For businesses that need extra help during the season, the holidays start with their first "Help Wanted" ad for seasonal work. Make sure you are ready to find the best holiday help for your company.
The holiday season doesn't always start with the first snowfall or the first holiday sales event. No, for businesses that need extra help during the season, the holidays start with the placing of their client's first "Help Wanted" ad.
Hiring holiday help has become a common practice for several industries including; retail, hospitality, shipping/delivery, administrative/clerical, customer service, food preparation, and sales. Large and small companies hire cashiers, stockers, warehouse and loading dock workers, managers, and sales clerks to help facilitate the hectic holiday shopping season and the January returns.
In 2006, 58 percent of employers surveyed by CareerBuilder.com said they were going to need extra hands in store to meet increased business demands associated with the holidays and end-of-the-year wrap-ups.
While 28 percent of hiring managers expected to hire fewer than 10 seasonal workers, 15 percent planed to hire more than 50 workers and nearly one-in-10 planed to hire more than 100 workers before the holidays. CareerBuilder.com expects the need for seasonal workers to continue in the 2007 holiday season.
Far too often, hiring managers become overwhelmed around the holidays, as stressful shopping seasons begin. Many times, a manager’s only concern becomes the number of bodies needed to meet those demands - hiring in quantity without much concern for quality.
An experienced hiring manager understands that while most of the candidates may only be temporary, they still represent the business and should be held to the same high standards as permanent employees. The biggest challenge companies both large and small face this holiday season is the tight labor market, with unemployment at only about 4.6 percent (Bureau of Labor Statistics, August 2007). You must compete with other small businesses to attract the limited amount of candidates looking for holiday employment.
Begin to post your seasonal openings early. While many companies target November to place their first openings, you really should start the recruitment process in September or October.
This will not only provide you with more time to meet your hiring needs, but it will also benefit your business because you will reach more qualified candidates before other seasonal employers have touched them.
Now is not the time to be frugal, but it is also not the time to be careless. Keep a scrutinizing eye on every application or resume you receive, looking for the qualities that would provide the best fit for your needs. You may have several positions open, but it is still important to pick the right person to fill each one.
If your openings include retail or sales, you want to pay special attention to the candidate's personality in an interview. The person who fills the spot will have to deal with angry and annoyed holiday shoppers and must be able to maintain cool, calm, and smiley in all situations.
College students make excellent candidates during the holiday season. During their winter break, most stay on campus or head home. In either case, many are in need of some extra cash (be sure to find out their available dates during the interview process) and are willing to work a seasonal job. Plus, these students typically make great hires for retail and sales positions, and their youth works well for warehouse and stock work.
There is an extremely large job market for retirees, and businesses are quickly finding that they make excellent full- or part-time candidates. For starters, this group of candidates is available in an increasing abundance, as the baby boomer generation continues to reach retirement.
Also, retired workers provide years of valuable work and life experience, which they can apply to many positions. In addition, this group of candidates likes flexible assignments that allow them to enjoy their retirement while still pulling in some extra money.
When reviewing candidate resumes, look for experience related to your opening. Seems obvious right? However, during the busy seasonal hiring rush, just finding a willing body seems to be enough for some businesses. Don't let your quality slip and risk hurting your company.
It never hurts to look at a candidate as a possible long-term employee rather than just a part-time hire. If your candidate performs above expectations and a full-time opportunity opens up, there is a good chance he or she may be a perfect fit for longer than just for the season.
In the best interest of your company, it is important with seasonal hires that you double check their references. Candidates who are available for temporary work should have previous employers listed as references who can attest to their performance, professionalism, and character. If they refuse to provide a former employer as a reference, refuse to give their resume a second look.
Good hiring managers search for candidates who will match their brand image and tone, especially in the holiday season. Temporary workers should not only look and feel like they belong working at your company but also they should act like they belong. For example, you wouldn't hire a qualified candidate who just so happens to have the personality of Scrooge if you ran a company that sells cotton candy and bubbles.
Regardless of how many hires you make this holiday season, be sure that each one is qualified and a good representative of your company. Hiring the top talent, even if it is only temporary, could be the difference between getting a great holiday season, or that dreaded lump of coal.
Effective employee onboarding has a positive domino effect: it ensures that new hires feel welcome and prepared, giving them confidence and resources to make an impact within the organization, and also allowing the company to move forward.
Retail employers will be doing some shopping themselves - for talent. Many employers surveyed have open positions for which they cannot find qualified candidates. Read the major recruitment and retention strategies for the retail industry in 2008.
Hiring temporary employees is becoming a method small and medium businesses use to "test-drive" potential permanent employees. Temporary hiring can offer a great situation for the candidate and your company, and often can lead to a high quality permanent hire.