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Balancing a remote interview with a full time job

6th Oct 2020
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If you’re reading this because you have a job interview coming up, then first of all, congratulations – landing an interview is always good news. It represents a potential exciting new step in your career and is a good opportunity to build your confidence as a professional.

Many accountancy employers are offering virtual interviews considering the current climate, which might be more convenient as you won’t need to travel anywhere. However, you’ll still need to make ample time to prepare and attend the interview – which can be tricky to fit in alongside responsibilities in your current role. Here are some queries you might have and the approach I recommend taking.

Can I request a time for the interview?

This is a conversation which usually needs to happen prior to the interview being arranged and can be easier said than done. However, if possible, try to request that the interview takes place either early in the morning, during your lunch break or after work.

The key thing is to let your recruiter or the hiring manager know as soon as possible. Explain the situation and request some alternative dates and times. Most employers understand that it can be difficult to attend interviews during normal working hours, and so should be as flexible on dates and times as they can. Plus, by asking to rearrange to a more convenient time outside of standard business hours, you show the employer that you are a loyal and honest employee who doesn’t want to let their colleagues or clients down, which is positive.

Do I need to take time off?

If you have flexibility around the hours you work, usually making time for a remote interview is fairly straight forward.  I would advise plotting out your time in advance so that you ensure you meet your daily or weekly objectives before going offline for your interview. You want to give your full attention and focus to your interviewer, so being organised and getting things done in advance will pay off. If it’s appropriate, perhaps make yourself unavailable in your calendar for the duration of the interview.

However, if you don’t have flexible hours or are based partly or fully in an office, it can be trickier to make the time without worrying about the ramifications of doing so. This brings me on to my next point about taking time off.

Should I use my annual leave?

In most cases I would recommend booking the full day of the interview, or half the day, off as annual leave. This way, you can dedicate your full attention to the upcoming interview and do whatever you need to get in the right frame of mind, rather than being distracted by current projects or deadlines you are working towards.

If you are able to plan ahead, you could also schedule any other upcoming interviews on the same day, or use the time to work through any other applications you might be doing.

Is it better to be upfront or vague with my manager?

If the time of your remote interview requires you to take time off, it can be tempting to pretend to have a doctor’s appointment, call in sick or come up with an elaborate story about your absence. But so long as you are complying with your flexible hours or have approved annual leave, then I don’t recommend this as a course of action. Although you shouldn’t have to justify your absence, if you do find yourself wanting to give a reason then it’s best to be vague rather than lie and compromise your integrity.

It’s becoming more common for organisations to adopt an open and honest culture about career paths, so as a result, more managers now feel comfortable having these conversations with their employees. If you feel it’s appropriate and have already had a similar discussion with your boss, you may want to tell them that you have an interview scheduled. Only do this though if you feel comfortable and consider holding back specifics until you have been offered the job.

At first, the prospect of a remote interview might throw a bit of a spanner into the works. However, with careful consideration about making time for the interview, you’ll be able to get into the right mindset, put your best foot forward and perform at your very best.

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By Sharpdx
18th Jan 2021 07:57

Thank you so much for this information. I have a job interview next week and to be honest, I'm really scared. The article made me feel more confident.

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