I am now applying to jobs in the corporate environment and I would like to know what should be my position in negotiations with potential employers in terms of working on Chol Hamoed. Is it something I must present as days when I absolutely cannot work, or as days where I can be called on for only urgent projects, etc?
In general work on Chol Hamoed is forbidden. However, under certain circumstances work can be permitted.
One such example is Davar Hoaved, work that if not done immediately will lead to loss.
in this case: if you would not be able to keep your job if you do not show up to work, or if not ‘taking care of an emergency’ will cause the company a significant loss (not just lack of additional profit), you would be permitted to go to work.
If you have a a certain amount of leave, whether paid or unpaid you may take, you should schedule it for Chol Hamoed. However, all this is only if you can not negotiate to not have to work at all. Obviously if you can take off without compromising the Kedushah of Chol Hamoed this would be the best option.
עיין בשו”ע או”ח סי’ תק”ל ובסי’ תקלט.