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How to Ace Your Seasonal Hiring

By David Bloom, Last Modified
Feb 24, 2019
> Human Resources

If your company or project calendar kicks into gear during specific times of the year, you’re likely looking to add a roster of seasonal hires.

When the job lasts just a few months, it may feel like the hiring process would be shorter to match. But here’s the thing: Seasonal industries have a short time period to perform their best. A weak hire or team can have an outsized effect on business for the year, and the impression left on customers will last until the next season. Make this year surpass expectations with a stellar line-up of seasonal workers.

Attracting the best candidates with your brand

Find your most promising applicants by meeting them where they already are: social media. The average internet user has eight social media accounts, and it’s a safe bet that they don’t spend all their time on LinkedIn.

Take advantage of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, too: The latest research shows that people are just as likely to use social media to get their news as they are to connect with friends. One report showed that 75 percent of potential hires fall under the label of “passive candidates,” meaning your social media recruiting strategy will likely catch the eye of someone you wouldn’t have otherwise targeted for a new job. You’re simply posting content where your future employees are already seeking it. That’s why nearly 15 percent of respondents in a recent survey reported getting jobs through social media.

So, what to post? You may have heard the concept of “building your employer brand.” That means showing some personality! Social media helps nurture relationships, so instead of limiting social posts to job listings, be sure to include some daily life and just-for-fun content. Remember last year’s new hire orientation and end-of-season celebration? Share a photo with a caption about getting ready for this year, using relevant hashtags like #SummerJobs or #tbt (for Throwback Thursday).

Including this range of content in your feed will show all sides of you as an employer, which attracts the candidates that will be happiest on your team.

Avoiding bad hires

While it may seem obvious, the goal of finding great hires is as important as the goal of avoiding less-than-stellar ones. Supervisors report spending nearly one-fifth of their time managing underperforming employees — that’s one full day of an otherwise productive week! 

Start by encouraging employee referrals, so you’ll have trusted candidates rise to the top of your recruiting funnel. Take a look at your interview process: Are you asking enough questions? Are they the right ones? Just because a seasonal employee will work for a short time doesn’t mean their vetting process should be short, too. There are plenty of valid reasons for people to seek seasonal employment, but you should keep an eye out for potential red flags like a choppy resume full of short stints with no explanation.

Another powerful tool in successful seasonal hiring? Fast, affordable, online background checks you can trust. Screening is a critical step to ensure you’re making solid hiring decisions with good information—and not putting your business or customers at risk.

Not all background checks for employment are the same. Regulations vary by region, so make sure that your background check is designed to be compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and that the provider is accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners.

Next, look for a thorough screen that boasts its own tools beyond a basic national database search. Ask about a social security number trace, access to primary sources for criminal records, a Department of Justice Sex Offender Search, and a rigorous QA process for validation. Lastly, look for customization options for job-specific needs, like DMV state driving records or education verification. [Check out's recommendations for the best employee background check services.]

Bringing your best people back next year

Just because a position is seasonal doesn’t mean you can’t have consistency year after year. In businesses like tax preparation and summer school, you’re likely to be able to bring your strongest employees back every year if you provide a positive experience. (A loyalty bonus can’t hurt, either.)

Some companies will benefit from using an applicant tracking system. This growing industry is transforming the way that recruiters and small businesses manage their applicants. Easily and automatically keep track of candidates, resumes, and every completed step of the hiring process. When it’s time to hire next year, you can revisit your top candidates without duplicating efforts.

Of course, it’s easiest to simply keep in touch with your crew throughout the year. If you’re connected on social media, try posting throwback photos during the off-season, or reach out with a quick survey about how to improve. If you know what your team members do when they’re not working for your business, tie that in. Last summer’s camp counselors may be studying for finals right now, and are sure to appreciate some summer memories.

With the right staff, this season could be your best one yet. Give your business the solid foundation it needs to grow — and a top-notch team to make it happen.

David Bloom
David Bloom
See David Bloom's Profile
David Bloom is General Manager of the Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Group at Sterling, the global leader in employment background screening solutions. David was included in Entrepreneur Magazine's Brilliant 100 and on Business Insider’s list of 100 most interesting people in the NYC tech scene. David holds a BA degree from Bates College and an MBA from Cornell University.
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