Being between jobs is a turbulent time filled with many unknowns. You don’t know when you may hear back from interviews or how far down the road a start date may be. If you already have a vacation planned, it could be just the break you need before picking your job hunt up with full steam.
If you hear back about an interview earlier than you thought, a question may be how to bring up travel plans during an interview. You need to be flexible to stay a solid candidate, but travel plans are pricey and often difficult to reschedule. So, how do you navigate around this awkward issue during the application process?
Keep these tips in mind when you need to reveal travel plans during an interview…without burning any bridges!
Wait until the offer
Best practice says you should wait until you have a confirmed “in” before bringing up approaching travel plans. Mentioning it too early before understanding employer’s needs can jeopardize your candidacy. You may be the ideal candidate and fit all the requirements and credentials, but your interviewers may not know this until well along the process. Once the company is sold on your abilities, you’ll have more room to negotiate. You can discuss a later start date or taking the time off, depending on what the employer needs.
Be honest at all times
If the question on availability does come up earlier on in the interview process, the last thing you want to do is be dishonest. You don’t want to get off on the wrong foot and ruin an impression of you by lying. Even if you manage to pull off an untrue statement, your interviewer will eventually find out the truth. When asked of travel plans during an interview before receiving an offer, it’s not game over! Think about these next points.
Bring up your plans with confidence, not guilt and apologies
Don’t present your upcoming travel plans as a roadblock to your candidacy. Instead, they should be a minor point to discuss once you’ve sold yourself. This makes you seem more confident in why you are a good pick, rather than what is potentially a deal breaker. Continue the conversation with additional questions for the interviewer to demonstrate your interest and willingness to negotiate.
Carefully communicate why these travel plans are important
How flexible are you really? Is this a family emergency or a relaxation trip? John Lees, a UK-based career strategist, recommends in the Harvard Business Journal that you should show sensitivity to the employer’s needs. If this job truly is a good mutual match and the employer needs you to start ASAP, the best option may be to postpone the trip and forfeit deposits. Ask yourself if this job opportunity will come up again.
Interviews are crucial steps in an application process. They dig deeper into a candidate’s qualifications and reveal culture fit. Interviews also bring up awkward, yet important questions such as upcoming travel plans and availability. Remember to carefully choose your answer delivery and study up on other potential questions to wow your interviewers!