I am a chemist who has recently been contacted by a former supervisor to interview at her current company.

My current company has strict deadlines (clinical trials) to meet and is reviewing all requests for paid leave. The company has denied several coworkers requests "for business reasons" (this is the first time I have heard of this happening after over 10 years working here). Coworkers have been coming in even with fevers just to get the work done on time.

In my industry, a full-day interview is the standard. Because of the upcoming deadlines, there is a good chance that I will not be able to get out of coming to work for "personal reasons", and I do not feel comfortable lying to my employer. I should be able to take leave after the deadline passes in two weeks.

What is the best way to approach the company that wants to interview me about delaying the interview?

  • 2
    Hello quimica, and welcome to The Workplace! Stack Exchange is quite a bit different from other sites (like discussion forums or mailing lists), so you may want to take a look at our help center. Generally speaking, questions asking what to do aren't a good fit for the site because they don't inspire answers that explain why or how, and are of limited use to future visitors. I am going to aggressively edit your question to make it fit our guidelines better, but please feel free to edit it yourself if you think I left something important out.
    – jmac
    Oct 2, 2013 at 5:14
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    Just to clarify - you didn't approach this company applying for a job? They contacted you because your former supervisor works there and she has a high opinion of you and wants to headhunt you? In such cases, surely she should be understanding if you just flat out say "can we do this in two weeks time, we have a strict deadline at the moment and I simply cannot take a full day for an interview"? Oct 2, 2013 at 6:46
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    Presumably this new company also does clinical trials, so they should be very understanding of your situation. In fact you will probably look better to them for putting off the interview than for taking time off work during a critical period. Oct 2, 2013 at 14:06
  • Disallowing employees to interview at other companies is sometimes seen as an anti-competitive practice, and may be legally banned. IOW you wouldn't need permission to take a day off for interviewing. Check your local law.
    – MSalters
    Oct 2, 2013 at 17:42
  • @jmac Great edit by the way.
    – Bluebird
    Oct 15, 2017 at 4:32

4 Answers 4


What is the best way to approach the company that wants to interview me about delaying the interview?

Most companies should be flexible on this, did the company you want to interview not say, "what dates would work" or "does date XX work?"

I think you are making this into a much bigger deal than it actually is. Something like:

  • Thanks for the opportunity to interview with Acme Inc! I am definitely interested, however the earliest I would be able to get time off due to a deadline at my current job would be October 16. Does a date this week work?

Is perfectly fine.


What is the best way to approach the company that wants to interview me about delaying the interview?

If the new company is in the same industry as your current company, then they will certainly understand the need to work through the clinical trial period and thus your current unavailability.

Simply tell them that you are excited to talk with them, but that you are unfortunately in the midst of clinical trials and won't be available to interview for 2 weeks.

I suspect they will understand, and schedule your interview accordingly (perhaps on a weekend, or after the 2 week trials).

  • I also think by saying that you are proving your loyalty to the job (your current and hopefully the next one)
    – Rémi
    Oct 2, 2013 at 13:47

Never had any issue being honest:

  • "Sorry, I am busy I am currently on business trip"
  • "Sorry, I am busy I have pretty tight deadlines this week"

and it should not be an issue.

If they drop you because you cannot be available by their "standards", they just don't deserve you.

I know, I may sound "easier said than done" especially if it is a GAFA contacting you but trust me, it's better to be in good conditions than forcing yourself to take the interview in a rush and being not fully prepared for it.

Plus, having some peace of mind and an early sense of cooperation between you and your potential next employer is certainly a "plus".


come out and tell them your company won't let you off. I have done that before. Ask them if you can interview off hours such as evenings or possibly weekends. I have had a couple of weekend interviews in the past. After 6 pm interviews are not that uncommon. Depends on the vendor.

I have not had a problem with this in the past. People get it. They also get why you would want to leave a situation like this.

if a company wont let you have any leave, its a job you really want to leave. Most companies roll vacation and sick time together and when I have been in a job like this, I have used 'i am sick' or 'i have severe pain' as time to go for an interview. I don't care if they get mad.

My foot is out the door. I have heard of people getting screamed at for going to the doctor. Just suck it up and take it. you really want to leave a job that doesn't let you have any time off at all.

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