Help! How do I get time off to attend an interview?

Dear Aunty,

I recently received a call from a company that I applied to and am finding it difficult to tell my current employer that I’ve got interviews to attend. How do I go about this?

Please I need help.

Aunty says,

I understand why you are finding it difficult to tell your current employer. You do not want to upset your employer but you do not want to miss out on other jobs. There are many options open to you and I have listed them below so that you may consider the most appropriate one for you.

1. Be open and tell your employer

Some employers may be willing to allow you to take time off to attend job interviews. For example, if the interview is for an internal vacancy or if you are being made redundant. Furthermore, if you have a positive relationship with your employer they may be happy to see you exploring different career opportunities. However, remember that you should also consider that you might receive a negative response should you choose to tell them.

2. Interview before or after work

You could try to arrange your interviews for before or after work. Recruiters understand that candidates often find it hard to get time off work so may be willing to grant such a request. If they are not able to grant such a request then be polite and explore your other options.

3. Interview at lunchtime

Depending on the location and duration of the interview it may be possible to attend during your regular lunch break. If there is insufficient time during your regular lunch break you could request an extended lunch break to attend run an errand/attend an appointment.

4. Take annual leave

Some people prefer to take a day (or half day) of their annual leave entitlement in order to attend job interviews. If you choose this option you do not have to tell your employer why you want to take the annual leave. However, your employer may become suspicious if you are regularly taking a day or half day of your annual leave entitlement.

5. Be Absent

Often people make up an excuse to explain their absence from work in order to attend a job interview. Common excuses include ill health, transport problems etc. Making up an excuse is a risk. You run the risk of a colleague or employer uncovering your excuse, which could jeopardize your current employment.

Whatever option you choose I hope that this information will be of use to you and wish you all the best for the future.

Best wishes,


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