Ask the Recruiter: 3 Best Practices for IT Consultants and Vacations

vacationFor full-time employees, the end of the calendar year typically means vacation days start over or roll over after Dec. 31, but as soon as the bottle of New Year’s Day champagne is empty, both IT consultants and FTEs begin planning their year ahead – including vacation days.

Because self-employed consultants don’t receive vacation days in the traditional sense, any time off is unpaid. It’s best to schedule vacation time between projects, which is what all seasoned consultants do, but in case you have something already planned and a really great job comes up, our recruiters have some sage words of advice on IT consultants and vacations.

Don’t forget to tell your recruiter.
If you know of any time you need to take off a project, tell your recruiter as soon as you know – preferably, before you take any job, said Neika Powell, Consultant Advisor. Clients depend on IT consultants to be at work every day of the project, and if there’s any wiggle room for a day or two off, your recruiter needs to know before you accept a job.

“Consultants may think that not telling their recruiters about planned, upcoming vacation days will help them get a job, but that’s not true,” said Dimple Kochikar, Consultant Advisor. “It’s always better to be honest.”

Do schedule vacations (way) in advance.
If for some reason you have to schedule vacation days while you’re on a project, schedule these days as soon as you know you need them, at least four to six weeks in advance, said Justin Couch, Consultant Advisor. And ask your recruiter for them, not the client.

Don’t take them around a go-live.
If a vacation need comes up unexpectedly – you score an amazing deal on a flight or a relative suddenly decides to get married – it’s never a good idea to ask for time off around a go-live, said Couch.  A good rule of thumb is never take vacation days a month before a go-live and a week after, said Powell. Also, keep in mind that go-live dates can sometimes be pushed back or moved up.

When in doubt, ask your recruiter for feedback about vacation time or unexpected time off. Your recruiter is your best friend in getting a job, as well as keeping a job, so it’s important to be honest with him or her about anything that could keep you from coming in to work every day of a project.