Monday, July 8, 2013

Asking For Personal Concessions During the Interview Process

What happens if, during the interview process for reasons of bad timing, there could be something that might conflict with your ability to start a new job? You worry about saying anything that will jeopardize your chances of maintaining a good impression, especially if you are to be the one selected to receive a job offer. 

Perhaps you already had plans to attend a wedding out of town or have a vacation    planned in advance; reservations are made, airline tickets are bought and paid for. Or you have some exams coming up or a certification training class that will boost your value to a company, but you find yourself in the midst of the interview process. There are positive signs and they imply that if selected they’d like for you to start immediately. So what do you do, miss this opportunity? Maybe not. 

If it is something that you can’t, or really, really, really don’t want to cancel, the mistake many people make is to put it off and wait ‘til the end of the hiring process because they fear the admission won’t go over well, which often is the case. Or, they opt for the other extreme and spill everything in the first interview and then wonder why they didn’t get a call back. So what can you do, how can you interview in good faith, concentrating your efforts on proving why you’re the best person rather than a preoccupation with something of a potential problem that, once revealed, could mess it all up for you? 

I suggest you don’t bring it up at the first interview; the function of the first interview is to learn more about the job and they also want to get to know you. Who knows, afterward you may determine you don’t really want to go any further in the process and they may feel the same about you. However, once you have a second interview scheduled, it is between this point and before there is talk of a job offer when money and benefits are discussed. It is during this time to tell them you are interested but there is an issue of timing that could be a problem; however, you hope it can be dealt with in a mutually agreeable manner. Of course, there is always the chance they will not want to proceed and they may choose someone else – that is up to them. However, very often I have witnessed hiring managers will work with a person in whom they are interested and would like to hire,  as long as the applicant didn’t play any games with them, it’s not a deal killer.  

So if perhaps you were interviewing for a job that would potentially begin at the beginning of next month and you have a vacation planned for the third week of the same month, will that mess things up? It depends. You could make the hiring manager aware of it and instead of delaying a start date or removing yourself from consideration, you could suggest the following as just one possibility: “Is it possible I could start, get on board and meet my co-workers, then take my vacation (or whatever) as planned and get down to business as soon as I return?” If you’ve had a chance to demonstrate your suitability, but have not waited until a point at which they’ll feel you’ve not been open and honest with them, you might be surprised that they will work with you. Of course it is a gamble to some degree, but your alternative is to withdraw from the process, and why do that without first leveling with them, trying to make this a mutually agreeable and beneficial solution?
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