You’re interviewing, but already have a big vacation planned. Now what?

Interviewing for dream job when a major vacation is already on the books can be both awkward and challenging. While there’s no way to guarantee that the new potential employer won’t need you to work during that time, here are a few things to consider the next time this situation sneaks up on you.

Here’s what you should think about

John Lees, a UK-based career strategist and author, writes in the Harvard Business Review about what to keep in mind:

“When the time comes to disclose your plans, think hard about what this really means, both for you and the employer. Even if you don’t have a vacation already booked, it’s sensible to want to take some time off between jobs, since this could be one of the few times in your work history when you’re not checking emails on the beach. But listen hard to the employer’s problem list. If it’s vital to get boots on the ground, you may have to think about losing deposits and canceling flights.”

Here’s what to ask about

Monster career expert Vicki Salemi writes that you should clarify the vacation policy. She mentions that when she was a recruiter, she never saw “a hiring manager balk” when an applicant told them they’d be going on vacation right after beginning the job, or witness them having second thoughts about giving an applicant the job because they had already booked time off.

“In companies wherein vacation days are accrued over the course of the year, hiring managers will often allow candidates to borrow from the future; you should make sure to ask if this will be an option (else you’ll have to take the time unpaid). Alternately, I’ve seen hiring managers suggest pushing a candidate’s start date back until after the trip or time off was concluded so that there’s no interruption in pay.”

Here’s what to say

Alison Green, the author of the Ask a Manager blog, answered a question on her site about when to discuss during a job interview the fact that you’ve previously booked a vacation.

“Don’t bring it up in the interview stage; it would be premature then. The time to raise it is once a company makes you an offer. At that point, it’s very, very normal to say something like, ‘I have a trip scheduled from April 15-27. I’m willing to take the time unpaid since I assume I won’t have accrued enough vacation time by then, but I want to make sure up-front that that’s okay.’ It’s a lot better to mention this as part of the offer discussion, so that they don’t feel like you’re springing it on them later.

This happens all the time, and it’s totally normal to say this. It may, however, be an issue if you don’t bother to mention it until after you start. So make very sure that you mention it during the offer conversations.”