Five Tips for Finding Seasonal Workers
By: Recruiter Training Corner
It’s that time of the year again, and you need to hire a team of hourly employees to fill your seasonal hiring needs. As usual, you’re multi-tasking and juggling too many projects and can’t find the time to start engaging in the hiring process. But the fact is it needs to be a priority, even in the current economy.
Keep in mind that you are competing for top talent with organizations across the spectrum, so competition is fierce. So, what is the best approach? There are a myriad of articles and opinions on the subject, and many of them have very helpful advice. In this article, the approach is a straightforward one. What five tips should be top of mind when attracting top talent in your peak business season?
Hire your own customers. Really, who best to hire than the people who already know and love you? Although often overlooked, enticing your own customers to become employees can be a fantastic source of seasonal workers. They will most likely have some knowledge of your brand and products and will be excited to talk about them. This is also a fairly easy audience to reach since you can openly advertise in your establishment (whether that is online and/or offline) and you can speak directly to them. An effective strategy could be to advertise your policy to offer employee discounts on your merchandise, which is especially attractive during the holiday season.
Start before others. Have your strategy clearly outlined and already be posting positions as early as 3-4 months in advance of your seasonal need. This will only help you build a more extensive pipeline of candidates, and will ensure that you make contact with those qualified candidates before other organizations seeking seasonal workers. Employers and managers who believe that the current employment conditions mean that they don’t have to worry about starting the process early will inevitably find themselves scrambling to hire; this will undoubtedly affect the quality of who they hire.
Be direct and specific in how you write your job description. This piece of advice does indeed apply to every job description, whether they are seasonal or not. But it is especially important to give as many details as possible when hiring for these types of positions. Be very specific about the nature of the job, the organization, the schedule (flexible or not?), the skills that you are looking for in candidates, even the attitude that you are seeking. Also describe any incentives that the position has. If you believe that the job could lead to something permanent in the future, mention it. The same rules apply to anything that could be construed as “negative.” If the job has some elements that might not be appealing to some, it is better to make that information available from the start. This way, you’ll avoid wasting your time and money down the line. To help get you started, check out Monster’s basic Retail Salesperson Job Description and Retail Store Manager Job Description.
Ask existing employees for referrals. Loyal and hard working employees often know like-minded people. Generally speaking, they will be inclined to bring people they would want to work as potential candidates, and that usually translates to strong employees. Why not give them an incentive to do so? Consider starting an employee referral program that gives them a small bonus at the end of the season for each employee that successfully works throughout the time period in question. Or if you have an employee discount program, how about augmenting it for every successful employee they bring to the organization? Try to think of the current employees you have and understand what might be particularly motivating to them.
Attract retirees. Retirees are becoming a more and more attractive option for seasonal work, especially as the baby boom generation continues to enter this milestone. They offer a diverse candidate pool with extensive work experience, one that is generally open to flexible work arrangements and ever-changing tasks. They are also a group that, health allowing, may return for more than one season, which may not be the case for a large number of college students who will likely move on once they graduate. If you’re not already thinking of ways to target this group, start now.
Regardless of the economic situation or the state of hiring, finding talented seasonal hourly employees with the right skills is always difficult to do. They will be the face of your organization during your busiest times, so make sure to give this task the attention it deserves.