Job Hunting Tips

Temp Nightmares: 'By the Way, I Have a Holiday Planned'

Mark Smith Posted by Mark
min read
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It must be the time of year, but on two separate occasions this week, the consulting team at people2people have been faced with a completely avoidable situation. Two job seekers who were successful in securing a new career opportunity through people2people surprised their consultant at the time the job offer was made by announcing they had holidays planned within the next few months. 

Now, this piece of news may seem quite innocuous at first glance, but in each circumstance, the hiring managers reacted unfavourably, and the offer was withdrawn. Why? Before we examine the circumstances in detail, it should be pointed out that in each of these situations, the people2people consultant did ask at the time the candidate was briefed whether they had any holidays planned. In each instance, the candidate advised that they didn't have any plans. This suggests that at some point, they were each given advice to keep this type of information to themselves. I am sure whomever was giving the advice (probably a friend over a meal or a few drinks) came to the conclusion that it's not necessary to tell anyone at the beginning of the process. Once they want you, then it won't matter at all. Wrong. Let's see what happened in each of the situations this week. 

In the first situation, our candidate was endeavouring to secure a nine-month maternity leave temporary contract. It was a management accounting position that required specific systems knowledge and experience. Our candidate met all the criteria (and more) and was selected for the role. The people2people consultant was delighted and was keen to make the offer. Unfortunately, when the offer was made, the candidate announced that they had a one-month overseas holiday booked! Now, remember this is a nine-month maternity leave contract, and the whole reason the hiring manager is looking to hire is to not have the position vacant. Needless to say, when we announced this development to the hiring manager, they withdrew the offer and moved quickly to offer the alternative candidate. 

The first candidate made the assumption that they were the best for the contract and the hiring manager would wait for the best. 

The reality is that the hiring manager had a problem to solve fast, and although this candidate was the preferred option for the role, the problem could be equally solved by the hiring the next candidate. It is true that the hiring manager would not have met the first candidate if they knew at the beginning of the process that they had a holiday booked. The outcome the candidate achieved by withholding the information was simply wasting everyone's time, including their own, and also delaying a successful job placement. In the second instance, the candidate who surprised the consultant with the holiday was being made an offer for a permanent position. The reaction of the hiring manager was one of disbelief. They were not comfortable with being told of this at the end of the process, as it raised questions about the honesty and openness of the candidate. 

They could understand the motivation behind withholding this type of information, but they withdrew the offer, and now both the hiring manager and people2people are starting the recruitment process afresh. I would suggest that if this candidate had informed the people2people consultant at the beginning of the process and then this information was passed onto the hiring manager, then the decision to offer would have been made with all the facts known, and I believe the result would have been a successful placement. 

Withholding the information simply created doubts, and when making an important decision to hire a permanent member of staff, any doubts can have a fatal outcome. So, if you have a holiday planned and booked, then full disclosure is by far the best course of action. Tell your consultant. If they are good, then they are likely to know in an instant if this will be an issue for the hiring manager. If any consultant tells you otherwise, I would be questioning their integrity, and I would be making an assessment as to whether you want them to be representing you into the market. It's an oldie but a goodie: honesty is certainly the best policy.