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How to Hire Seasonal Employees

Some businesses – such as summer camps or ski resorts – rely solely on seasonal employees. Others, such as retail or tax professionals, need to hire temporary workers to supplement their staff during their busy seasons. While it can feel like an overwhelming task to bring on workers for only a season, doing so may help meet customer demand without having to sacrifice service or quality. Here are some tips to make the seasonal hiring process smoother for your business.

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Write a Clear Job Description for Seasonal Roles

A compelling, clear job description will help you make a successful hire. Transparency is vital when compiling information about the job description. Your job posting should include:

  • Relevant keywords. The word “seasonal” or “temporary” should be in the job title and employment start/end dates should be highlighted in the description.
  • Know your needs. Detail the exact positions you are looking to fill and the skills that are required to be successful in the role.
  • Highlight job benefits. Be upfront about any discounts, perks or bonuses employees are eligible for to make you job stand out.

Start Hiring Early and Onboard Quickly

There is often competition for qualified seasonal talent. Attract the best candidates by starting your hiring process early and ensure a smooth onboarding process by following these tips:

  • Start as early as possible. As soon as you know what your hiring needs are, start the search and review as many qualified applications as possible. Seasonal employees likely submit applications to numerous companies and it may be more difficult to find talent late in the season.
  • Ask good interview questions. When reviewing candidates, filter out any candidates you feel might not be the best culture fit. Ask about any time commitments or restrictions which may affect scheduling.
  • Specific job training. Bring seasonal employees onboard with enough time to ensure sufficient job training. Thorough job preparation will reduce issues during the season and will help keep your seasonal staff engaged.

Where To Find Seasonal Employees

If you know where to look, you can find a wealth of quality talent to add to your team. Here are a few places you can find seasonal talent:

  • Former staff. If this isn’t your first busy period, it is worth reviewing the staff from your previous busy seasons. An employee who is already familiar with your company and the rush you experience will be able to contribute quickly, and may even be able to help train new workers.
  • Employee referrals. Your full-time employees may have friends or family who are looking for seasonal work to supplement their income. It may be beneficial to offer referral bonuses to suggestions that lead to successful hires.
  • Job search engines. Using a job search engine like Indeed places your job description in front of a wealth of candidates who are already looking for opportunities like yours. Include a strong job description so job seekers can easily find your role.

Retaining Your Seasonal Staff

With all of the costs and effort put forth in attracting, hiring and training seasonal staff, retaining these employees is key to ensuring a successful season. To keep your new hires through the season:

  • Treat them like family. Treat the seasonal staff with the same respect and conditions that your full-time staff receives.
  • Keep communication open. Fielding concerns and problems before they become unsolvable will develop trust with seasonal staff and keep them returning.
  • Offer a bonus. Offering an additional pay bonus is a great way to keep employees on through the season. If you are offering a bonus, make sure to highlight it early in the application and hiring process.
  • Be prepared to hire again. Even if you have managed to hire the perfect seasonal staff, there may be a need to bring on additional employees to either replace or supplement your workforce before the end of the season. Keep qualified applicants on hand in case.

End of Season

Ending a busy season can be a rewarding yet bittersweet moment. How you end a relationship with seasonal staff can help next year’s hiring. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Free next year? Simply put, ask outgoing employees if they would be interested in returning for the next season. Some workers design their needs and lifestyle around managing seasonal and temporary jobs and may be looking for another opportunity next year.
  • Exit interviews. To learn from successes and drawbacks, make sure to facilitate exit interviews with seasonal employees regardless of how long they worked with you. Having informative feedback can help streamline next year’s efforts.
  • Permanent talent. Tempting as it may be, you will likely not have the means or resources to bring every seasonal employee on full-time. However, keep an eye out on exceptional staffers who would be an excellent full-time fit should anything change in the near future.

When it comes to maintaining your operations or providing excellent customer service during your busiest months, hiring seasonal employees can help keep your business moving without taking on an excess of employees.

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