When is anybody ever on holiday anymore?

Posted 17/7/2019 by Brian Gordon-Stables

“When is anybody ever on holiday anymore”


It seems a way of life now that we are constantly contactable. Technology means that we are more or less available 24/7. Social media suggests that people have plenty of time to tell us what they had for breakfast and their opinions on Love Island. Personally, I post lots of pictures of dogs.

There was a time in recruitment when you had lulls or quiet times – the summer holidays (July Fortnight for those of you who remember that) and Christmas were traditional `tumble weed` times of year. No-one wanted to look for a job and clients didn’t want to recruit. Recruiters used to talk of clients and candidates not picking up calls and very long and slow days. Of having to fill the time by doing `drops` or drive arounds. You could achieve so much by dropping off a Crunchie and mapping the local business parks…..

As a recruiter, those were the times to book a holiday, you wouldn’t miss out on anything and you were around when things picked up. You could go away and not have to think about work until you returned.

Now we get out of office, the more modern `leave me alone` response. Does that mean that no-one is around? Are we not slaves to email and are now too conditioned to not have a cheeky look when on the sun lounger/beach/boat, even when we aren’t supposed to? Is it due to FOMO or that fact that we are paranoid about not being seen to be doing our jobs effectively?

The market has changed though. In my experience, the peaks and troughs are long gone. In the last 3 years particularly, I have been busier in the summer periods and still working jobs in between Christmas and New Year. It shouldn’t be allowed! The good thing is that it has enabled the market to plateau more and it’s not all feast or famine.

Why? I’m not sure. A lot more clients seem to recruit in a `just in time` reactive way. Less planned and more immediate. Anyone on 3 months’ notice is automatically excluded – “We can’t wait that long”. They want the best person for the job to be immediately available or at short notice. After all, who doesn’t?

Like many people in sales and other environments, recruiters don’t like to let go, pass ownership to anyone else or lose control of their workload. A week (or God forbid, 2 weeks) are a lifetime in what we do. The potential downside is that we never fully switch off or disengage.

We talk to so many candidates about work life balance and yet we set such a bad example. I’ve had my most successful billing months sitting on my laptop in Norfolk or Wales, much to the distain of my other half. I can’t let go; I have to do the deal. I don’t even have an out of office on my email. “Yeah sure, no problem, just call me or email and I’ll get right back to you”.

When the technology did not exist, we had no choice. We wrote a handover, trusted others to get the deals over the line and that was it until we walked back into the office a week (or two) later, refreshed and full re-charged. Now we walk in having never really switched off, already knowing the good and bad news.


So – is seasonal recruitment a thing of the past? I think so.

Are we helping ourselves (or our clients) by trying to be available 24/7? Possibly not.

The market will constantly evolve, and technology continues to make everything real time. Do I need my laptop on the beach? I don’t know - maybe I’ll ask Facebook.


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