Q: I’ve applied for a role which closes in a few days, but I am going on annual leave for three weeks and am worried that the assessments and interviews may be scheduled to take place while I am away. Should I wait to be invited before I let them know of my situation?
A: It is fine to advise an organisation of your availability you can do so in your application. You many be conscious of the risk of appearing presumptuous, but you can avoid giving this impression by careful wording.
We recently had an application from a candidate who said she would be on leave on the advertised assessment date, but confirmed she would be willing to cancel her holiday if successful. We did not ask her to do so, but she gave a clear indication of how keen she was for the role, and the impression we were left with could not have been further from presumptuous. It was a bit of a gamble, though. I wonder how she’d have felt if she’d been sitting in an interview as the plane she wasn’t on was leaving.
It helps candidates (and recruiters) when it is possible to decide on the assessment and interview dates ahead of time and include these in the advertisement for the role. People can then plan ahead logistically and psychologically, and candidates can tell the panel as early as possible if they are not available.
Generally, when an organisation has decided to advertise a job at this time of year, it is a conscious choice, made for a particular reason. In these instances, the organisation should be able to be flexible with dates.
Advertising and applying for roles at this time of year is a tricky business. Advertising agencies will have you believe that the holiday lull is not what it used to be, that online advertising has changed everything and that you have as much chance of getting the right person now as you do at busier times of the year. Such advice is far from impartial, but it is true that a range of factors has had affected the recruitment market in some sectors.
There is a general lull in recruiting in August. People are on leave. Organisations are not able to attract the numbers of high-calibre candidates they may at other times of the year.
For those reasons it is simply not sensible or viable for many organisations to advertise at this time of year.
Mary Jackson is project manager, Reclaim Social Work, at Hackney Council’s children and young people directorate
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