Finding Time to Interview When You Work Full-time

Rebecca writes:
I have a question regarding interviews. I currently have a full time job but am
looking for something new. Unfortunately in just the few phone calls I have
made it seems as though most companies interview between 9 and 5.
How should I handle this? Is it rude to try to make an appointment for earlier
or later? For companies near my office I can schedule an interview during my
lunchtime but some places that are farther away might take half a day of travel.
I only have a limited amount of vacation time and while one or two days for a
viable job option would be fine I don’t want to waste all my vacation days on jobs
that might not pan out! What is the typical protocol on this?

The Career Doctor responds:
Yours is a very common misconception among job-seekers. Many if not most
employers are willing to work around the schedule of their top candidates. Thus
many employers are willing to schedule before- and after-hours job interviews…
and some will even sacrifice the lunch hour to schedule interviews. So when you
get to that point of scheduling interviews simply ask the employer for a
convenient time for both of you.
As for the employment opportunities where the prospective employer is located
some distance from where you work and live… that’s a different issue. It’s
obvious for these interviews you will need to burn a personal day or
vacation day. No question. But you can avoid using up all those days by being
very selective in applying for jobs that require that kind of commitment.
Remember you should be taking a narrow approach to your job-search selectively
choosing only the best opportunities in terms of fit with the job and employer.
Don’t waste your time or a prospective employer’s time by applying for jobs that
you really have little interest in. And don’t ever use sick days to go on job interviews;
it is not only unethical but could come back to haunt you if discovered.
One other strategy to follow if you have several out-of-town opportunities assuming
they are in the same far-off city is to attempt to schedule all of them in a two-day
period… that way you can get them done in two days while spending the night there
and staying fresh and focused on your task at hand.
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