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Seasonal Hiring Checklist for Retail Employers

Date Published: September 01, 2021 | Last Updated: September 15, 2023 | By Jeramy

If your organization experiences seasonal swings, then you know that hiring for these busy times presents a special challenge. The good news is that typically these seasonal upticks are predictable; we all know when summer is coming, and the holiday season pops up at the same time every year as well. And, since you can predict them, you can plan for them. Being prepared and getting out ahead of the rush is the best strategy for success. In addition, here are five other strategic steps you can take to make your seasonal hiring smooth and seamless.

Your Seasonal Hiring Checklist

√ Define the Scope

Defining your scope is quite possibly the most important thing you can do for smooth and successful seasonal hiring. Asking the following questions will help:

  • When will you need extra staff and for how long? Be precise about start and end dates.
  • What specifically do you need that extra staff to do? It’s often critical for seasonal workers to have prior experience because the short time frame doesn’t leave much room for training.
  • What is your budget? Plan for hiring expenses as well as salaries.
  • Do you plan to terminate the extra staff at the end of your busy season? You’ll need to be clear about your intentions when interviewing candidates.
  • Will you onboard employees or independent contractors? The distinction makes a big difference for taxes.
  • Are you hiring seasonal workers or providing seasonal employment? Again, this is a difference that matters for tax purposes. It also matters for compliance with certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). For example, in some cases, seasonal workers can work full time for a limited number of days without needing benefits. Check with your legal team for details on managing these distinctions.

√ Get Your Paperwork Ready

Seasonal employees require the same amount of paperwork to onboard as permanent employees, which, as you know, is a lot. Whether you’re bringing on five people for extra help or fifty, you’ll appreciate having all the paperwork—digital or actual paper—and other onboarding info organized. It’s also a good idea to include written documentation about the seasonal nature of the work and the exact terms of employment. Asking the employees to sign that they understand these terms will save a lot of grief when the end of the season arrives.

√ Don’t Skip Background Checks

We know what you’re thinking. These employees are only going to be working for a short time; it’s too expensive and too time-consuming to run background checks on seasonal employees. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Background checks, including retail background checks during busy seasons, are critical to the safety and security of your business. Pre-employment background screenings provide important benefits whenever they are run.

  • They serve to verify the individual’s identity and their legal right to work in the United States
  • They confirm the candidate has the experience and training to do the job
  • They reveal dishonest claims on resumes or applications
  • They uncover past criminal behavior that might disqualify them for the position
  • They help organizations mitigate risk

When you examine that list of benefits, it’s easy to see why background checks are just as important for seasonal employees as they are for your permanent team. During your business’ busiest time, you cannot afford to bring an employee on board who is dishonest, potentially unsafe, and incapable of performing the job. Folks who lack integrity use the commotion of holidays and other busy times as cover for their less-than-honest intentions. In fact, when you think about it, a seasonal job and a hectic time are the perfect ingredients for workplace fraud. Accurate’s seamless ATS integrations mean that you can integrate background checks into your seasonal hiring process with practically the click of one button. We will not slow you down.

√ Focus on Key Traits

In addition to your regular interview questions and job requirements, your seasonal employees may need to bring a bit of something extra to the table. Let’s face it: your employees must be on the top of their game during your seasonal rush. The following traits are especially important for handling the demands of retail during the holidays, food service during the high summer, or other similar positions:

  • As predictable as busy seasons are, they’re also unpredictable. You might need to change your hours, switch out schedules, or even change job requirements. Seasonal employees need to be prepared to go with the flow.
  • As mentioned earlier, seasonal employees generally need to know what they’re doing from the get-go as you won’t have time to train them. Finding experienced help for your busy season makes a big difference.
  • Look for people who really want the job and are motivated to do their best. Here’s the thing: seasonal employees know their jobs have a finite end. As a result, it can be tough for them to be invested in doing a good job. But doing a good job is absolutely critical. Your business relies on this busy time to keep it afloat during the slow times. You need people who are enthusiastic and willing to provide exceptional customer service during a time when customers are particularly demanding and when there’s likely no personal benefit at the end for a job well done.

√ Consider Timekeeping

The seasonal rush is, well, a rush. Add to that chaos the need to keep track of hours worked for a passel of new, inexperienced workers, and you have a recipe for disaster. If you’re planning to do that manually, please accept that you are likely to fail. Before—this is important—before the seasonal rush begins, invest in an automated timekeeping system. Give yourself plenty of time to learn the system and make it work for your organization before putting it to work to help manage your busy season. With the help of a solid system, you’ll know payroll will always be effortless and accurate.

The Time to Start is Now

If your business needs to hire extra help for the holidays, the time to start preparing is now. Setting yourself up for success means that your seasonal squad can hit the ground running. Talk to the experts at Accurate today about the role our background screening services can play in your seasonal hiring plan.