Strategic Tips for Hiring Seasonal Employees

For companies experiencing seasonal peaks, the ability to recruit effective temporary staff is more crucial than ever. Whether it’s for retail and hospitality during the holiday or summer rush, tech companies during major project rollouts, or accounting firms at tax time, seasonal workers—be they contractors or temporary part-time or full-time employees—are vital to the success of these industries. However, finding qualified candidates for such roles presents unique challenges.

Seasonal hiring requires a faster process than traditional hiring—attraction, interviewing, and onboarding must be expedited. This may seem overwhelming, especially when you are only bringing on staff for a few months or even just for a single project. Yet, with the right strategies, this process can be streamlined, making it less daunting and more efficient.

It’s important to recognize that competition for seasonal workers is intense in the U.S. labor market. The demand for flexible employment opportunities has surged, and businesses must adapt to stay competitive. By keeping up with employment trends through resources like the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which offers detailed and updated data monthly, businesses can better plan their hiring strategies.

Time is ticking so don’t let the best temporary hires get away. Finding the right seasonal workers is crucial for managing workload spikes during peak periods. Here’s how you can effectively search for and recruit the temporary talent you need:

How to Find Seasonal Workers

Utilize Specialized PlatformsMonster is an excellent platform for targeting seasonal workers. Also, consider utilizing career centers on university and college campuses to reach students.

Leverage Social Media and Your Website: Post job openings on social media platforms that align with your target demographic. Ensure your company website has an accessible career page linked directly from the homepage to attract applicants.

Implement an Employee Referral Program: Encourage your employees to share job ads on their social networks. Reward employees who refer successful hires with bonuses or extra days off.

Reengage Former Employees: Reach out to recently retired staff, previous interns, and past seasonal workers. They are already familiar with your organization and can reduce training time.

Involve Your Community: Engage your customers and fans by asking them to refer potential candidates. This can also strengthen your relationship with them.

Review Past Candidates: Contact candidates from past job postings who were overqualified or not selected for the singular roles available at the time. They might be interested in seasonal opportunities for additional income and experience.

By diversifying your recruitment strategies and offering incentives, you can effectively build a robust pipeline of seasonal employees.

Start Hiring Early

You want first dibs on qualified candidates so it’s best to start as early as three months in advance of your seasonal needs. You’re not just looking for warm bodies. You need time to vet and train, and make sure things gel, especially with your existing workforce. Temporary staff interact with your work teams, along with your customers, so the best seasonal hire is not only qualified, but a great culture fit too. Remember having the wrong person is not better than having no person. Attract large numbers by simplifying the application process. Lengthy, complicated job applications are a time suck and turn off young, qualified job seekers. Include an option to apply via mobile.

Offer a Solid Onboarding Process

No train, no gain! While it may seem like a waste to spend time onboarding seasonal employees, it’s not—they’re representing your company, sometimes on the front lines, and you need to get them up to speed on your product(s), brand and customers. Take time to check in and give them plenty of opportunities to ask questions. Setting them up for success drives performance, and results in fewer mistakes and less micromanaging by busy managers. Shorten onboarding windows by pairing new hires even virtually with seasoned employees for a few days—best before the rush arrives.

Reward Seasonal Work With Perks

The last thing you want is someone quitting in the busiest and most stressful time of year. Motivate and engage fix-termed workers by offering an end-of-term bonus or a few creative perks for putting in those long working hours. Think of what benefits would be meaningful incentives—discounts on products or services? Maybe meals or career-enrichment activities? Go with things that can be obtained in a shorter period and used right away. Then consider extending any company discount even after their position has finished so you can count on them next year. Call it re-recruiting with a bonus for you—zero re-training.

Provide a Good Seasonal Experience

Set them up for a positive experience at your company. Poor employee reviews impact prospective candidates, both full-time and seasonal, and hurt recruiting chances along with your brand. Make sure they feel welcome and appreciated, just like a regular employee. Create opportunities for staff to connect, put healthy snacks in the break rooms, include them in the newsletter, and reward them for going above and beyond. Sure they come and go, but they leave a lasting impression on your long-term success and lay the groundwork for next year’s seasonal workforce—and future permanent employees.

Consider Contractors

There’s great talent out there that’s not interested in working directly for an employer or being on the payroll. Contractors are perfect when there’s an uptick in projects, and better still if the seasonal or project work can be done from home. Actually, by making as many jobs as possible work-from-home, you open your business up to dollar savings and untapped talent that could possibly pay full-time dividends in the future.

Post Jobs For Seasonal and Contract Workers

Meeting fluctuations by recruiting seasonal employees and contractors isn’t optional—you want to be good to your team and grow your business. Seasonal work isn’t rocket science—the key is to be willing, able and temporarily super staffed to meet that predictable influx of customers and demand in prime peak times. Ready to post a job now? Our self-service job posting tool makes it easy, and even helps you write your job ad for you.

Don’t Cut Corners

You may be tempted to save short-term costs by bypassing some HR processes for seasonal employees. This can bring trouble on many fronts, from fielding confused workers to running afoul of labor laws. So, keep your seasonal workers on your regular HR platform, and disseminate systems and knowledge to branch offices that are hiring for the season. “We supply franchisees with information on how to interview and evaluate candidates, with orientation and training programs, and with all the forms they’ll need,” says Lemcke.

Don’t Assume High Unemployment Makes Seasonal Hiring Easy

When the economy fluctuates, it’s important to remember that higher unemployment doesn’t necessarily mean that quality candidates will line up at your door. In fact, “we’ve experienced pockets of the country where it was very difficult to hire,” says Lemcke.

The catch in these conditions is that extensions of federal and state jobless benefits have made many workers eligible to collect benefits for a long time, reducing the motivation to find work, according to Mark Perry, a professor of economics at University of Michigan in Flint.

Use One Staffing Vendor

If you use multiple staffing vendors, consider giving just one an exclusive for your seasonal hires. Staffing agencies may be swamped recruiting seasonal employees for many clients at once. If you promise one agency all your business, they may be more willing to go the extra mile to bring you the best seasonal workers.

Don’t Assume That All Your Seasonal Hires Are Temporary

Many of your seasonal workers will never be candidates for permanent positions, but some of them could be. Tag potential permanent hires early on, keeping close tabs on their performance. At the end of the season, evaluate their fitness for full-time employment.

Don’t Neglect Your End Game

Never assume that your workforce will remain intact through the season; it most likely won’t. “No matter how much we plan, we still have to hire some people toward the end of the season,” says Lemcke. Consider structuring compensation to reward seasonal workers for staying as long as you need them. “Our lawn-care technicians get a bonus based on production if they complete the season,” Lemcke adds.

Does Your Seasonal Hiring Strategy Need a Long-Term Fix? We Can Help

Whether you’re recruiting seasonal employees or a permanent workforce, you always face the challenge of knowing how to appeal to the right candidates. This can change each year — or even each season — which is why it would help to keep tabs on the latest job market insights. Stay connected with Monster for free access to hiring resources that will add immediate value to your recruitment efforts.