Got an interview? 10 excuses to fool your boss

Most of us have been there. You’re not happy in your current role, or maybe just curious about what else is out there. Either way, you’ve applied for another job and now have an interview lined up. Problem is, you don’t want your current boss to find out, so what are you going to do?

A new study of 4,000 New Zealanders by SEEK found that one in five of us admit lying to cover our tracks when going for a job interview somewhere else. The most commonly used excuses are:

  1. I had a medical appointment (25%)
  2. I was feeling sick, was ill or injured myself 21%)
  3. I had an external meeting i.e. away from the office (12%)
  4. The car broke down (7%)
  5. Just took annual leave (5%)
  6. I had a family emergency (3%)
  7. I had a non-medical appointment (3%)
  8. My pet was sick or injured (2%)
  9. I had a maintenance issue at home e.g. plumber or house inspection etc. (2%)
  10. I had a sick or injured child or other relative (1%)

Now that you know what others are saying to fool the boss, SEEK has some expert advice to help you have a happier and more constructive approach to job hunting.

What you need to consider if you’re ‘sick’ of your current job

One of the most important things to remember is that you do have the right to look for another job, and to go to an interview for it. You also shouldn’t have to lie about it.

Of course, it’s not always that simple, and some workplaces can have a culture - or a boss - that makes you feel uncomfortable about them knowing you’re looking for another job. You might even be worried about losing your current role if they find out.

If that’s the case, then you do need to make sure if you tell a fib about what you’re doing that you take personal leave and not sick leave for the actual interview.

It may sound like a statement of the obvious, but sick leave is only for when you’re sick, and you risk getting into trouble if you use it for anything else. Don’t forget your employer is entitled to ask for a letter from your doctor to confirm your illness, so be careful you don’t end up in the wrong kind of exit interview.

It may sound like a statement of the obvious, but sick leave is only for when you're sick, and you risk getting into trouble if you use it for anything else

Don’t feel bad, but do talk before you walk

Clare Nash, career coach and Director of Nash Recruitment Group, says even the most loyal and talented workers’ eyes will begin to wander if they’re not getting certain things at work - especially if their manager isn’t offering a clear path for career progression.

Her observations point to the importance of maintaining, or initiating, good communications with your manager about what they have planned for you next. This is more important than ever if you get an inkling that the grass is greener somewhere else. Who knows, your boss might just up their game to keep you.

“Many people go looking simply to see if what they already have is the best option for them. Essentially they’re benchmarking what’s out there, and they might then use that information to compare or renegotiate their salary or other terms and conditions.

“If they find something better than their employer is offering, this might lead to them deciding that what they currently have isn’t what they want.”

Legal eyed tips to keep everyone out of trouble

McDonald Murholme employment lawyer Bianca Mazzarella has some great advice about how to negotiate the tricky process of staff looking elsewhere for jobs:

  • Your employer is entitled to ask for a medical certificate if you take a sick day, so if you’re thinking of taking a sickie for an interview be prepared to have to provide one
  • Both parties should be mindful of the fact that you do have the right to look for other jobs and be respectful of that right
  • Your annual leave can be taken for personal reasons, including interviews with a prospective new employer
  • It’s OK for your employer to ask you if you have any concerns in the work place and if they can assist you with anything