How to Prepare to Take Leave

Written by Caitlin Chapman – Recruitment Consultant (Legal Support) Sydney NSW

Taking leave from work is always exciting and we all deserve a break from work and the opportunity to completely tune out. However, this is often harder in practice and depending on your chosen profession, can require careful planning and preparation. Below I have listed some tips on how to ensure your time off work is as seamless as possible and your return to work, not so chaotic!

  1. Prepare yourself! Try to ensure you have all urgent/pressing work finished up prior to taking your leave, not only for your own sake, but also for that of your colleagues and clients/customers. Try to plan ahead and complete any work you can in advance, the more prepared you are in the weeks leading up to your leave, the more seamless your break from work will be. Don’t forget to also set up an Automatic Reply on your outbox prior to going away.
  2. Prepare your colleagues! When preparing to take leave, it is also essential to prepare your colleagues. Remind your colleagues in the weeks leading up to your leave when you will be going and ensure to send them calendar invites so they are aware of the exact dates. You should also select a colleague that you work most closely with to specifically help cover you. For this colleague, you should provide detailed instructions on everything that needs to be done to cover your desk and anything you require them to do. Your colleagues will only be all too happy to help you out while you are away from your desk and will know that in return, you will do the same. I would suggest having a comprehensive written brief and instructions left for your colleagues as well as verbally explaining the list and ensuring your colleague or colleagues have a full understanding.
  3. Prepare your manager! Your manager should be aware of your time off work well in advance as you would have had to request Annual Leave. However, in the weeks leading up to your leave, it would also be useful to have another in-depth discussion with your manager to ensure they are aware of any significant deadlines or duties that need to be performed/met in your absence. This can ensure that if for whatever reason your colleagues run into problems, your manager is across the situation and can step in if needed.
  4. Prepare your clients/external stakeholders! If you work with customers, clients or any other external stakeholders, it is important that you inform them of your leave in advance. It may also be necessary (depending on your area of work and length of leave) to introduce the colleague who will covering for you. This can ensure a smooth transition and that customers and clients are put at ease whilst you are away.

Having followed my above tips on preparing for your leave, you should be able to leave your desk stress free and enjoy your holiday! Bon Voyage!


Picture this – you have prepared for your interview for a new job. You updated your CV, researched the role, prepared for questions specifically relating to the role, looked at the LinkedIn profiles of the people interviewing you.

The interview goes well – it is a very conversational style, you think you have answered all their questions well, with lots of examples from your experience highlighting how you will be perfect for the job.

Then you get this question:

“Do you have any questions for me?”


This is the worst possible end to a job interview.

As well as preparing for the interview in terms of the role, and your fit for it, you also need to be prepared with interesting and interested questions for your interviewer. You may have specific questions about the role, but think about taking the questions further than the actual role – to make it more personal. These sorts of questions will not only demonstrate intelligence and emotional awareness, but will also lead to a very conversational end to the interview. These examples are only our suggestions, you can probably think of several others:

  • What do you like most about working here?
  • Do you have any concerns about gaps in my skill set that you would like me to address?
  • What are the challenges facing the firm?
  • Can you tell me about the team I would be working with?
  • Does the firm have any growth plans?
  • What do you think would be the biggest challenge for a new starter in this group?
  • What is the induction process for new starters?
  • How do you measure performance in the team/firm?
  • What are the next steps in the recruitment process?
  • If I am successful, is it possible to meet with another member of the team before I start work?

Of course, we don’t suggest that you ask this number of questions. Two-three questions will be more than enough to show your interest, and the questions you ask will depend on what is discussed earlier.

Have you ever asked a question that was received well by your interviewer?