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During an interview process I said that I had 2 weeks holiday booked in July (but I actually have 3 weeks booked). The job starts in May, so my holiday would happen 2 months into my 6-month probation period. Looking back, I think I did this because I was afraid they would have thrown my application in the bin knowing that I had so much holiday booked.

Now they offered me the job!

What is the best way to resolve this?

  • can I come up with an excuse to explain why my holiday has increased from 2 to 3 weeks?
  • should I be honest and apologise? Is there any way of wording this to save face?
  • etc.

UPDATE T+2 days - I posted this on behalf of a friend, and I have just found out that the 2 weeks holiday that was originally mentioned was done so on the written application form, i.e., was not ever mentioned during the spoken part of the interview process. I think this changes things quite significantly since my friend can easily say that after the application form was sent, their current employer allowed them to extend their holiday from 2 to 3 weeks. I think this is a credible scenario, and doesn't require my friend having to "come clean" or delve into details.

Many thanks for your suggestions.

  • 1
    Since you call it "holiday," not "vacation," I'm guessing you're in Europe. So why did you lie? Everybody takes a lot of vacation/holiday in Europe. It's not an unusual thing. – user1602 Apr 6 at 14:04
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    Holidays are nothing and career is everything. Just modiofy your flights and bookings. If it costs you $1000 that's the cost of doing business. – Fattie Apr 6 at 15:18
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    Cut your holiday short by 1 week. – joeqwerty Apr 6 at 16:09
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    Going to have to disagree with @Fattie - real vacations are important, and having fixed plans before your thoughts get caught up in the one-crisis-after-another of work is a great thing. Unless this offer is a game changingly unique opportunity (vs the likely one of many similar things you will do throughout a modern career), hang onto your holiday plan if that is at all possible to negotiate as part of your acceptance. Once you sign on, you may not be in a similar position to negotiate again. – Chris Stratton Apr 6 at 21:35
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    Just let them know your current plans and that you're willing to negotiate if there's a problem. I once had a company pay for flights to be changed so I could cut a month long holiday down to two weeks. Not everyone is going to do that but it doesn't hurt to ask. – Matthew Barber Apr 8 at 0:28
17

Just tell the truth

I was in a similar situation several times. I never talked about the vacation until I got an offer.

Often you don't know how long it will take them to finalize the offer, so that the vacation might fall into the notice period. On another occurrence I negotiated that I would start one month later. And once I just told them I planned a vacation and they were fine with that. You could also discuss about unpaid leave or if they are willing to pay the costs for postponing it.

Just be open and discuss the options.

  • The job starts in May, and so my 3 weeks of holiday would happen 2 months into my 6-month probation period. Just tell the truth - how might you word this, as I know that this could potentially be a delicate situation? – Ben Apr 6 at 12:25
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    @Ben succinct and clear... You've already mis-stated stuff so don't repeat the error. – Solar Mike Apr 6 at 12:40
  • @Ben can you clarify, surely this would be unpaid leave - is that right? – Fattie Apr 6 at 23:40
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    @Ben I was thinking about the wording since your comment, but I think you don't have to be specially careful. Just be polite and state the facts. – Chris Apr 7 at 17:51
  • Have marked this as correct answer in the context of the original question. However, with updated information, I think there's a lot more scope to be "economical" with the truth. As immoral as that may sound, I think a white lie will save face, and neither party gets unnecessarily hurt. – Ben Apr 8 at 20:00
3

No matter how you approach it or try to explain it, you are basically looking for permission to take three weeks.

You don't have to say why -- you can simply ask:

"Would it be ok if I were to take a three-week holiday instead of two?"

If they say yes, problem solved.

If they say no, then you have to decide whether to take the job or the holiday.

  • 2
    Did they notice in the first instance that he said he head three weeks? He can simply apporach them, thnakink for the offer and reminding them he said he had a vacation planned. It's the three weeks from ... to ... – Bernhard Döbler Apr 8 at 8:00
  • @BernhardDöbler it looks like he explicitly told them 2 weeks? – mcknz Apr 8 at 14:46
2

First of all, it seems unlikely that a company would pass on a good candidate that has 3 weeks of vacation booked. Everyone takes days off, and timing it with job search is hard, so there was no good reason to lie about it. Now that you've got the job, it also seems unlikely to me that they would withdraw your offer once they learn you have 3 weeks of vacation booked instead of 2. Nevertheless, the right thing to do is to talk to your supervisor as soon as possible to get things straight. Just apologize and propose to cut your vacation down to 2 weeks to make up for it.

Hey boss, I mentioned before that I'm going on vacation for 2 weeks in May. Well, it's actually 3 weeks, apologies for the misinformation. I'd very much like to stick to my plan, but I'm ready to cut my vacation down to 2 weeks if necessary.

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