pre-planned vacation when job hunting

A reader writes:

I was laid off without warning two weeks ago. Luckily, I have some interviews lined up. Trouble is, I was planning on going to a wedding around the July 4th holiday. The wedding is on the 6th, and it’s out of state, so I’d need the 7th off to travel. Is there any way I can ask for that day off of work when I don’t even have a job yet? I’m afraid that if I mention it in the interview, I won’t get the job because I’ll sound like I need time off all the time. But if I wait until after the interview, I feel like that’s dishonest. Is there any professional way to ask for that day off without hurting my chances at the hire? If so, when should I bring it up? Thanks for any suggestions you have. I’ve been tearing my hair out.

Leave your hair alone. This sort of thing happens all the time and employers aren’t going to be put off by it.

Don’t bring it up in the interview stage; it would be premature then. The time to raise it is once a company makes you an offer. At that point, just explain that you have pre-existing travel plans that will require you being away during the 7th and ask if this would be okay. Offer to take the day without pay if you won’t have accrued vacation time by that point. 99.9% of the time, this is going to be a non-issue to the employer. (Especially since you’re only talking about one day. This same advice would apply even if your pre-arranged trip was for a week, but one day is nothing.)

Seriously, this happens all the time. It’s not an issue. (It can, however, be an issue if you don’t bother to mention it until after you start. Mention it during the offer conversations.)

{ 8 comments… read them below }

  1. HR Minion*

    I agree, I see this all the time and there’s never been a problem with it. Don’t bother bringing it up in the interview, it doesn’t matter at that point.

  2. Rachel - Employment File*

    This happens frequently and has never been a problem in my experience. In some jobs it may be if there is a time sensitive project but for the most part don’t worry about it.

  3. Anonymous*

    What about a pre-planned 3 week trip? I was on contract and did not know if I would be hired.

  4. Ask a Manager*

    Anonymous, I think the same advice applies. Just let them know when the offer is made to switch you from contract to regular staff that this vacation has been pre-planned. Except in the most unusual of circumstances, it will be fine.

  5. Anonymous*

    Thank you, I have a two day trip planned (& paid for) in November, and a job interview this afternoon! I was fairly sure this was the way to proceed, and this helped me feel more secure about it. :D

  6. Brian*

    I loved reading this. I was freaking out about potentially getting an offer tomorrow and not having told them about my week cruise in Feb. I was going to tell them when I received the offer tomorrow, and you made me feel so much better! Thank you for your answers on this! PHEWW!

  7. Allison*

    Thank you for this advice! I have an interview on Monday and was worrying about this. One question though, how do you bring it up at the offer? It seems awkward to say “yes I’d like the job, but by the way…”

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      That’s exactly what you say. “I’m very interested. One thing I wanted to mention is that I have a vacation planned for ___. I’d be willing to take the time unpaid, but I wanted to mention it up-front.”

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