How To Hire Seasonal Employees: 8 Steps for Success

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Reviewed by Matt Pelkey
• 5 minute read
Seasonal hire working in an ice cream shop

It’s tough for any small business to hire the right employees. But hiring seasonal help can be even harder — and more important. Ice cream shops and lawn care businesses can see as much demand in the summer months as they do the entire rest of the year.

No matter when your busy season is, the challenge remains the same — how do you hire the best seasonal employees?

Having the right team in place can help ensure your operations run smoothly and customers still receive the best care. Here are a few things that can help you during the seasonal hiring process.

How to hire great seasonal employees

1. Start recruiting early.

Don’t wait until you need extra help to start looking for extra help. Begin identifying your staffing needs early by looking at past years. This gives you more time to focus on finding the right fit rather than rushing to fill positions.

2. Write a great job description.

Your job description should clearly outline the roles and expectations of the positions. Make it clear that it’s a seasonal job to ensure your candidates know what they’re applying for. You should also make your job posting enticing. Talk about your company’s culture and the benefits of working there.

3. Create a great recruitment strategy.

Your recruitment strategy should go beyond posting on job boards. Leverage social media, ask for employee referrals and network with local schools or community groups. Finding the right seasonal staff takes work, and your recruitment strategy should reflect that.

4. Offer competitive benefits and pay.

People often think that seasonal work comes with lower pay and fewer benefits than a full-time position. But seasonal work is still work, even if it’s short-term. Many seasonal employees value the flexibility and they’re coming in to help during one of the busiest times of the year. Offering competitive wages and additional perks can help you hire the best seasonal team members.

5. Rehire returning employees.

If you had a seasonal employee who did well last year, you may want to reach out and see if they’re looking for seasonal employment again. They may even reapply on their own, and you should consider giving these applicants priority. Returning employees already know your business, which can help streamline the onboarding process.

6. Offer training.

You should train your temporary employees similarly to how you train your full-time employees. Give them all the tools they need and create a training program that ensures they’re properly onboarded. This can help you maintain the same level of customer service and it will help your new hires feel more comfortable in the position.

7. Conduct exit interviews.

After peak season is done and your temporary workers are getting ready to leave, you should conduct exit interviews. Getting feedback from seasonal employees can provide valuable insights into your business strengths and weaknesses. It helps you find ways to make improvements year-round.

8. Invite them back for next season.

Make sure your seasonal employees know that they can come back next year. This is a great retention strategy to keep your best seasonal employees coming back for the busy season. It can also give you a set of returning staff that adds a layer of stability and experience to your workforce.

What are the advantages of seasonal employees?

Help during busy times. Having the support you need during peak season is crucial. You don’t want to overload your full-time staff by having them try to keep up with the increased demand, as this can lead to burnout. By hiring temporary staff members to help during these busy periods, you can ensure that your business runs smoothly and effectively.

Savings. During the off-season, you might not require as many employees. Seasonal hiring allows you to have the help you need when you need it without having employees on the payroll during slow periods.

Access to a wider talent pool. You can tap into a more diverse set of applicants by offering temporary employment. This could include college students looking for work during breaks, retirees who don’t want to work year round and more. These new employees can help bring fresh perspectives and different skills.

Find potential permanent employees. Seasonal roles offer a way to assess a new employee’s fit within the company culture and their performance. You may find your next great permanent hire from your pool of seasonal workers.

Where do I find seasonal employees?

Finding the best fit for a seasonal position can be hard — but it helps to list your job posting where job seekers will see it. Using online platforms like job boards and social media can be a good idea, but don’t overlook the benefits of referrals and local ads. Use your network to get the word out.

What are some ways to keep hiring and training costs low?

Recruiting, training and managing a seasonal workforce can be expensive. Here are a few ways for small business owners to keep costs down.

Streamline your recruitment and training process. From keeping track of resumes to online training platforms, there are a ton of digital tools that can help make your recruitment and onboarding process efficient. Consider where you need the most help and do some research to find the right tools.

Implement an employee referral program. Offer your regular employees incentives for helping you find the right candidates. This could be a cash bonus, a gift card or maybe an extra day of PTO. Word-of-mouth can be an effective recruitment strategy.

Use new training methods. If you have a lot of seasonal help coming in at the same time, you can take advantage of group training. This means you’re not spending time individually training each new employee.

DISCLAIMER: This content is for informational purposes only. OnDeck and its affiliates do not provide financial, legal, tax or accounting advice.