The holiday season will soon be upon us, which means you're probably going to need extra help. Though the weather is still warm, now is the time to locate, recruit and interview potential holiday employees.
With the unemployment rate at 3.9 percent in July (compared to 2017 at 4.3) and some states at historically low levels, the hunt for seasonal employees may be more competitive this year. And that gives business owners even more incentive to start looking for ideal candidates sooner rather than later.
Stiff Competition for Qualified Seasonal Workers
“Although the job market is tight and unemployment is low, you can still find great people," says Barbara Wasden, owner of Complete Property Restoration, a full-service restoration company specializing in asbestos and mold removal.
—Libba Durrett, owner, Sparklers Online
“My company experiences fierce competition for quality seasonal employees in the spring and summer months, but the same rules apply during the holiday season for businesses such as retail," says Wasden. “If you make a concerted effort to hire high-quality holiday employees, you can succeed. Even better, you may find great future permanent employees this way."
Securing holiday employees now and having them start work well ahead of the holidays also gives you time to onboard them.
“I like to have seasonal employees learn my business before the holiday season begins," says Libba Durrett, owner of Sparklers Online, which carries sparklers for celebratory occasions.
“If I'm hiring for the holiday season, I secure holiday employees before Thanksgiving," she says. “By providing a buffer between their first days working and the days we start taking orders and become crazy busy [with] shipping, we give new employees the best opportunities to not only succeed at temporary employment, but also enjoy it."
Importance of Carefully Vetting Holiday Employees
As Durrett sees it, many business owners fail to realize the importance of thoroughly interviewing and training holiday employees.
“So many business owners look at holiday employees as temp positions that aren't worth investing the same resources into that you might for full-time, permanent employees," she says. “That's silly, because in your busy season you're going to achieve a majority of your revenue, make or break your reputation on review sites and plant the seeds for the next season. If anything, holiday employees are incredibly vital to your year-round success."
Making onboarding as smooth as possible and treating holiday employees well also saves you time in the future, believes Durrett.
“I pay my seasonal employees competitively, because they're worth it. I also like to recruit them to work for me in the future," says Durrett. “The more times I bring someone back to Sparklers Online, the less training and hiring I need to do.
“I think of seasonal workers as Special Teams in [football]," continues Durrett. “They might only "play" two minutes of the game, but those two minutes are some of the most exciting and impactful. During the holidays when shipping deadlines are tight, you often only have one chance to get it right. That fact further drives home the need to hire the right seasonal help."
5 Tips for Locating Ideal Holiday Employees
Given the increasing competition to find solid seasonal workers, it makes sense to take advantage of every possible avenue. Here are five tips for locating topnotch holiday employees.
1. Consider using AI.
If you require a high volume of holiday employees, you may want to give AI a try, suggests Chris Collins, CEO of RoboRecruiter.
His company features real-time, automated communication between employers and potential candidates using AI. Artificial intelligence is increasingly being used for tasks such as scanning multiple resumes in order to identify potential employees.
2. Inquire with current employees.
“Ask your workers if they know anyone who is looking for a job," suggests Wasden. “Find out who their favorite past co-workers were and where they are now."
3. Use social media.
Warden suggests using Facebook and Twitter ads to target candidates. Durrett, on the other hand, has found that Instagram posts appeal to the demographic she's looking to hire.
4. Post on multiple job boards and your website.
Getting the word out as much as possible is the best way to cast a wide net and catch some prize holiday employees. Do be discriminating about where you post, as you want a targeted group of candidates.
You might also be surprised at how many people will see a job posting on your website's homepage and respond. This is a good place to post, as those who see the posting are generally interested in your business.
5. Inquire with local career centers, colleges and universities.
Durrett is located near colleges and universities, so she's able to post jobs and pull from this vast labor pool that is primed for temporary employment.
“Since the holidays coincide with winter breaks, I always have a great group of students applying for positions," she says.
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