Vacations and interviewing - withhold or tell the whole story?
May 2, 2008 7:25 PM   Subscribe

I'm interviewing for jobs. I've stated that I can work immediately (which is true), but I have a week-long trip at the end of May. Should I disclose this at my interviews? Does my going on a trip lessen my chance of getting the job if I do say something?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (16 answers total)
Playing it safe by disclosing the scheduled trip is not only courteous to the employer and shows diligence on your part, but could avoid problems with possible 'earned time off' policies which only allow you to take vacation time after paying in a proportional number of work days.
posted by datacenter refugee at 7:37 PM on May 2, 2008

you should say something. it is hard to find the right person for a job, so if they want you as a good fit, the 1 wk is unlikely to make any difference. just say it very gently.
posted by edtut at 7:37 PM on May 2, 2008

Just say, "I can start June 1."

In job search terms, that's REALLY soon. Nobody is going to turn you down except in extraordinary circumstances if you are well-qualified.
posted by rachelpapers at 7:39 PM on May 2, 2008

"I can start immediately, however I do have a prior commitment at the end of May which I will have to meet."
posted by Jairus at 7:41 PM on May 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

How about: "I can start June 1, but if you need me to come in during the first three weeks of May, I could do that for you."
posted by Vaike at 7:55 PM on May 2, 2008

depends on the job. Is there an advantage to starting right away ( other than a couple pay checks)

Some employers would find it "disruptive" to have you take a week off so soon. Really it would be taking off your third week at this point ( anyone that offered you a job next would probably expect you to start the following week at the earliest).

i agree with others that say put it out there upfront, but you should also be willing to start after the trip if that's what they would prefer
posted by Mr_Chips at 8:34 PM on May 2, 2008

Seconding Vaike. I did that at my current job - came in for a few days immediately (I had been freelancing) and said I had some other loose ends to tie up. Actually, I took a ten-day road trip.
posted by notsnot at 9:01 PM on May 2, 2008

Good rule of thumb. The more the job pays, the less disclosing your planned trip will matter in getting picked. Taco Bell? They want someone ASAP to backfill the latest person that quit. Senior Partner at a Law Firm? They want YOU, and will wait.

Random thought number two. There's a high probability that any employer that would exclude from you consideration because of the trip would also fire you if you were hired after withholding the information.

The best approach here is to say you're available to start immediately, BUT have a prior commitment out of town between dates X and Y that can't be rescheduled.
posted by alan at 10:05 PM on May 2, 2008

I was in the same situation, and the way I handled it was to not mention it in the interview, but save it for the conversation where I was offered the job. I didn't want to just accept the position knowing that I'd be asking for time off a month in (which would be annoying at *best*) but I also didn't want to prejudice their view of me in the interview. So if I were you, I wouldn't bring it up unless and until they offer the position - at which point you can say some variation of "oh yes! but before we finalize anything, I do have to let you know that I have a trip scheduled and paid for and it wouldn't be right to accept without letting you know about it but I do hope it'll be ok...." If it's not ok, then they're weird, and you're better off in another job anyhow.
posted by moxiedoll at 10:20 PM on May 2, 2008

I'd find it very odd if I hired you today and you said "oh, by the way, I'm off for a week in May." Normally, you don't go on vacation the first month at a new job - you're too busy coming up to speed and getting to know the people you're working with.

That said, anything is negotiable before you accept. I'd say up front to the prospective employer that you have a prior one-week obligation at the end of May, but that you'd prefer to start now if possible to get up to speed.
posted by zippy at 11:36 PM on May 2, 2008

I took a week off right after I started my most recent job. What could I do? I had already made plans. Just be open about it and come in before your vacation if you can - everyone has a life, and you usually can't anticipate when a new job will start, it will be fine.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 2:53 AM on May 3, 2008

Moxiedoll is the winner. Save the news of your unavailability for the call when they offer you the job. You can at that point let them know that you will be unavailable between x and y. That maintains the integrity of the interview.
posted by micklaw at 4:27 AM on May 3, 2008

I took off for a week at the beach two weeks into my current job. When we got to the offer stage, I told them I had the vacation planned, non-refundable deposit on house, etc and asked if I could delay starting until after vacation. They preferred to have me get started immediately and then take a weeks paid vacation after only working for two weeks.

So bring it up when negotiating the offer.
posted by COD at 4:52 AM on May 3, 2008

I did the same thing as The Light Fantastic and COD. When we got to the negotiation phase (before they made me a former offer, but after we were done with interviews) I told them I had a vacation planned, we'd bought the tickets, and my wife's schedule was tied to an academic calendar and completely inflexible. Not only was it not a problem, they gave me an extra week's vacation for my first year to cover it.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 6:28 AM on May 3, 2008

The only time I know of a planned vacation making sure someone didn't get a job was when (a) the two candidates were pretty much equal, (b) it was a temporary position, and (c) the scheduled vacation was RIGHT during "the busy season."

If that's not your issue, you're probably fine.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:48 AM on May 4, 2008

I had prior plans like this when applying for both my current job and my last job. I brought it up casually as part of the answer to when I'd be able to start ("I'll be ready next week, but I do have a trip already planned at the end of May that I'll need to be away for"), which was generally late in the interview or (as moxiedoll said) when they offered me the job. It was never a problem, and I felt like it made it easier to schedule the time off.
posted by moss at 2:49 PM on May 4, 2008

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