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I am in the process of applying for a job. The advert specifies the interview dates will fall during a particular week, but I am currently only available one day that week (as a result of national holidays and a conference in a different part of the country I am already registered to attend).

I assume the best course of action is to email the specified contact for the vacancy as early as possible to explain this and ask whether an appointment on the one available day is a possibility (or rescheduling to the following week), but I'm concerned that sounds like I'm being arrogant and assuming that I'll get an interview. Leaving it until later will either exclude me from the job (if it can't be rescheduled) or create additional hassle for the company (to reschedule). What course of action is likely to go down best with the employer?

(The advertised vacancy is with the UK civil service; examples involving this employer or similar will be most helpful.)

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    I think attending a conference is a great reason to ask for a rescheduling of an interview. It shows that you are interested in learning and improving your skills. Plus it is an excellent conversation starter at the interview. – spickermann May 6 '18 at 11:50
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    Making a big deal out of contacting them in some special way, like trying to call the CEO to let him know your schedule, may seem arrogant, but just including your availablility in your cover email/letter, or sending a short email to HR letting them know, does not. – Chan-Ho Suh May 6 '18 at 15:14
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Include in your application a note explaining that why you would prefer to attend the interviews on one particular day of the week there being scheduled. Also point out that you can be very flexible any other week.

Most good companies don't want to limit their pool of candidates to people who are not busy. The public sector may be more of a stickler for following a the process. In any case, the worst that can happen is they say you must come some day which is inconvenient. Asking this one question so insignificant compared to all the reasons they will use to decide to interview you that you shouldn't worry about it. What's more, too many people are too afraid to ask for what they need from employers it causes problems for everyone in the long run.

Assuming you will get an interview isn't arrogant, its confidence that on paper you have what it takes to do the job. That’s a good trait.

(Note: I've never worked in the UK or as an employee of a government agency. I have worked in Ireland.)

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    I have been the interviewer in UK public sector. I will try to accommodate you, subject to having all members of the panel available on another date. I have already selected you from the applicant pool so I'm not going to throw away a potential good hire just because of a schedule difficulty. – user16259 May 7 '18 at 7:24
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When to ask about rescheduling job interview?

I would only do this if you absolutely have to. You are trying to find employment, and each time you reschedule you take the chance that someone could take the open slot before they talk to you.

Long story short, unless your going to lose a lot of money or its an emergency keep you appointment. ( Or in your case be available when the employer [hiring folks] need you to be )

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Ask this question if and when the employer has contacted you and wants to schedule an interview. At that point, either

  1. They will schedule an interview on the day you're available or
  2. They'll agree to interview you some other time or
  3. They'll demand you interview at some other time during that week when you're not available.

If they demand that you interview at some other time during that week:

  1. Make it clear to the interviewer why attending this interview in person is not your top priority.
  2. Request to do a phone interview instead at that time slot.
  3. If they're not convinced, there is no way to both attend the conference and get this job, sorry.

With this solution you've done everything possible to get the job. There is no point in worrying about it further. Instead of worrying about this detail, put your efforts into improving your application, networking, and applying for other jobs.

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