Do you face a predictable influx of customers each year? Do you need to hire some employees only for a few months or in a particular season like the holidays? Then your recruitment strategies must include seasonal hiring.
Who is a seasonal employee?
A seasonal employee is the one who is hired into a position for which the annual employment is six months or less. The position of the seasonal employee must begin and end at the same time each year, except for a few circumstances.
Why consider seasonal hiring?
It is a good idea to hire seasonally to handle predictable large influxes of customers. This cost-effective solution is better than hiring full-time or part-time employees for two reasons:
- Hiring a full-time team would mean continuing to pay them even after the need is over.
- Part-time employees work less than 35 hours a week. This might be a problem during the time of high customer demands like the holidays. Or when you need them to work for more than 35 hours per week.
To make seasonal hiring a smooth process, use an Applicant Tracking System. It will let you assess and rate each candidate, check the status of their application and review the progress.
10 important tips to hire great seasonal employees
1. Write targeted job descriptions
Regular job postings contain a detailed description which has information about job responsibilities, compensation, company details, work timings, etc.
It is equally important to write targeted job descriptions for seasonal employment as well. Clearly state that the role is just seasonal. Not doing this may waste time and efforts of the company as well as applicants..
You must also include the exact responsibilities expected from the hires, and the start and end date for the role.
2. Know where to search
Consider different platforms for hiring seasonal employees. You can team up with recruiting agencies. Make sure you give your exact requirements and job descriptions to the agency.
You can also hire new college graduates or students who are on a school break. Target local job fairs and career centers at campuses.
Advertising on different online job sites is also a good option. However, you need tools like an applicant tracking system to handle the large influx of resumes.
3. Start hiring early
Make a clear outline of the strategy and post the seasonal openings a few months before the actual need. This way you can build a pipeline of qualified candidates to choose from.
Start looking early, and factor in the time you will need for vetting and training. Don’t wait till the last minute as you don’t want the stress of hiring towards the end. Hiring in a rush without spending enough time to evaluate the candidate will affect the quality of the hire.
4. Be flexible in your offerings
The seasonal applicants may ask you for higher wages or flexible working hours. Be open to have an honest discussion. It would be a good idea to meet them halfway.
Offering the applicants some of the things they ask for will reap benefits in the long run. Give the first-time seasonal position holders more flexibility in scheduling. It will drive them to work harder and be more productive.
5. Set clear expectations
When you hire temporary employees, you need to set clear expectations of their job responsibilities. If you work with a staffing agency, inform them of the key requirements of the role. Ensure this information is relayed to all the applicants.
Write a detailed job description and be sure of which assignments you want them to work on. Don’t assign them random tasks.
Seasonal employees make great candidates for full-time positions. If the temporary role becomes full time, you can accurately evaluate how well the candidate fulfilled the described job as a seasonal worker.
6. Encourage employee referrals
Your current employees can prove to be a great resource to hire seasonal workers. They will have a good idea of who in their network would fit well within your company. They would be inclined to bring their friends and acquaintances to work as seasonal employees.
Give them an incentive to bring in such candidates. Start an employee referral program that will give a small bonus to employees who successfully bring in a seasonal worker.
7. Attract retirees
Focus on attracting retirees as they make exceptional seasonal employees. Most retirees like the opportunity to make some extra money without being tied to a company on a long-term basis.
They come with extensive work experience and industry knowledge. They can also return for more than one season, unlike college students who may move on to different opportunities after graduation.
8. Consider hiring contractors
If you need to complete some project during the holiday season, consider hiring a contractor instead of a seasonal worker. This would help you save money.
Working with a contractor will give you the flexibility of bringing in the right candidates who are not interested in directly working for an employer. Contractors usually have a high degree of control over the job tasks.
Moreover, you won’t necessarily be required by law to put contractors on the payroll covered by employer insurance and benefits.
9. Offer great employee experience
Some employees would like to return to the same employer each holiday season. Others may inform their friends and relatives that your company is an ideal place to work seasonally. Therefore, focus on providing seasonal hires with a good employee experience.
10. Offer bonuses
To avoid seasonal hires from quitting prematurely, offer end-of-season bonuses. This will encourage them to complete their contract in its entirety. The bonuses can also be given if they meet their goals.
Extend a loyalty bonus to those returning as seasonal staff. Reach out to former seasonal employees and offer them an extra bonus to return. You can tell your new hires also that they will be eligible for the bonus if they return next season.
Seasonal hiring will help you handle an increase in customer demand with ease. Consider adding the seasonal hires to the company candidate pool, in case you need to hire them for a seasonal or full-time position in the future.