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Advice for Employers and Recruiters

15 employers share their secrets for recruiting part-timers

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
Anita Jobb AvatarAnita Jobb
February 16, 2024

I’m almost certainly preaching to the choir here, but anyone who has hired people into salaried and hourly, full- and part-time, leadership and early career, or permanent and temporary roles will know that what works for one kind of candidate often fails miserably for another.

That got us to thinking, what are some of the best ways to recruit part-time employees? To answer that question, we asked 15 employers how their organizations — or ones they previously worked at — improved their hiring of part-time employees.

  • Focus on Passions and Growth
  • Tailor Recruitment to Specific Skills
  • Align Candidate Expectations with Needs
  • Customize Hiring Experiences for Candidates
  • Incentivize Referrals from Current Staff
  • Establish a Virtual Mentorship Program
  • Highlight Benefits and Growth Opportunities
  • Promote Diversity in Recruitment
  • Implement Inclusive Recruitment Strategies
  • Introduce a ‘Trial Work Day’ Program
  • Prioritize Internal Promotions for Part-Timers
  • Offer Flexible Scheduling Alternatives
  • Leverage Social Media for Targeted Recruitment
  • Adopt an Employee Rotation Program
  • Emphasize Work-Life Balance in Hiring

Focus on Passions and Growth

We shifted from rushed, transactional hiring to understanding people’s passions first. Our questions now focus on purpose: ‘Why do you crave this work? What projects invigorate you?’ This signals that we’re invested in staff beyond labor extraction, seeking their growth too. For temps balancing complex lives, while keeping operations humming, we compassionately accommodate scheduling needs. We also equip them for advancement—cross-training into adjacent teams, and networking events with leadership to inspire sticking around. Retention is up, temps are transforming into core crew, and they’re recommending us as a top workplace. With uplifting support for personal and professional development, the numbers on temp turnover have changed dramatically. Passion and purpose attract those eager for meaningful impacts, not just paychecks.

Lou Reverchuk, Co-Founder and CEO, EchoGlobal

Tailor Recruitment to Specific Skills

One effective way we improved our hiring of part-time employees was by tailoring our recruitment strategies to target specific skill sets and industries, such as the manufacturing and construction sectors. We focused on specialized roles like CNC machinists, welders, and stone masons, ensuring we connected top talent with the right employers. 

By offering tailored solutions and leveraging our industry expertise, we were able to streamline the recruitment process, making it more efficient and effective in matching skilled part-time workers with their ideal jobs. This approach not only helped in attracting qualified candidates but also in fulfilling the unique requirements of each employer, ensuring a perfect fit for every position.

Ana Alipat, Recruitment Team Lead, Dayjob Recruitment

Align Candidate Expectations with Needs

Once part-time employees became a consistent part of our workforce, we realized the need for a streamlined and transparent recruitment process. We revamped job listings to clearly outline part-time roles, ensuring candidates had a comprehensive understanding of the responsibilities and hours required. 

This clarity attracts applicants who are genuinely interested in part-time positions. Once you align their expectations with your needs, you’ll notice an increase in applications. Additionally, we introduced flexible scheduling options that allow candidates to express their preferred work hours during the application process. 

This not only accommodated diverse schedules but also fostered a sense of empowerment among part-time hires. By prioritizing clear communication and flexibility, our organization successfully attracted and retained qualified part-time employees, creating a positive and inclusive work environment.

Pat Schirripa, CEO, People 2U

Customize Hiring Experiences for Candidates

One of the ways that we improved our hiring of part-time employees was by customizing different hiring experiences for the candidates. Hiring part-time means that you’re going to get a whole mix of people at different points in time, and that means you’re going to need to cater to different needs. If we hire a college student part-time, for example, then they’ll likely value a flexible schedule that allows them to go to their classes, do their assignments, and then work in their ‘off time’ from college. 

Of course, there still need to be certain criteria that need to be met, but again, that comes down to the way we set up the part-time agreements for our new part-time employees.

Lauren Carlstrom, COO, Oxygen Plus

Incentivize Referrals from Current Staff

To bolster our hiring of part-time employees, we introduced a referral program that incentivizes our current part-time staff to recommend acquaintances for open positions. This strategy leverages the networks of our existing employees, often bringing in candidates who are well-suited to our company culture and come with a trusted endorsement.

Rewards for successful hires, such as bonuses or other perks, have motivated our staff to participate actively in the program. This has not only streamlined our recruitment process but also contributed to a higher retention rate, as referred employees tend to have a more accurate expectation of the workplace and fit well within our team dynamics.

Phil Strazzulla, Founder, SelectSoftware Reviews

Establish a Virtual Mentorship Program

As a virtual team-building company, our organization can see vast fluctuations in staffing needs throughout different times of the year. We rely on part-time and seasonal workers to help handle the workload during busier periods. One way we’ve helped to build a solid pipeline of talent to consistently fill these roles is by establishing a strong virtual mentorship program. When onboarding seasonal staff, every new or returning team member is paired with a full-time mentor who supports them and helps them get up to speed. This program allows part-time team members to benefit from the expertise of their more experienced peers and helps them feel more connected to company culture. Since implementing and consistently improving this program, we’ve doubled the number of returning seasonal workers and cut our initial training and recruitment time in half.

Michael Alexis, CEO,

Highlight Benefits and Growth Opportunities

To attract a higher caliber of candidates for part-time roles, we revamped our job descriptions to more clearly highlight the benefits and growth opportunities our organization offers. We detailed not just the job duties and requirements, but also the perks of working with us, such as flexible hours, professional development opportunities, and paths to full-time employment. 

