7 Strategies for How to Hire Seasonal Employees

Seasonal employees are an important part of many companies’ workforce. Unfortunately, when businesses fail to invest in them properly or provide enough resources for their seasonal needs they can experience pitfalls that harm the company’s reputation and bottom line during peak seasons like tax season, holiday shopping days around Christmas time (and Hanukkah), as well as other periods where business is high but not sustainable for longer periods.

There are many reasons to invest in your process for hiring seasonal workers, but first and foremost is your customers. Your customers are not going to forgive poor service rendered by a seasonal employee, and you’ll risk alienating loyal patrons if they have negative experiences with the company’s turnover rate or lack of consistency through changing seasons.

When it comes to dedicating the proper time and energy to your seasonal hiring process, the benefits far outweigh any short-term inconveniences involved. By taking a strategic and mindful approach to how you onboard and support your seasonal staff, your company can avoid any number of issues that may arise from haphazardly hiring workers only when you need them.

It’s important, especially in today’s job market, not to underestimate the time and effort it will take to hire seasonal employees. Even if unemployment is high, that doesn’t necessarily equate to a higher percentage of people looking for seasonal work.

Here are some general tips for how to hire seasonal employees

  1. Define the skills and experience you need
  2. Use social media and job boards to reach a wider pool of candidates
  3. Utilize employee referral programs
  4. Conduct initial screenings
  5. Participate in a career fair
  6. Make sure your onboarding process is airtight
  7. Invest in training and development

Define and skills and experience you need

The first step in any hiring process is to evaluate what skills and experience are required for the role you’re looking to fill. When it comes to seasonal employees, you may find that you need a mix of both hard and soft skills.

Some examples of hard skills that may be relevant for seasonal employees include:

  • Cash handling
  • Customer service
  • Data entry
  • Filing and paperwork
  • Inventory management

Meanwhile some examples of soft skills that may be relevant include:

  • Adaptability
  • Flexibility
  • Friendliness
  • Communication skills

In addition to defining the ideal candidate for the specific job, be sure to set clear expectations early, so there are no surprises during the onboarding process. In addition to a description and background of your business, your job posting for seasonal employees should include:

  • Responsibilities. What exactly will your seasonal employees be expected to do on a day-to-day basis?
  • Required skills, education, and training. What experience do they need to be successful in the role? Is there product, service, or industry knowledge that they should have?
  • Compensation. How much will you pay? Will there be additional benefits?
  • Schedule. When will the season begin and when will it end? How many hours per week do you expect them to work?

Providing extra details and being clear on expectations from the beginning will go a long way in ensuring that the candidates who apply are able and willing to meet those expectations.

Use social media and job boards to reach a wider pool of candidates

Now that you know what skills and experience you’re looking for in a seasonal employee, it’s time to start reaching out to potential candidates. One of the best ways to do this is by utilizing social media and job boards.

When it comes to social media, try posting about the open positions on your company’s various channels. You can also use hashtags to reach a wider audience (just make sure they’re relevant to your industry).

Job platforms are great places to feature the details of your position and get it in front of candidates who may not have heard of your business, but are being referred to job platforms to start their search. 

PandoLogic, a fully autonomous recruiting platform, has the ability to take this one step further, with AI intelligence that automatically places your job listing on job boards and websites where candidates who meet your criteria are most likely to see it. If you’re hiring seasonal employees at a large scale, AI candidate targeting can be especially helpful to alleviate some of the burden from your internal hiring team.

Seek out referrals from your existing employees

One of the best ways to find high-quality candidates is by asking for referrals from your existing employees. After all, they know your company culture and values firsthand and can vouch for a candidate’s qualifications.

In order to make the process as smooth as possible, you can create an employee referral program that outlines how the process works and how employees can get involved.

When it comes to seasonal employees, you may want to offer a bonus or other type  of financial incentive to employees who refer someone that ends up being hired. This will not only encourage your employees to participate in the referral program, but also help ensure that they only refer qualified candidates.

Conduct initial screening tests or phone screens

Another way to weed out candidates who aren’t a good fit for your seasonal position is by conducting initial screening tests or phone screens. This will allow you to get a better sense of their qualifications and how they would be as an employee without having to commit to a full interview.

With AI software, you can even screen resumes and prompt initial screening next steps with candidates that match your criteria. This can save your team time and money invested in people that were never a good match to begin with.

Get creative with how you find and attract seasonal employees

In addition to the methods we’ve already mentioned, there are a number of other ways you can find and attract seasonal employees. Some companies host job fairs or open houses specifically for seasonal positions, while others get creative with their job postings by using humor or playing up the perks of the job.

Make sure your onboarding process is airtight

Once you’ve found the right seasonal employees, it’s important to have an airtight onboarding process in place so that they hit the ground running and feel like part of the team from day one.

This process will vary depending on the size of your company and how long the season lasts, but some things you may want to include are company culture training, an overview of the expectations for the role, and a review of your company’s policies.

By taking the time to onboard seasonal employees properly, you’ll set them up for success and minimize the risk of turnover.

Invest in training and development

Investing in training and development for seasonal employees is another way to set them up for success and ensure that they stick around for future seasons.

By offering training, you’ll not only help your seasonal employees do their jobs better, but also show them that you’re invested in their development. This can go a long way in increasing employee satisfaction and retention for seasons to come.

What’s more, if you have seasonal employees who excel in their roles, they may be worth considering for full-time positions down the road.

Keep communication lines open

Finally, it’s important to keep communication lines open with seasonal employees  throughout the duration of their employment. This means being available to answer questions, give feedback, and address any concerns they may have.

Never assume that your workforce will remain intact through the season, as it most likely won’t.  By having a solid plan in place for how to find and retain seasonal employees, you’ll be able to recruit additional help and quality candidates more quickly. You’ll be able to ensure that your company has the staff it needs to make it through the busy season unscathed. By following the tips we’ve outlined above, you’ll be well on your way to putting together a strong seasonal workforce.

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