Hiring seasonal workers? Get your holiday staff lined up now
‘Tis the season for hiring seasonal workers for the upcoming winter and holiday months. If your organization typically brings on extra help to meet the increased demand of Q4, this is a good year to do it.
Recent Monster data revealed that 84% of Monster members plan to look for a seasonal job this year, a 59% increase over prior years. More than a third (39%) are looking for seasonal jobs in customer service, with retail (21%) and logistics (15%) rounding out the top three preferred jobs.
We connected with experts for some insight as to what employers can expect as they get ready to fill those short term workers who are very much needed arund the holiday season.
What to think about this year
The first factor impacting your seasonal hiring will likely be the continued low unemployment rate. “The U.S. is in an unprecedented period of employment growth, gaining jobs for over 100 straight months,” says Greg Summers, EVP of high volume at Cielo, a Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) firm. “As the number of Americans working has increased, the unemployment rate has shrunk close to its lowest point in decades.”
For recruiters and hiring managers, this climate means it might be more challenging to search for and fill all of your open positions for seasonal retail hires ahead of the holiday season since most employees currently have roles they don’t plan on leaving.
Not only that, candidates can now be more selective, says Steven Rothberg, president and founder of College Recruiter, a job search portal for students and recent graduates. “Employers must market their job opportunities well, just like they must market their products and services,” he says. “They must also treat their employees well, including paying them at least as much as the employer across the street who is advertising for pretty much the same people.”
The other big issue on the horizon is the potential trade war, says Summers. “There are warning signs that we may be hit with a recession as early as 2020, which means recruiters may need to be agile in their approach,” he says. With impending economic uncertainty, seasonal hiring must happen even quicker since candidates may be less willing to make moves to new organizations. Plus, some companies may be boosting inventories now (and hiring the staff to support that) before tariffs go into full effect and prices increase. Your goal: To offer a quick and efficient hiring process to fill roles before the tides turn.
Tip: Help your job postings stand out by including video job descriptions with Monster Studios. A video component can help bring your job to life, letting the candidates see first-hand what the opportunity is all about.
The rush is on, so start early
For 2019, the National Retail Federation forecasted predicted that retail sales will increase between 3.8 percent and 4.4 percent to more than $3.8 trillion. That may explain why many national retailers have already started hiring. At College Recruiter, Rothberg says they’re already seeing increased spending by traditional retailers who are staffing up for the holidays. “A few years ago, we wouldn’t see that until October,” he says.
Summers concurs, adding that major organizations in the retail space like Kohl’s have already begun their seasonal hiring efforts. And companies like Target, Walmart and Amazon announced that they are offering higher entry-level wages to stay ahead of the seasonal talent competition.
In other words, the early bird recruiter with catch the top talent. “Start now and you will be able to be a bit pickier if you take the time to create a campaign and experience that will draw in the talent you want representing your brand,” says Nancy Estep-Critchett, partner with Blue Rock Search Group, an executive search firm.
What’s more, Estep-Critchett adds that many retailers and small business owners say that they are likely going to hold over at least a few of their seasonal hires. “With the labor market as tight as it is, many small business owners feel that a good fit during the holiday season is a good investment to hold over, given the cost of sourcing and training new talent,” she says.
If that’s your plan as well, you’ll want to use a more aggressive, branded “talent search process,” says Estep-Critchett, to ensure the candidate’s experience is relevant and indictive of the corporate culture of the employer.
You may also consider making your offers more competitive. There has already been a modest increase in hourly wages for retail services this year, says Estep-Critchett. “Consumers are spending more and the retailers and small business owners seem willing to invest in an hourly raise for seasonal workers,” she says.
Some, like Gap Inc., are even offering perks and benefits like discounts, childcare, free flu shots and more.
Along with retail, expect hiring to also ramp up for delivery companies to support all of that online shopping (i.e. FedEx, Shipt, UPS, and the United States Postal Service), accounting firms (which handle taxes and/or end-of-year fiscal deadlines) and winter-related hospitality industries (like ski resorts), says Summers.
Tip: Start today. SearchMonster lets you engage with all of Monster’s candidates at once. For smaller businesses, Monster’s subscription job postings allow you to swap out active jobs at any time, or make changes as you go.
Expand your outreach to gig workers
The gig economy is here to stay, so engaging that workforce is a must for any small business owner or retailer looking for a robust seasonal hiring campaign, says Estep-Critchett.
“This means you are going after talented full-time employees looking for extra income, retirees looking for meaningful experiences, stay-at-home moms and dads wanting to supplement their family’s income and workers who use gigging as their main income source,” she says.
Many gig workers may choose to work full-time hours for just a month or two, while others will embrace the option of a part-time role. Given their entrepreneurial and scrappy nature, gig workers can be a great niche for recruiters to target. “This type of ambition and drive is attractive to most employers,” says Estep-Critchett.
Tip: Tap into freelancers and gig workers using Monster’s mobile app. It’s super easy for candidates on the go to apply using a swipe right or swipe left experience.