3 Tips for Building a Seasonal Recruiting Strategy

Posted by Ryan Frazier

With fall just around the corner, seasonal recruiting is top of mind for many employers, especially those who work in fields like hospitality and retail. And with seasonal employees now making up more of the workforce than ever before — a whopping 700,000 workers last year — having a seasonal recruiting strategy in place can help you handle the additional time spent on interviewing and onboarding candidates. 

In addition to being aware of the employment regulations for seasonal staff, a few simple tips can ensure that your seasonal recruiting efforts integrate well with your existing hiring strategy. From creating a hiring timeline to using social media to find candidates and having the right tools to manage your talent pool, here’s how to build a seasonal recruiting strategy that works for you.

1. Develop an effective hiring timeline

Seasonal recruiting is often fast-paced so making sure you have a clear idea of your hiring needs at the outset is extremely important. If you work in a service-oriented industry like retail, that means knowing exactly how much staff you’ll need during the holidays and ensuring that you’re able to be fully staffed in time. A good rule of thumb is to start recruiting in September and to hire the bulk of your seasonal staff before Thanksgiving. Since reports show that 94% of seasonal jobs are filled by November, ramping up your hiring in September and October will help you meet your staffing needs in time.

Pro Tip: When developing your hiring strategy, it’s good to look back at your records from previous years to get a sense of what worked well in terms of recruiting — and what can be improved. If you’re in the process of scaling your company, your seasonal staffing needs may be changing and knowing this at the outset can help ensure that you won’t be short-staffed when the busy season hits.

2. Use employee referrals to build your talent pipeline

Employee referrals can make a big difference to your overall recruiting and that’s especially true when it comes to seasonal hiring. In fact, since so many seasonal employees are referred by word of mouth, relying on existing team members to help spread the word can help you find great talent fast. The best way to do it? Ask employees to post open roles on social media (and I’m not just talking about LinkedIn — Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can be good options too) and to pass along the details of any qualified prospects. This is an excellent way to connect with people who have already been pre-screened and are likely to fit in well with the team.

Pro Tip: Offering referral bonuses to your employees is a great way to reward them for bringing in new talent and to cut down on hiring costs. And they don’t have to be straight cash bonuses. Incentives like gift cards, trips, and other prizes can make the referral process fun and let your team members know that you appreciate their help.

3. Offer seasonal employees a great candidate experience

Although seasonal hiring generally occurs on a faster timeline than traditional hiring, it should still be a smooth experience for your candidates. This includes keeping the lines of communication open and letting candidates know where things stand in the process. In addition to ensuring that you won’t miss out on any qualified hires, this is also an effective way to show prospective employees that you’re committed to treating your team respectfully whether they’re a seasonal employee or a full-time staff member.

Pro Tip: Implementing an all-in-one solution such as a candidate engagement platform can help you streamline communication without a lot of added effort. Best of all, it can ensure that candidates stay engaged and make the hiring process easier. 

While seasonal hiring can certainly feel overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. By putting a strategy in place to help you hire quickly and efficiently, you move into your busy period prepared to handle whatever lies ahead. 

Want to improve your recruiting strategy? Learn how to overcome a talent shortage and what the gig economy can teach you about recruiting.

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