Another option is to try to schedule interviews early or late in the day, or at lunch time. You can work with your supervisor or staff to shift your schedule for the day, coming to work earlier or leaving later, so you have time for the interview before or after work or on a long lunch break. You will probably feel compelled to give an excuse for this request unless time-shifting is something you commonly do.

When you know you will be going on job interviews, volunteer for an extra task, meeting, event, a conference of some kind that involves time outside of normal work hours. Then take the extra hours worked as comp time.

If you're interviewing early in the day, here are some excuses to use for being late to work. For afternoon interviews, here are good reasons to leave work early.

Taking a Day Off for a Job Interview

Another alternative, if you can schedule a couple of interviews on one day, is taking a vacation or personal day or another type of excused absence day. You don't have to give an excuse for this, although if your supervisor or coworkers are used to knowing what you do on your days off, you may need one.

It's bound to provoke questions if you normally go into detail and this time you simply make a request with no explanation.

The advantage of this tactic is that you won't have to worry about being on the clock before or after. If you are using earned vacation or comp time, you should have no guilt in using it for this purpose. If you have to wear a uniform at your current job, you won't have to change into and out of it for the interview. You can also take time for a more professional appearance than you may have at your current job, without inciting comments or questions. If you normally wear casual shoes and slacks, you won't have to explain why you're wearing heels and a skirt or a suit and tie.

Excuses for Taking Time Off to Interview

There are a lot of other excuses for not going to work. You can be vague or you can be specific, but it's best to use a plausible reason that you feel comfortable offering. Most importantly, use an excuse that will sound reasonable to your boss. If you think it sounds like you're making it up, your manager will probably be thinking the exact same thing.

  • I'm taking a vacation day.
  • I'm taking a sick day.
  • I'm taking a couple of hours of personal time.
  • I'm picking a friend up from the airport.
  • I need an emergency car repair, home repair, or appliance repair and have to wait for service.
  • I have a plumbing problem.
  • I have a sick child.
  • I have a sick parent.
  • I have a sick pet and need to make a vet appointment.
  • I have to attend a funeral.
  • Doctor's appointment or dental appointment for yourself or a family member.
  • You are getting medical testing or preparing for it.
  • You have a migraine and need to go home.
  • You have a business meeting.
  • You have personal business.
  • You have an appointment with an attorney to get wills, set up a trust, advanced directives, etc.
  • You have a financial planning appointment.

Need More Excuses?

Here are some good excuses you can use for not going to work. Also, take a look at the bad excuses you've heard for missing work, and be sure not to use them. If you need to provide an excuse, here are some samples of letters and emails to use: