Looking for a position while employed presents some unique challenges. Your excitement at being called in for an interview may be cut short by your apprehension about how to arrange your absence. Here are a few tips:
1. Don’t Overthink It—or Over Explain It. Say, “I need the afternoon off. I have an appointment.” That’s it. Don’t fabricate a story or fuss about how you hope it’s no trouble. Keep it simple and short.
2. Be Aware of Your Nonverbals. It’s natural to feel a little nervous about asking for time off to visit another company, as though you are hiding something. Realize that it is well within your rights to explore your career options. Don’t allow nervousness or defensiveness to communicate more than you intend when you announce your absence. Be brief and then give a smile.
3. Be Considerate. Don’t schedule your interview in the middle of an important meeting or chaotic day when you are needed. You are still an employee of your company and should seek to schedule the interview at a time that works best for you, your interviewer, and present employer. This has a side bonus of not drawing undue attention to your absence.
4. Be Strategic, Not Hasty. While you may want to discuss the fact that you are exploring other options with your supervisor, it’s best to wait until either until you are made a finalist and others at the organization are aware of your interview or until you have been offered a job. Perhaps the additional challenge you seek can be found internally at your present company. You will have more information and leverage once you know that a position has been offered.
5. Enjoy the Process. Whether or not you receive or accept an offer, you are in a strong position when job searching as an employed person. Having the luxury of multiple options allows you to reflect on what you really want out of your career and make decisions accordingly.