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Advice for Employers and Recruiters

13 innovative strategies for hiring seasonal employees

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
Anita Jobb AvatarAnita Jobb
February 19, 2024

Yes, it’s February. And so you might be wondering why we’re talking today about seasonal hiring when we’re a couple of months past the end-of-year holidays and several months away from another peak hiring period for seasonal employees: summer. The reason is that many employers are finalizing plans right now for how many seasonal hires they need to make for the summer and also how to accomplish that.

To help employers who are struggling with how to hire the seasonal talent they need, we asked 13 business leaders to share one way that their organizations — or ones they previously worked at — improved their hiring of seasonal employees.

  • Offer Flexible Work Schedules
  • Streamline with Automated Recruitment
  • Leverage Employee-Referral Systems
  • Maintain Transparency with Seasonal Staff
  • Enhance Seasonal Employee Experience
  • Initiate a Proactive Recruitment Strategy
  • Implement Employee Referral Program
  • Solicit Seasonal Employee Feedback
  • Tailor Onboarding for Seasonal Roles
  • Use Data Analytics for Recruitment
  • Introduce Employee-Referral Bonuses
  • Implement ‘Try Before You Hire’
  • Reach Out to Underserved Communities

Offer Flexible Work Schedules

Since our small business blog sees a pattern of high traffic volume and organic search in technology and business peaks around the May to September window, we usually make seasonal hires and seasonal apprentices as well, which can help us keep up with the content pace and make the most out of these peak months by pushing out as many quality pieces as possible.

Seasonal employees are not here to make a lasting impact in the organization, but making poor seasonal hires can result in not capitalizing on the opportunity we have. I particularly prefer giving flexible work options to our seasonal employees so they understand right away that we’re presenting a perfect opportunity for which they can make time easily.

Seasonal employees are usually taking multiple gigs at the same time, and introducing convenient work hours eases their time management and enables you to get their service even when the demand for them is quite high. Other blogs too are aware of the content trends that we focus on, and this can mean seasonal writers/editors having more inquiries than normal.

So a flexible working schedule can attract skilled individuals, and the best part is all your tasks get completed—just a bit of better management is required.

Stefan Campbell, Owner, The Small Business Blog

Streamline with Automated Recruitment

One effective approach my organization implemented was to establish a streamlined and automated recruitment process. This involved creating a dedicated online portal for seasonal job applications, enabling candidates to easily submit their resumes and relevant details. Implementing an automated screening system helped us quickly identify qualified candidates based on predefined criteria.

Additionally, incorporating video interviews into the process allowed us to assess candidates’ communication skills and enthusiasm for the seasonal role. By leveraging technology to simplify and expedite the hiring process, we improved efficiency, attracted a larger pool of applicants, and ultimately secured high-caliber seasonal employees.

Pat Schirripa, CEO, People 2U

Leverage Employee-Referral Systems

We have implemented employee-referral systems in our organization to take advantage of the extensive network within our current workforce. This program has been quite successful in identifying competent employees, especially for temporary positions. I strongly advise everyone to adopt this technique, as it facilitates the quick discovery of prospects using strategic methods. Most of the time, you can find the needed resources within your team very quickly.

Robert Haligowski, Founder, Big Jerry Fencing

Maintain Transparency with Seasonal Staff

I wouldn’t exactly define the moving industry as seasonal. Sure, some times are busier than others (hot tip: a winter move is often cheaper), but people relocate all year round. However, due to varying demand, some elements are seasonal, and I’ve certainly done my stint of seasonal work in the past. 

One thing I’ve realized is that transparency is key when dealing with seasonal employees. People aren’t stupid, so don’t treat them as if they are. At the moment, it might seem easier to keep the peace by withholding information, but in the long run, this causes resentment and damages trust. 

The best seasonal employers are honest about what employees can expect from them and clear about what they require in return. There’s nothing more frustrating than misdirection, delaying tactics, or being deliberately misled. People want, and deserve, definite terms of employment. In my own industry, this means it’s a yes to relocation, and a no to obfuscation.

Ryan Carrigan, CEO & Founder, moveBuddha

Enhance Seasonal Employee Experience

The holidays are the busiest time of the year at, as there is a huge demand for holiday parties and team-building events. Thus, every year, we have a seasonal hiring push. At times, we’ve nearly doubled our organizational headcount! In the past, we’ve worked with staffing agencies to ensure that we had the proper employee counts by our deadlines so that we could train team members properly and commit to client business. However, what’s yielded the best results is improving the seasonal employee experience. We used our first years in business as a baseline to determine hiring timelines. We also created a mentorship program that paired seasonal and year-round team members for accountability, additional training, and support. This year, we even divided our mentorship program into new team members and returning team members. We also make these team members feel like part of the whole by inviting them to all-staff meetings and company socials, adding them to our work banter and peer-to-peer praise channels, doing employee spotlights on Slack, and holding a special lunch at the end of the season. The result is that we’ve nurtured a pipeline of talent ready and willing to return for future holiday seasons, which subsequently cuts down our recruiting and training costs each year.

Michael Alexis, CEO,

Initiate Proactive Recruitment Strategy

Our organization enhanced its seasonal employee recruiting by, in part, implementing a proactive recruitment strategy. We initiated our recruitment endeavors well in advance of the peak season, as opposed to waiting until the last moment to employ staff.

