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Talking about sick leave in an interview

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by confused2, Dec 3, 2015.

  1. confused2

    confused2 New commenter

    I have been signed off with stress for the last 6 weeks because of work related stress and cannot face going back to work. One reason was for the work load, we have a new management team and Headteacher (the 3rd in 2 years and 4 months). I probably could have got by with the extra work load but the last straw was the continuous unprofessional behaviour from a member of the SLT. Thankfully, with the support of my union, the school have agreed to release me from contract, but in total I will have had 9 weeks sick leave.

    For references I will have my current Headteacher and then the previous Headteacher who retired in the summer, who I got on well with.

    Now I am starting to consider what I need to do in January. I am worrying once I have applied for jobs about what happens when I get an interview.

    How do I approach my sickness?

    I assume that the interviewers may bring up the sickness as it may be in the reference. I am worried the sickness looks like I cannot cope with pressure. Additionally, I feel I would not be able to talk about the situation fully because it would put the school in a bad light and would look unprofessional highlighting a colleague’s poor behaviour.

    How do I reassure them I am a very hardworking person and generally I can deal with stressful situations when I am not being bullied? Prior to this I didn’t have any sick days.

    If the interviewers do not mention my sickness, do I mention it anyway? Just in case the reference is late coming in or they find out about the sickness after giving me a job.

    My union suggested that I could suggest for a temporary contract if they are worried.
  2. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    I'm sorry that you have had such a hard time, but pleased that you have a way out now. May I suggest that you consider this: (Obviously not writing to your Head now!)

    Overwhelming workload - what can you do about it?

    As for the sickness, I would make it very short, only if they mention it, and of course truthful. Something along the lines of Having successfully overcome a period of ill health, I believe that I am now better able to cope with the stresses of a teacher's life because of the strategies I have developed.

    Only if it's true, mind, and better have some strategies available to quote if they ask what they are!

    Best wishes


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