A new global poll conducted by Monster, the worldwide leader in successfully connecting people to job opportunities and flagship brand of Monster Worldwide, Inc. finds that 44% of respondents consider telling their boss they have a medical appointment to be the best excuse to leave work for a job interview. Another health related excuse, illness, was the second most popular choice at 15%.

Monster asked “If you had to pick one, which is the best excuse to leave work for a job interview?” and received over 3,000 responses. International findings included:

  • 44% of respondents answered “Medical (Doctor/Dentist) appointment”
  • 15% of respondents answered “Illness”
  • 8% of respondents answered “Delivery/repairman”
  • 12% of respondents answered “Childcare”
  • 21% of respondents answered “Other”

Breaking down the numbers by region- French respondents are the most likely to create faux doctor’s appointments when sneaking out for interviews, with 54% answering that they believe it is the best excuse; conversely, French respondents are the least likely to fake an illness to excuse an interview related absence, with only 7% selecting it as the best option. Respondents in the US were the biggest proponents of the call in sick method, with 16% choosing illness as their preferred excuse. Canadian respondents were the least likely to use a delivery/repairman excuse, with under 7% selecting this option and were the most inclined to use a childcare related excuse, with 16% picking this answer.

“Our research has indicated that employed workers continue to actively look for jobs. Juggling both a job and a job hunt can be tricky. Fortunately, finding a balance is easier than ever,” said Mary Ellen Slayter, Career Advice Expert for Monster. “Many parts of your job hunt- from researching industries and companies, to finding open positions and submitting applications- can be accomplished online and off the clock. Ultimately, the goal is to land (and then ace!) an interview; don’t let scheduling details distract you during this important step. You should be focused on making a great first impression and learning more about your potential new job, not on playing secret agent. If your interview cannot be conducted off hours (don’t be afraid to ask), keep your excuse simple and be mindful of obvious signs that you’re sneaking out- for instance, wearing a formal interview outfit to your normally casual workplace.”

Slayter continues, “Employers should recognize that they have no choice but to be on both sides of this coin. Making it easy for people to be honest is a good approach. That means when you’re recruiting, make an effort to schedule interviews before or after work hours — or perhaps at lunch. With your own workers, don’t press them about how they’re spending their requested time off.”

Tips for job interviewing while still employed:

  • Speak with the potential employer. Consider asking for a slot first thing in the morning or in the early evening to cut down on absence time. Some employers may even offer slots outside of working hours if you ask – and they’ll respect your dedication and work-ethic.
  • There is no need to lie. Think of using words like ‘appointment’ or ‘commitment’ that don’t invite a lot of questions but equally aren’t untrue. The problem with citing medical appointments is that they are questionable after a while – especially when you’re looking fit and healthy.
  • Utilize your time. If you have the opportunity to work flexi-time then consider using that option to ensure you don’t need to miss work at all. Alternatively, see if you can take a day or even half a day’s annual leave and line up more than one interview for the same day.