24 Mar 2014

Interview Porkies...

There seems to have been a bit of press recently around Top excuses for sneaking out of work for a job interview.  According to a survey in Metro a couple of weeks ago, we're a nation of work sneaks.  It's no surprise to me that up to 80% of us have been successful in giving our boss an excuse just so that we can attend an interview at another company.  The survey also highlighted that most of us are also afraid of being busted and interestingly men are more likely to be found out than women.  So here's the most common excuses that were identified...

  1. I have a doctor/dentist appointment (31%)
  2. I’m not feeling very well (15%)
  3. The repairman is coming over so I need to be in (9%)
  4. I’m awaiting a delivery so I need to be in (8%)
  5. I’m having transport issues so I can’t get in (4%)
  6. My child isn’t well and there’s no one to look after him/her (4%)
  7. I have an ill relative and need to look after them (3%)
  8. I need to take my pet to the vet (2%)
  9. My child has a school event I need to attend (2%)
  10. I need to go to a funeral (3%)
It's a tricky thing to get right.  It's much easier if you don't need to make any excuses!  Typically, I'll ask my clients if they can interview out of hours and usually, they are flexible.  We have most interviews taking place at 0800 or 1800 slots.  Some clients, particularly the smaller agencies which are owner managed, will be happy to interview at weekends too.  For candidates who work in the city centre, we'll also try for a lunch hour chat.  It's much easier to tell your boss you're going to be in just a bit late or early or that you need an extra 10 minutes over lunch.  You're not actively taking time off your job to interview so it doesn't feel so deceitful.  
If you're fortunate to have lots of holiday allowance, obviously then it's a good idea to take a half day holiday. This allows you to be more relaxed and less stressed by either the thought of rushing to work post interview or having had a stressful day prior to an interview in the evening.  Clearly if you're going to several interviews, asking for multiple odd days off is going to arouse some suspicion in your boss so try and secure as many interviews on the one day.
There are some clients who are not happy to be flexible on interview times and they can be quite bullish in their approach  - 'if John really wants to work for us, then he is going to pull out all the stops to do it at this time'. When you come up against this, you just have to make a decision about how much you really do want to work for this company and judge for yourself how much effort you're prepared to make.
A good recruiter will do all they can to make the interview process as seamless as possible and they'll work with you to try and find a compromise for both client and candidate.  Sometimes, candidates suggest a telephone interview but in my experience, these can shoot you in the foot.  You can only get a good feel for a role/agency/company by meeting them in the flesh.  If a client wants to interview by phone, it's generally because a lot of client communications will be by phone and they want to check your telephone communication skills before committing to an actual face to face interview.  By and large, I'd always push for a face to face.
Try to save your excuses for when you need them is my advice.  Wherever possible, try to interview out of hours or on a half day holiday.  If you are making excuses, keep them brief and remember what porkies you have told and when.  I remember when I used to manage a large recruitment team, one of the consultants (a man!) was so creative in his excuses, that they just became unbelievable, I think he went to his grandmother's funeral about 6 times!  Bosses do tend to remember this sort of thing....