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Staffing Tips for Seasonal Hiring this Fall

Date Published: September 16, 2022 | Last Updated:September 15, 2023 | By Suraiya Sarwar
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It’s that time again. If your business ramps up during the fall and winter seasons, then today is the day to start planning your seasonal hiring strategy. But, as you’re well aware, padding your workforce with temporary employees during your busiest time, while completely necessary, is also full of potential pitfalls. But here’s the truth:

Your busiest season is the optimal time for you to put your best foot forward to serve your customers. 

Your seasonal workforce may be temporary, but these individuals can impact how your customers view your business. Your customers are also busy at this time of year, and they won’t overlook poor service simply because a temporary employee provided it. It’s crucial to recruit and onboard seasonal workers who embody the best your organization has to offer. Here is a seasonal hiring checklist for retail employers with five tips to help you assemble an optimal staff this fall.

Fine Tune Your Job Descriptions

Do you have a habit of publishing the same seasonal job descriptions you’ve been using for years? Rework your job descriptions to ensure they are accurate and up to date. Be specific about the seasonal nature of the job and what skills you need for the individual to be effective.

Don’t Assume it Will Be Easy

Assume the opposite; finding competent seasonal workers can be challenging. To overcome the challenge, try the following:

  • Source candidates who are more likely to be looking for seasonal work. College students on gap years, recent HS grads, retirees, veterans, and similar groups are great resources for workers who prefer temporary work and have the flexibility needed.
  • Look for attitude. Dependability and motivation are often more critical to temporary work than specific skills. Depending on the nature of the tasks at hand, businesses often benefit from focusing on hiring folks with a can-do attitude rather than on looking for people with experience or training.
  • Establish a “same time next year” policy. Give preference to successful candidates who wish to return for another season.
  • Offer incentives to stay the entire season. You work hard to get your seasonal crew in place; don’t assume it will stay in place for the duration. The last thing you need is to be shorthanded again halfway through. A bonus at the end is often all it takes to encourage temporary employees to stay as long as you need them.

Dedicate Sufficient Resources to Training

You can’t throw seasonal hires out onto the floor to sink or swim and expect success. Your seasonal employees aren’t fillers for your schedule; they’re the face of your organization during your busiest time. Without them, you can’t serve your customers. It’s worth using precious resources to train them properly. Take the time to develop a targeted seasonal workforce training program that can be implemented efficiently.

Don’t Cut Corners

It’s incredibly tempting to cut corners for seasonal hires. Afterall, these temps are only in house for a short time, so why mess with background checks, drug tests, and other screening measures? Bypassing these standard HR processes to save time and money might seem like a good idea during a seasonal hiring crunch, but don’t do it. Poor quality seasonal employees can do incredible harm to your business and reputation. Fraud and theft levels among temporary workers are high, as are substance abuse and other issues. Putting your seasonal business in the hands of less-than-honest workers is bad for business.

That said, seasonal hiring needs to happen quickly and efficiently. To get the people in place when you need them, try the following:

  • Use one staffing vendor. If you’re using a staffing agency to help find workers, stick with one agency. Promising all your business to one firm will get you the time and attention you need.
  • Use an applicant tracking system (ATS). If you aren’t already using ATS integrations to streamline your hires, it’s time to get on board. An integrated ATS provides all the tools you need to manage the flow of applications from the initial application submission all the way through pre-screening calls, interviews, job offers, and background checks.

Avoid Legal Minefields

Pre-employment background screenings are essential for protecting your property, data, and reputation. Still, the crunch of seasonal hiring can sometimes lead to screening mistakes that result in costly problems, including litigation. You don’t get a pass on all the legal stuff involved with hiring just because the workers are temporary; all the same rules apply, especially when it comes to background checks. Here are the most common mistakes to avoid:

  • Missing disclosures and authorizations

Before the check is run, you must disclose to applicants that a background check is being requested and receive their written consent. Timing and language for these disclosures and authorizations are critical.

  • Missing pre-adverse and adverse action requirements

If the background screen reveals information that causes you to reconsider an employment opportunity, this is called an adverse action. Applicants must be notified that you are considering an adverse action and be given the opportunity to respond. If, after their response, you still wish to proceed with the adverse action, the applicant must again be notified.

  • Violations of state and local ban-the-box and fair chance laws

Employers are not allowed to blindly discriminate against applicants based on the presence of a criminal record alone. Ban-the-box and fair chance laws are meant to protect against this type of discrimination by eliminating yes/no questions about criminal history on job applications. These laws vary by jurisdiction, so it’s important to be certain what the laws are in your area.

  • Assessing criminal history information

Again, it’s not legal to discriminate based on criminal history. But, the law does allow employers to safeguard their businesses. It’s important to have a well-defined, written policy describing who you screen, why you screen, and what types of infractions will be disqualifying. And it’s essential to adhere to the policy consistently.

  • Skipping screens for third parties and temporary workers

Hiring risks are present at every level of your organization. Anyone who has access to your inventory, customers, and data needs to be screened for your protection. Third parties and seasonal workers are no exception, which is why background checks of some kind need to be conducted at every level.

Does Your Seasonal Hiring Strategy Need Help?

Accurate has the tools and experience to help your organization quickly and efficiently screen seasonal employees. From ATS integrations that make fully compliant background checks smooth and seamless to informative webinars that keep you up to date on all the latest information regarding background checks, Accurate is here for you. And, when you work with Accurate, you can be confident that all the legal minefields are covered. Whether you’re a large organization hiring dozens of seasonal employees or a small shop hiring a handful of temps, we’ve got cost-effective solutions for all your hiring needs.

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