When you booked that vacation months ago, chances are you weren’t thinking about having to bring it up in a job interview. Life is messy, situations can change quickly  and you can’t always control when opportunities arise. While it can be an uncomfortable thing to bring up, there’s no reason to let your plans throw off your job interview mojo. By planning ahead, you can still knock your job interview out of the park, and enjoy you carefully made plans, too! 

Determine Your Priorities

First off, it’s important to determine how high of a priority this vacation or other obligation truly is to you. For example, if you have flights booked for your daughter’s destination wedding that’s happening next month, it could be difficult to change those plans. However, a weekend getaway that was recently planned “just because” might be easier to reschedule.

Timing Is Everything

Next, finding the right time in the interview process to bring up potential scheduling conflicts is key. You wouldn’t want to lead off your first phone interview saying, “Before I begin, I just want you to know that I’ll be lounging on a beach for the next month.” Instead, try to strategically plan to mention your vacation plans a little later along the way. If possible, wait until you’re at least few rounds deep into the interview process to make your move, with a verbal offer on the table being ideal.

Choose Your Words Carefully

When crafting the way you’ll bring up your vacation situation, it’s all about appearing flexible to your future employer, rather than making demands. In the same way that you prepare your responses to potential job interview questions, practice how you will phrase your concerns to the hiring manager ahead of time.

It is important to express that you are committed to the organization and ready to make an impact, while still addressing your desire to keep your plans. Framing it as, “I just want you to know…” will ensure that its on their radars, without coming off as pushy a non-negotiable demand.

Decision Time

End of the day, if the organization has a major need that requires you to start at a specific time, you might have some difficult decisions to make. It’s better to be honest up front than to have an even more difficult discussion with your manager after starting in a new role.

When it comes down to it, you’ll most likely want to work with an organization that recognizes the importance of family, friends and maintaining strong, healthy relationships. If your request is reasonable and brought up in an appropriate manner, hopefully your future employer will understand. If not, it could be a sign to look elsewhere for your next opportunity.

Have you ever had to mention a vacation or other scheduling conflicts in a job interview? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comment section below!