Strategic tips for hiring seasonal employees
Recruit fixed-term employees with the same care as regular staff and your employer brand will bloom.
Recruiting seasonal employees is increasingly necessary for companies that need to beef up staff to handle workload spikes during peak months.
Seasonal workers, meaning contractors and temporary part-time or full-time workers, are key players in the success of many sectors, including retail, tech and accounting — but let’s face it, finding qualified candidates for seasonal work can be challenging.
Attracting, interviewing and onboarding temporary candidates happens along a faster timeline than traditional hiring, and it can certainly feel overwhelming to bring on workers for a mere few months or a single project, but it doesn’t have to be.
Managing the seasonal hiring quirks with an effective strategy will take the pressure off and put you in the running for acquiring top-notch talent. Keep in mind there’s competition: Statistics Canada reports that one in eight employees worked in a temporary job in 2018. That’s a whopping 2.1 million workers.
Time is ticking so don’t let the best temporary hires get away. Navigate the seasonal work landscape with these winning recruiting tips:
Write a clear job description
Fully describe the job in question. If it’s seasonal or contract, put it clearly in the copy. Best to mention that up top in the job title too. Highlight the exact position, the skills needed and employment duration. Be clear about core duties, compensation and schedule. Specify when you want them to work: evenings, weekends, holidays, overtime, etc. Stand out by offering competitive pay or flexible hours. Add a bonus and you’ve got their attention.
How to find seasonal workers
Don’t just blindly post ads. Monster is a great recruitment channel to snag seasonal workers, and so too career centres on university/college campuses. Post on the right social media channels, as well as on your company website. Have a link from your home page to a dedicated careers and hiring page.
Spread the word with referrals. Ask employees to post open roles on social media, and to pass along the details of qualified candidates. Start an employee referral program and reward staff for bringing you potential candidates—could be their friends or a family member working part-time and just wanting to supplement their income. Show your appreciation with a small bonus or a few extra days off for referrals that lead to successful hires.
Draw from a pool already familiar with your organization—your recently retired staff, summer interns and top temporary talent from past seasons. They can hit the ground running and you save on onboarding expenses. If you’ve treated seasonal workers and contractors well in the past, then you’ll be blessed with a permanent temp talent pipeline. Offer a small bonus or reward for reboarding.
Ask your customers and fans to come onboard. They already know about your brand and are likely to rave about it to others and bring them in too. You doubly win by building an even stronger relationship with customers.
Check your files. Possibly your previous full-time job posting attracted immense talent but there was only one position to fill. Reach out and ask if they’re interested in reapplying for seasonal work. Likely they’ll clue in to the financial and professional silver lining—income and a foot in the door.
Start hiring early
You want first dibs on qualified candidates so it’s best to start as early as three months in advance of your seasonal needs. You’re not just looking for warm bodies. You need time to vet and train, and make sure things gel, especially with your existing workforce.
Temporary staff interact with your work teams, along with your customers, so the best seasonal hire is not only qualified, but a great culture fit too. Remember having the wrong person is not better than having no person.
Attract large numbers by simplifying the application process. Lengthy, complicated job applications are a time suck and turn off young, qualified job seekers. Include an option to apply via mobile.
Offer a solid onboarding process
No train, no gain! While it may seem like a waste to spend time onboarding seasonal employees, it’s not—they’re representing your company, sometimes on the front lines, and you need to get them up to speed on your product(s), brand and customers. Take time to check in and give them plenty of opportunities to ask questions. Setting them up for success drives performance, and results in fewer mistakes and less micromanaging by busy managers.
Shorten onboarding windows by pairing new hires even virtually with seasoned employees for a few days—best before the rush arrives.
Reward seasonal work with perks
The last thing you want is someone quitting in the busiest and most stressful time of year. Motivate and engage fix-termed workers by offering an end-of-term bonus or a few creative perks for putting in those long working hours. Think of what benefits would be meaningful incentives—discounts on products or services? Maybe meals or career-enrichment activities?
Go with things that can be obtained in a shorter period and used right away. Then consider extending any company discount even after their position has finished so you can count on them next year. Call it re-recruiting with a bonus for you—zero re-training.
Provide a good seasonal experience
Set them up for a positive experience at your company. Poor employee reviews impact prospective candidates, both full-time and seasonal, and hurt recruiting chances along with your brand. Make sure they feel welcome and appreciated, just like a regular employee. Create opportunities for staff to connect, put healthy snacks in the break rooms, include them in the newsletter, and reward them for going above and beyond.
Sure they come and go, but they leave a lasting impression on your long-term success and lay the groundwork for next year’s seasonal workforce—and future permanent employees.
There’s great talent out there that’s not interested in working directly for an employer or being on the payroll. Contractors are perfect when there’s an uptick in projects, and better still if the seasonal or project work can be done from home. Actually, by making as many jobs as possible work-from-home, you open your business up to dollar savings and untapped talent that could possibly pay full-time dividends in the future.
Post jobs for seasonal and contract workers
Meeting fluctuations by recruiting seasonal employees and contractors isn’t optional—you want to be good to your team and grow your business. Seasonal work isn’t rocket science—the key is to be willing, able and temporarily super staffed to meet that predictable influx of customers and demand in prime peak times. Ready to post a job now? Our self-service job posting tool makes it easy, and even helps you write your job ad for you.