This comprehensive portrayal of our part-time roles has attracted more motivated and qualified applicants, interested not only in the job itself but in the potential for long-term career growth with our company.

Shawn Plummer, CEO, The Annuity Expert

Promote Diversity in Recruitment

We’ve made strides in hiring part-time employees by actively promoting diversity and inclusion within our recruitment process. This involves reaching out to diverse candidate pools through targeted recruitment campaigns and partnerships with organizations that support underrepresented groups. 

By emphasizing our commitment to creating an inclusive workplace, we’ve attracted a wide range of candidates, enriching our team with diverse perspectives and experiences. This focus on diversity has not only improved our hiring process but also contributed to a more innovative and collaborative work environment.

Stephan Baldwin, Founder, Assisted Living Center

Implement Inclusive Recruitment Strategies

One effective way we improved the hiring of part-time employees at our company was by implementing a more streamlined and inclusive recruitment process. Previously, we relied on traditional job postings and limited our candidate pool to those actively seeking part-time work. However, we recognized a wealth of talent among individuals looking for flexible part-time opportunities, such as parents, students, and retirees. 

To tap into this talent pool, we broadened our approach by utilizing online platforms, social media, and local community networks to advertise part-time positions. This allowed us to reach a more diverse and qualified pool of candidates who might not have considered traditional job postings. Additionally, we emphasized transferable skills and cultural fit more during the interview process, allowing us to assess candidates based on their potential and values rather than just their work history.

Furthermore, we introduced more flexible scheduling options to accommodate the needs of part-time employees. This included offering variable work hours, remote work opportunities, and possibly adjusting schedules to fit individual commitments. By creating a work environment that prioritized work-life balance and personal growth, we attracted top talent and retained part-time employees who felt valued and supported. This approach improved our hiring process and enriched our organization by bringing in diverse perspectives and enhancing overall productivity.

Mohamed Hashi, President, Ivy Cleans

Introduce a ‘Trial Work Day’ Program

In my tenure, we revolutionized part-time employee recruitment by incorporating a ‘Trial Work Day’ program. Prospective hires were invited to spend a day working alongside our team, allowing us to assess their skills, work ethic, and cultural alignment firsthand. This unconventional approach not only ensured a better fit but also showcased our commitment to transparency and collaboration. It ultimately led to exceptional part-time hires who seamlessly integrated into our organization.

Bradley Fry, Owner, PinProsPlus

Prioritize Internal Promotions for Part-Timers

We’ve enhanced the hiring of part-time employees by prioritizing internal promotions and transitions for our existing part-time staff. By offering clear pathways for advancement and encouraging our part-time employees to apply for new roles within the organization, we’ve fostered a culture of growth and opportunity. 

This internal focus has motivated our part-time workforce and attracted external candidates who see the potential for career development within our organization. The promise of upward mobility has been key to attracting ambitious individuals looking for part-time roles that offer more than just a paycheck.

Michael Nemeroff, CEO & Co-Founder, Rush Order Tees

Offer Flexible Scheduling Alternatives

Introduce flexible scheduling alternatives to meet the demands and preferences of part-time employees. Implementing solutions like shift-bidding or self-scheduling platforms allows employees to choose shifts that fit their availability and lifestyle. Providing early notice of schedules and allowing shift swaps encourages work-life balance and develops a pleasant workplace culture. Flexible scheduling reflects the organization’s dedication to accommodating part-time employees’ diverse lifestyles and responsibilities.

Cindi Keller, Communications Coordinator, The Criminal Defense Firm

Leverage Social Media for Targeted Recruitment

One effective strategy we implemented to improve the hiring of part-time employees was to refine our recruitment process by leveraging social media platforms and specialized job boards targeting part-time and flexible work opportunities. Recognizing that traditional job-posting platforms were not as effective in reaching the demographic interested in part-time positions, we shifted our focus towards platforms where potential candidates were more likely to engage with part-time job opportunities, such as local community groups on social media and websites dedicated to flexible work. 

This approach allowed us to tap into a more relevant applicant pool, significantly improving the quality and fit of the candidates applying for these roles. Additionally, by clearly communicating the flexibility, benefits, and culture of our organization in these postings, we attracted individuals who were not only looking for part-time work but who were also aligned with our company’s values and objectives. This strategic adjustment in our recruitment process led to a noticeable increase in employee satisfaction and retention rates among our part-time staff, demonstrating the importance of targeted recruitment and clear communication of company culture and values.

Aaron Bond, Director of Operations, Bond Rees Ltd.

Adopt an Employee Rotation Program

We’ve adopted an employee rotation program that allows part-time employees to experience different roles within the company. This not only keeps the work interesting for our part-time staff but also broadens their skill sets, making these positions more appealing to individuals seeking diverse work experiences. 

This innovative approach to part-time employment has attracted curious and adaptable candidates, enhancing our team’s versatility and job satisfaction. The rotation program has been instrumental in not only improving our hiring process but also in retaining talented employees by offering them a varied and enriching work experience.

Thaddeus Wendt, Partner & CEO, Feller Wendt, LLC

Emphasize Work-Life Balance in Hiring

Recognizing the importance of work-life balance, we improved the hiring of part-time employees by highlighting this balance as a key benefit in our job postings and interviews. We’ve made it clear that we support flexible working arrangements and prioritize our employees’ well-being. 

This emphasis on work-life balance has attracted candidates who value flexibility, including parents, students, and those with other life commitments. By positioning our organization as one that supports part-time work without compromising personal time, we’ve seen an improvement in both the number and quality of our part-time applicants.

Stephen Hasner, Managing Partner, Hasner Law PC

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