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How to Hire Seasonal Workers in a Competitive Market

Tiffany Walden, Writer

Hiring seasonal workers apparently didn’t go so well during the 2017 holiday season. And, according to one global consulting firm, the hiring pool may be worse this year.

Twenty-three percent of retailers couldn’t meet their quotas for hiring holiday workers during the 2017 holiday season, according to a Korn Ferry report. With U.S. employment at a record low of 3.9 percent this year, and the increasing pressure for companies to pay workers more money, it may be just as hard to hire seasonal help this year, too.

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Though things may seem gloomy on the hiring front, they don’t have to be. We’ve put together a list of tips to make hiring as smooth and effective as possible this season.

Reach out to former seasonal employees first

Did you have a great pool of seasonal employees last holiday season? Are those same folks looking for work this season? It’s possible they’re in need of some extra cash this year, too, and would love the chance to return for another year.

So try sending email and calling up the crew who worked last holiday season before you start posting job descriptions and combing through resumes. This will save you the time of looking for new seasonal workers and training them.

Don’t procrastinate

Anyone looking to secure a job this holiday season is most likely searching right now. So start recruiting now by updating your job postings, adding them to any and all job recruitment sites (LinkedIn, Monster, Indeed, ZipRecruiter, etc.), and promoting those postings on your social media accounts.

For even better results, be sure to properly categorize your jobs as temporary, seasonal, or part-time — whichever works for your business. Also, try Googling more niche job sites that may cater to a specific industry. Niche sites may help you find the right worker to fit your needs much faster.

Find the retirees

If you’re looking for a group with years of work experience — and flexible hours — retirees are perfect for your seasonal work. Some retirees look at seasonal jobs as something to get them out of the house, and others look at these opportunities as ways to make additional cash when retirement checks aren’t enough.

Also, here’s another perk: Retirees are more likely to return each season compared to college students, who may move on to different internship and career opportunities.

Ask for referrals

There’s nothing wrong with asking current and previous employees for referrals. Most times, your hardest-working staffers have friends or relatives with the same work ethic. Also, they may know people who are looking for seasonal employment.

To help this process, try adding an employee referral program to your company — something that will give your employees a monetary bonus or a gift with each new hire they recommend for the job. Perhaps, if the new hire works a certain amount of hours during the holiday season, your employee could get an additional bonus. Don’t be afraid to get creative with this one. That keeps the work environment exciting and fun, yet competitive.

Tiffany Walden is a contributor at Square where she covers everything from the importance of mentorship for minority entrepreneurs to how business owners can use technology to combat challenges within their respective industries.