‘Tis the Season…For Recruiting and Hiring Seasonal Employees

November is now in full swing and it’s the time companies, particularly retailers, are looking toward bringing on seasonal employees.


Seasonal employment can be tricky for retailers and employers—you’re usually in a time crunch to find employees and you don’t have the time to dedicate to recruiting and training employees like you would with your regular workers.

So how do you manage to find seasonal people that are going to benefit your organization throughout the holidays and maybe even become a long-term hire?

With smart recruiting. You may not have all the time or resources you’d like to dedicate to the process, but by following a few simple tips, you can still make the most of your holiday season hiring.

  1. Strengthen your filtering requirements for applications you receive. You’re going to receive a lot of unqualified applicants for seasonal positions—likely even more than you would during your regular hiring efforts so you need to ramp up how you filter through the applicants to save yourself time and only have to sort through the people that could be a viable possibility. If you’re using an online recruitment tool this may be easy and if you’re just accepting applications through email or in-person, you’ll want to have someone do some of the administrative leg work because time is of the essence during seasonal hiring.
  2. Don’t use the same job posting you use for your year-round job postings. You need to let employees know the job is seasonal and only outline future possibilities if they actually exist. If you’re posting your job online use seasonally-relevant keywords and phrases so employees who only want seasonal jobs are going to be more likely to find your posting.
  3. Personality counts for a lot when it comes to those seasonal positions. If you have a candidate with a short resume, you may want to include some behavioral questions in the application process and then work to gauge how well potential seasonal employees are likely to fare in a stressful situation. A positive, even-tempered demeanor can go a long way in terms of making up for what a seasonal employee may lack in skills or experience and you may even find a great long-term employee who just needs the right training.
  4. Recruit on college campuses or through job posting sites that cater to college students. The reason for this is that these students often have a long break from school and only want seasonal employment so you can get someone who’s really talented and has flexible scheduling for those pivotal weeks when you need someone most. By hiring college students you may find someone who can eventually become a great employee or a full time hire in the future.
  5. Utilize references as one of your most valuable tools in the hiring process. When you’re looking for seasonal workers you may not have the time to do an exhaustive selection process but you can definitely use the references as a beneficial tool and one that’s not incredibly time consuming. Ask for several references from your top seasonal candidates.
  6. One thing you can do well before the holiday season to prepare for next year’s seasonal hiring rush is to have a training program in-place specifically for these employees. You likely want something scalable, on-demand and that’s efficient in terms of time so that you can have these employees up and running quickly. Don’t leave the development of training materials to the last minute—work on developing them throughout the year for the best results. It may be beneficial to develop eLearning and multimedia-based training that employees can complete before they ever begin their first day of work so they’re ready to immediately dive into the workplace.

Do you hire seasonal employees at your company? If so, what are your recruitment and hiring tips to make it work well for everyone?

November 12, 2014   Updated :March 25, 2015      

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