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Does your boss know you’re here today?

This question is sometimes asked as “How is it you can attend an interview during business hours,” but the meaning is the same. Your resume shows the interviewer you’re still employed, so they want to know how you treat a current employer as a clue to how you’ll treat them if they become your employer.

One answer to avoid is:
“I called in sick.”

Companies don’t want unreliable workers. If you’d lie to one employer, you’ll lie to the next. Adding an explanation of how bad the current employer is only makes you sound like a whining employee.

“They change my hours without notice, and often ask me, more like tell me, to work on a weekend without any notice. So I don’t consider it a big deal to take a sick day to look for a better job.” That answer won’t get you the job, but it probably will shorten the interview. Thanks for making the selection process easier by eliminating yourself from contention.

A good answer to this involves using vacation time for the interview.

Vacation:
“I saved up a few vacation days so I could use them for interviews. That’s why I needed a little bit of notice, so I could give my employer notice of a vacation day.”

This answer shows concern for the employer, and pre-planning – those actions are indicative of qualities companies want in employees. But this answer is equally as positive.

“I certainly wouldn’t take any paid time off to interview with someone else, so I requested some unpaid leave. They’re very flexible about that sort of thing.” One danger with this answer is that it may make you appear too honest – too good to be true – and lead an interviewer to not believing you.

There are other good answers too.

Out of vacation:
“I used up all my paid days off, so I asked for an unpaid off day. ” It’s similar to the last answer, but without the aspect of not wanting to interview while being paid by another company. This answer shows you’re dealing with a reality in a way that’s still respectful to your employer.

It’s a reality that people want to move up in their careers. Some employers understand that.

Told them I’m interviewing:
“My current employer understands that I’m looking for a better position. They don’t have a job with more responsibility for me, so they’re more than willing to let me take time for interviews as long as I complete my work, and make up the time later. I’ve also agreed that if I take the job, I’ll help select and train my replacement.”

This is the craziest answer ever given to this question. “He’s across the street in the restaurant – he thinks I’ve stepped outside for a phone call.”

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