Early on, we attracted candidates through a variety of channels, including employment boards, social media, and local community networks. Additionally, to engage potential seasonal recruits, we organized job fairs, open houses, and referral incentives.

By initiating the recruitment procedure in advance, we successfully identified and onboarded suitably qualified candidates, guaranteeing a workforce that was adequately equipped and trained to handle the pressures of the peak season. By implementing this strategy, we were able to not only mitigate tension and downtime during periods of high demand but also uphold exceptional levels of customer satisfaction and service.

Kyle Bernard, Founder and CEO, Radiance Pools LLC

Implement Employee Referral Program

At PinProsPlus, recognizing the seasonal rush was crucial. We implemented a referral program to streamline hiring, encouraging current employees to recommend potential hires. This approach not only simplified the recruitment process but also ensured new hires fit the company culture, as they often shared values and work ethic with our existing team. 

This strategy significantly improved the efficiency and quality of our seasonal hiring, reflecting positively on both productivity and team dynamics. This personalized, trust-based hiring method proved to be a game-changer for managing seasonal demands effectively.

Bradley Fry, Owner, PinProsPlus

Solicit Seasonal Employee Feedback

Solicit feedback and continuously improve: Solicit feedback from seasonal employees regularly regarding their hiring experience, job duties, and overall satisfaction level. Make the necessary revisions to the seasonal hiring process based on the comments received. To become known as an employer of choice and to entice top talent for future seasonal positions, you must demonstrate that you are committed to continuous improvement and that you actively address complaints.

Gerrid Smith, Communications Manager, Texas Property Tax Loan Pros

Tailor Onboarding for Seasonal Roles

One effective approach to improving the hiring of seasonal employees is implementing a comprehensive onboarding and training program specifically tailored to seasonal roles. By providing detailed training materials, including manuals, videos, and interactive sessions, seasonal employees can quickly get up to speed on their responsibilities and company procedures. Additionally, offering incentives such as performance bonuses or flexible scheduling can attract high-quality seasonal candidates and encourage them to stay committed throughout their temporary employment. This strategy ensures that seasonal employees feel valued and equipped to contribute effectively during their short tenure, ultimately enhancing overall productivity and customer satisfaction.

Daniel Bunn, Founder and Director, DB IT

Use Data Analytics for Recruitment

In a finance organization I was part of, we streamlined the hiring of seasonal employees by leveraging data analytics in our recruitment process. Recognizing the cyclical nature of our need for seasonal staff, especially during peak periods like tax season and end-of-year financial closing, we began analyzing historical hiring data and employee performance metrics. This analysis helped us identify the traits and skills that correlated most strongly with high-performing seasonal employees in our unique context.

Based on these insights, we refined our job postings and recruitment strategies to target candidates who not only had the necessary technical skills but also demonstrated the behavioral traits we knew led to success in our organization. We also implemented a more structured interview process that included scenario-based questions and practical assessments tailored to these identified traits and skills. This data-driven approach allowed us to make more informed hiring decisions, significantly improving the quality and fit of our seasonal hires. As a result, we saw an increase in productivity and a decrease in the time required to onboard and train these employees, making our peak periods much smoother and more efficient.

James Parker, Co-Founder, LEONID

Introduce Employee-Referral Bonuses

My organization enhanced its seasonal employee hiring process by introducing an employee-referral program. This program allowed current employees to refer friends and family for seasonal positions, which were often temporary but could lead to full-time opportunities. By incentivizing referrals with monetary bonuses or other rewards, we were able to attract high-quality candidates who were already familiar with our company culture and values. This not only helped us save time and resources on recruiting but also led to a higher retention rate as these employees were more likely to stay with the company long-term. Additionally, by giving our current employees a role in the hiring process, we were able to create a sense of ownership and pride within the organization.

Mandy Murry, Founder & CEO, Independent Hotel Consultant

Implement ‘Try Before You Hire’

Innovating our seasonal hiring approach, our organization implemented a ‘Try Before You Hire’ initiative. Prospective seasonal employees are offered short-term contracts to work alongside the team for a trial period, allowing both parties to assess fit before committing to a longer-term arrangement.

This hands-on experience provides valuable insights into the candidate’s work ethic, skills, and cultural compatibility. It fosters a mutual understanding, reduces turnover, and ensures that only the most suitable candidates are selected for extended seasonal employment.

Aqsa Tabassam, PR & Brand Manager, RevenueGeeks

Reach Out to Underserved Communities

Reaching out to candidates from underserved communities was a game-changer in finding seasonal employees at my previous company.

Many job seekers don’t have access to work openings or are disqualified by HR representatives who use passive recruitment methods. However, it should be crucial for organizations to approach these talents directly.

At the company where I used to work, we turned to mothers who struggled with finding a regular job during the summer holidays yet had plenty of time during the school year. We found plenty of reliable workers by contacting schools and kindergartens.

We also discovered that retirees were flexible and willing to take occasional jobs. To get in touch with them, we contacted nonprofit institutions addressing the needs of senior citizens.

Another missed talent pool was veterans who struggled with rebranding themselves in the job market.

The techniques we implemented proved that covering temporary vacancies requires unique recruiting strategies.

Martyna Szcześniak, Community Expert, MyPerfectResume

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