How To Schedule Job Interviews When You’re Working Full-Time

Dear Liz,

I’m working full-time but I have to get a better job.

I put out the word that I’m looking and I’ve heard from several recruiters, but I’m running into a snag.

The recruiters get impatient with me when I tell them I can’t interview between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. I leave my job at 5:00 so I don’t want to schedule any job interviews before 5:30.

I have to be careful. I can’t afford to lose my job before I get a new one.

As it is, I’ll have to go into the ladies room at Starbucks and put on makeup before an interview because my supervisor will be suspicious if she sees me looking like I have somewhere special to go.

One recruiter said “Why don’t you take a sick day?” I only get four sick days a year. Why would I take a day off work to go to a one-hour interview?

Another recruiter told me that her clients will not schedule any interviews after five p.m. She said her client told her “It’s the candidate’s problem to solve, not ours.”

Don’t employers understand that people who are working full-time have to interview after hours?

Thanks Liz –


Dear Grace,

One of the ironic things about recruiting is that employers talk about how much they love candidates who are already employed, but then they get affronted when a candidate says “I have a job — I can’t interview during working hours!”

Of course you can’t call in sick every time you have a job interview. You would soon be out of sick days if you did that, and your employer would soon lose patience with you.

Anyway, employers need to understand that you already have a job. You can’t come to an interview at ten a.m. or two in the afternoon.

If they can’t understand that, they are not good business people. You deserve to work for smarter people!

I was an HR leader for millennia. I interviewed gazillions of people after hours. I traveled cross-country to meet candidates. I met them at odd hours and in random places, because that is what a recruiting job requires.

One time a candidate told me “I want to learn more about the job opening at your company, but I can’t sneak out of work and after work, I have to help my wife with the kids.”

The guy had baby twins. I had baby twins myself at the time, so I knew what he was talking about. I said “What time and place would be convenient for you?”

He said “Seriously, the best time for me would be midnight, but nothing is open then except Denny’s.”

I said “Cool — Denny’s at midnight it is.” I met the guy at Denny’s at midnight and we had pancakes, and we hired him for a software development job.

Recruiting is a sales and marketing job, but some employers don’t understand that.

If they like your resume but they don’t want to be flexible about scheduling your interview, walk away. They don’t deserve you. They wouldn’t appreciate their own employees calling in sick to go interview somewhere else.

Any HR Manager, hiring manager or recruiter can meet you a 5:45 or six p.m.

If they are put out by that request, drop out of the recruiting pipeline.

Over the long run, companies that understand the importance of talent will prosper and companies that don’t will limp along or go out of business.

You can only afford to work for the first kind!

All the best,


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