November 7, 2009
Should you mention your upcoming vacation in an interview?
Earlier this week, I received an e-mail from a job seeker concerned that an upcoming vacation he'd booked ages ago might cost him the "perfect fit" dream job he's interviewing for this month.
When I say this guy has an upcoming vacation planned, I don't mean some easy-to-reschedule four-day weekend on a friend's couch in Portland next month. I mean 10 nonrefundable days overseas several months from now.
"Should I tell my potential employer about this at the interview?" our intrepid interviewee wrote. "I feel like this could possibly dissuade or discourage them in the hiring process."
At the same time, our interviewee suspected that waiting to tell the employer about his vacation plans until after being hired would come off as sneaky. In his words, "I'm worried they may feel duped."
There is of course a third and much better option.
"You should disclose any time off at the offer stage, not at the interview stage," says Kristen Fife, a Seattle-area recruiter in the healthcare industry. "If you are upfront about this, most employers are understanding."
Seattle interview coach Lewis Lin agrees that disclosing this information when you're offered the job is the way to go.
"Honesty and transparency is always the best policy," Lin said. "For most hiring managers, a pre-planned, 1.5 week vacation [several months from now] is not a big deal. They'll appreciate your thoughtfulness and straightforward communication."
That said, there are some circumstances in which disclosing the details of your travel plans before receiving the job offer is best. For example, the job involves overseeing an important product launch or preparing for a key industry trade show the same month as your trip.
"Taking a 1.5 week vacation then could be an issue," Lin says. "Better to figure out with your hiring manager how you can manage your vacation plans along with the important deadline sooner rather than surprise him later."
One more word to the wise: Remember to sound more excited about the job offer than your vacation plans. Offer to work overtime in the weeks leading up to your trip if you must. Employers want to hire people invested in their corporate mission, not someone just looking to collect a paycheck they can use to pay off their travel costs.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant based in the Seattle area.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
- career profile (169)
- cool jobs (74)
- education and training (63)
- entry level (70)
- etiquette (108)
- events (71)
- featured (442)
- finding your passion (98)
- health care (76)
- interviewing (91)
- job fairs (61)
- management (96)
- market trends (92)
- networking (286)
- resumes (103)
- salary (85)
- social media (94)
- technology (118)
- unemployment (57)
- work/life balance (93)