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16th May 2023

How to Hire for Every Season

There’s a big season ahead and you’re going to need the right people in place to make it a success. So how do you make seasonal recruitment work for your business?

It’s almost that time of year. Business is about to boom and, for a while at least, you’re going to need a lot more people. So how do you recruit them? Here’s our guide to recruiting for every season.

Seasonal hiring: spring and summer

The big advantage of running seasonal recruitment campaigns in spring is that you’re tapping into the workforce at precisely the point of the year when most people are thinking of their next career move. It’s also the point when most school and college leavers are heading towards their final exams. That makes this a good time to attract people thinking of dipping their toe back into the world of work, or those who are about to enter it for the first time and need to get some experience under their belts.
For major spring and summer recruitment drives, consider taking advantage of the (theoretically) better weather with a recruitment event, which gives you a chance to meet applicants face to face, and for them to get a real feel of what it’s like to work with you.

Seasonal hiring: autumn and winter

By winter, of course, we mean Christmas and the January sales period, although most retailers will be recruiting by September (and some as early as August) to ensure they have their temporary staff in post, onboarded and ready to go in good time for the Christmas crowds to arrive. Which brings us to the first consideration for seasonal hires over the Christmas period…

Start early:

You may be pressing ‘go’ on your Xmas recruitment in August (that is, getting your retail recruiter up to speed with your plans and putting the practicalities in place), but your own planning should take place considerably sooner. It always feels a little weird to be discussing Christmas during the warm days of June/July, but it’s key to coming out of the starting blocks quickly come the autumn. That means you’ll have access to the largest possible pool of the best candidates (before your competitors snap them up).

Maintain your standards:

Christmas recruitment can often bring a sense of panic for retailers. All those positions to fill and so little time to do it – it’s easy to see how you might be tempted to opt for a quantity over quality approach. We’d argue that’s never the right option, and certainly not at Christmas.
Christmas is the time when your people can make the greatest impact. It’s when your up-sellers and cross-sellers can have their greatest effect; when brilliant customer service can really make a difference; and when a great team player can make the biggest difference to the team they’re playing with.
There’s also an argument to say that, when you need people to get up to speed really quickly, high calibre people matter more, not less.

So whatever standards you’d usually expect of your people, expect it from your seasonal recruits too.

Tips for all seasonal hiring

  1. Contact last year’s successes

    Yes, most of last year’s crop of final-year students may now have started their full-time working lives, but what about everyone else? Regular seasonal recruits not only make your recruitment job easier, they can also help the new team find their feet faster.

    If you haven’t already put processes in place, ask this year’s crop of seasonal recruits for permission to keep hold of their details for next year.

  2. Run an internal referrals programme

    It’s a few years old and relates to the US, but this Gallup study makes an important point: when you ask your existing staff to recommend workers, those candidates are 40% more likely to interview successfully. There’s no reason to suggest this doesn’t apply equally to seasonal recruitment.

    Offer your people an incentive to refer, and you could find everyone benefits.

  3. Stress the seasonal

    It’s important that you identify the extent to which these seasonal opportunities may (or may not) turn into something more permanent. Many of the people applying for the roles may not want or be able to commit to something more permanent, so you’re not necessarily damaging your chances of success by being open about the fact that the job won’t last beyond the end of the season.

    It’s certainly the better option than dangling a carrot of permanent employment that doesn’t really exist.

  4. Target your ads

    A seasonal worker probably won’t care too much that you offer incredible progression routes. Your pension scheme won’t be much of an incentive. In fact, many of your employee perks may not apply to someone who’ll only be with you for 6-10 weeks.

    So tailor your ads to your audience and focus on the things that really will make a  difference to a seasonal employee. Focus on the work environment, the team, the chance to gain new skills or the opportunity to put well-honed skills back into practice.

  5. Target your offering

    We’ve just discussed the need to tailor your ads so you’re not trying to attract seasonal staff using an ad that talks about the opportunities and benefits enjoyed by permanent employees. 

    The alternative approach is to ensure seasonal workers enjoy either many of the same benefits as your permanent workers, or a tailored set of perks just for them. A seasonal worker perks package tells potential applicants a great deal about the way you treat your seasonal staff, and the more reasons you can give someone to join you, the better.

  6. Target every age group

    The phrase ‘seasonal worker’ tends to conjure images of college and university students. Yet while students may indeed be a big part of your seasonal recruitment plans, they shouldn’t be your only target.

    Older workers bring experience, confidence and a well-honed set of skills to their work. It’s also possible that they could return year after year, which is perhaps rather less likely with students.

    You can’t, of course, create ads that exclude or disadvantage anyone, but you can target your ads in a way that ensures potential applicants of every age see them.

Seasonal recruitment with Zachary Daniels

Putting plans in place for your next seasonal recruitment campaign? We’re ready to help. Find out more about volume (and seasonal) recruitment with Zachary Daniels, or let’s have a chat.

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