What excuse can I give for going to interview?

2013-05-11 01:00

What excuse can I give for going to interview?



I have decided to apply for a new job for next term, but I don’t want my Head or HoD to know. What excuse can I give for going to interviews?


Well, that’s a nice easy question to answer!


No excuse at all, because you cannot go without the Head’s permission.   


Curiously enough, you are employed – and paid – to actually be in school doing your job of teaching that school’s pupils, instead of being off gallivanting around to get another job!  


However, most Heads, most of the time, will give you paid leave to attend an interview for a job at another school. They usually don’t have to, but they do. 


Yes, I know that some of you believe that you have an unalienable right to three days off a year for going to interviews, but that is, I understand, just a union recommendation in most cases.


I say in most cases, because some local authorities and governing bodies may actually have an agreement giving up to three days per year allowed as paid leave for interviews in reasonable circumstances. But most don’t.  So you need permission from your Head to attend an interview.  This means going and asking politely, rather than just sending an e-mail saying: Just to let you know that my class will need cover next Tuesday as I have an interview at St Trinian's School.


Please don't do that!


Even in these schools where you have an entitlement to three days for interviews, most Heads will allow you to go to more than three interviews, if the timing is not bad for pupils.


Because that is the important point. Although usually you get the day off, and paid to boot, a Head may decide that it is not reasonable for you to be absent that particular day, because of the specific need of the school to have you there teaching.  Perhaps other staff are absent, perhaps it is an important time of the year for pupils.


Do not even think about pretending to be ill.


For a teaching job, where the reference will be requested before the interview, you couldn’t anyway. There could be a temptation for a post outside teaching, where they are often happy to call for references after the interview, to ring in sick to go to the interview in secret. 


This is gross misconduct, do not do it. Unsure what this means, gross misconduct? Gross misconduct is a single act of misconduct that is serious enough on its own to justify the employee's immediate dismissal. Not a good idea!


Your question here could suggest that your relationship with the hierarchy in school is not as good as it could be. In that case, the good news may be that if the Head is keen for you to move on, you are likely to be encouraged to go to as many interviews as you like. In that case, I suggest that you ask them to provide interview coaching, so that you can move to a school that will appreciate you more. Shake the dust off your feet as you leave them.


But read this: Do I have to tell my Head I am applying elsewhere? 


To sum up:


If you defraud the school by taking the day off without permission, the likely consequences are:


a) you will lose a day's pay 

b) AND you will be subject to disciplinary procedures, probably for Gross Misconduct

c) AND they will write to the other school and tell them so

d) AND the other school may well withdraw the offer for your dishonesty

e) AND you may well have no job at all come September.


Just ask, ask nicely.


Best wishes 


Meet Theo on line on the Jobseekers,  Careers Clinic and Independent Forums, where she answers jobseeking and careers queries regularly each week.