How to Holiday in Recruitment

Even if you’re currently working for a company that offers “unlimited holiday” or has a much heralded policy that allows you to carry time over from one year to the next, you’re probably not taking enough.

Yes, that statement’s a guess.

But it’s a guess based on fairly accurate statistics. According to this, half of UK employees don’t take all of their allowance. And the same report says that even when away, 44% of UK employees do some work.

While the UK may be a slightly smaller sample size than other countries, in 2014 in the US, workers took on average 51% of the time off they were allowed. Given that the majority of US companies allocate a small amount of ‘vacation’ time in comparison to other countries, that’s a lot of time at work.

In recruitment this is probably a bigger problem than other industries. And usually, even with a boss who applauds you handing in holiday requests (if there is such a thing), it’s rare to take all of your time. 

It’s pretty obvious why.

To have money to go on holiday, requires you to make placements. To make placements you need to be in the office. In a way, this is the brilliance of unlimited holiday in a meritocratic job. 

The truth of it is however, if you’re not taking enough downtime from your job, you’ll burnout.

So how do you do it? How do you combine not working yourself into an early grave, and being a success in recruitment?

As it’s August, a time where most of your clients and candidates decide they don’t want to speak to you. Here are some handy tips…

Surfer Barrel 1

1. Plan it

Last minute trips are great, and will create a raft of excitement as soon as they’re booked. One thing they won’t do however is provide prolonged build up and eagerness. This is important because it gives you focus.

Firstly, you’re not worried about trying to book anything, and can focus on work. Secondly, once everything’s been booked you can get your head down and focus on having enough spending money. When that date finally arrives you can skip out the office at end of play with a knowing smile, rather than a worried smirk, wondering if the AirBnb host will accept in time.

2. Do a thorough handover

There are countless reasons for this step. First off, a holiday where you’re constantly checking work emails to see how your interviews are going isn’t a holiday. It may also cost you an arm and a leg in data and overseas calls.

You need to leave your work with a colleague who’s actually capable and content to look after your work alongside theirs. If this means your boss, then so be it.

They’re getting the lion’s share of that fee right?

The more information you provide on your pipeline before you leave the office, the less chance you have of being contacted whilst you’re away. And the higher the chance of that pipeline delivering placements. It also means you can (dare I suggest it) turn off your work phone. Not thinking about work in any way is crucial to relaxing. 

Beach Swing

3. Make sure you actually relax

This pointer is fairly obvious, but it does come in many forms. Firstly, you need to make sure your time away from the office is long enough.

An extended weekend break to a city is lovely. But it’s hardly going to blow away the cobwebs and leave you feeling tranquil. Many studies suggest that two weeks break from work is paramount to getting any benefit. Only going for a week will mean by the time you’ve unwound, it’s time to head back to the airport.

Similarly however, breaks longer than two weeks often prove counter productive. Meaning your happiness on holiday can plateau around day 8, and coming back, the benefits will only last for approximately 1 month.

If you’re doing well you’ll no doubt have company holidays. And while it’s great to win a company incentive to be whisked away for an all expenses trip, it’s likely the expense in this case is damage to your liver and not conducive to rest and relaxation.

Don’t mistake a “club trip” or “boozy holiday” with a relaxing getaway.

Snowboarder Powder

4. Have a Mastery Experience

A ‘mastery experience’ is something that significantly adds to your enjoyment when away from work. This means a challenging, mentally absorbing (and therefore rewarding) experience. Whether this is as simple as a game of chess, reading a book or adventuring to a place you’ve never been.

Turning off from your normal routine and thinking about other things will increase your capability to switch back on when the time comes to return to work.

Snowboarding in another continent for example is dramatically different to working in a recruitment office. There’s not much substitute for gliding over powder down the side of a mountain.

5. Keep it on the regular

The “post holiday blues” is something many people will feel returning to work. No matter how amazing your trip was, there’s always likely to be a slight hangover on your first morning back at your desk. Emotional or literal.

The easiest way to combat this, is to never leave yourself without something to look forward to. This is a tip I learnt from a good friend in the tourism industry…

Always have a holiday booked in your diary.

This is where small trips come in well. City breaks and extended weekends away will mean you’ve always got an aim. It’s easier to do this than you think too. Just make sure you plan ahead and it’ll be plain sailing. 

Boat Cruise


Many employers are now realising that it’s better to have a fully rested, firing-on-all-cylinders Consultant in their midst than one who’s worked so hard they’re a walking ornament. The good news is, taking regular and relaxing holidays will make you a better Recruiter.

You’ll make more placements, more money and will be happier and healthier.

You’ll also probably stay at your company longer if they’re supportive of this rest. Which means you’ll be more stable and your billings will continue to rise.

Happy holidays!