A Step-by-Step Guide to Hiring Seasonal Employees—And How a VMS Can Help

For industries like retail or e-commerce, the holiday season represents an unmissable opportunity to increase revenue. During this time, many businesses increase their current workforce to be able to handle the extra amount of work ahead—what we often refer to as seasonal hiring.

Hiring seasonal employees is no small feat. You need to find them, train them, and integrate them into your workflow fast and efficiently. With so much to accomplish in a short amount of time, organizations require technology like vendor management systems (VMS) to fully centralize and manage the process.

In addition to having the right technology, you also need to make sure you’re setting up a solid and successful hiring strategy. Here’s a look into the step-by-step processes that will help your organization attract the best temporary hires for this season and the next.

Step #1: Plan Ahead

You shouldn’t wait for the holiday season before you begin the hunt for potential hires. Retail companies in the US typically begin recruiting employees in the first half of October. Last year, several major brands advertised in excess of 100,000 vacancies each.

Reaching these numbers meant offering temporary employees extra benefits such as flexible schedules, employee discounts, or free food and drinks to sweeten the deal. As ongoing labor shortages continue to complicate hiring efforts, companies have to increase their offer to fill their growing seasonal position requirements.

Step #2: Create Engaging Job Postings

A killer job ad will go a long way in helping you attract the best candidate pool for hiring seasonal employees.

The elements that make a great job ad are:

  • An engaging title
  • Company ethos and values
  • Skills and experience required
  • Employee benefits

Of course, getting candidates through the door doesn’t end with creating an awesome job ad. But it’s the perfect starting point.

The next step is to get your ad in front of the right people.

Once you open the position in your VMS, you can push it out to your existing suppliers or your direct sourcing technology to reach job boards such as Indeed, Glassdoor, or Monster. These job boards bring in hundreds of thousands of seasonal job applicants per month. If you’re relying on trusted staffing vendors to bring in the talent, make sure their job postings also have all the elements mentioned above.

After gathering a fair amount of profiles, it’s time to assess those candidates.

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Step #3: Asses Your Candidates

In the fast-paced game of seasonal business, you need to be 100% sure every new worker you bring in is competent, reliable, and excited to do the job. The solution? Applicant pre-screening!

Pre-screening helps you avoid HR misunderstandings or mistakes. If you’re planning to hire using a VMS, you’ll want to make sure it can handle pre-screening and other candidate review features and functionalities such as candidate comparison or skills matching.

The key to creating an optimal seasonal hiring strategy that’s a cut above the rest is to make sure the pre-screening experience is time well spent—both for you, and your applicants. A VMS will allow you to quickly discard the candidates that don’t match your requirements, saving you time spent on unnecessary interviews.

Step #4: Conduct Awesome Interviews

When it comes to interviews, both the employer and the candidate owe it to each other to ensure the process is as seamless as possible.

For your part as the employer, you want to build a talent management team beforehand. Selecting the right members across your divisions or departments and receiving feedback from key stakeholders will be a key success metric for your total talent workforce strategy.

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Once you have your team assembled, you want to make sure interviewers ask the right questions, avoid bias, and are respectful of the candidate’s time and effort.

Here are the most crucial things to remember:

  • Prep for the interview based on your job role analysis and clear candidate scoring system
  • Schedule the interview considering both your availability and the convenience of the candidate
  • Whether or not your candidate gets the position, always follow up with candidates by email to let them know your decision
  • Ask your interviewees for feedback on how you can improve your process

Step #5: Learn From Your Processes

There’s no magic formula for hiring stellar seasonal workers, but you can always aim to keep making your candidate tracking process better.

To improve your next hiring round, it’s important you keep track of what already worked best. This will allow you to be confident in knowing what needs to be tweaked, ditched, or left as is. Reporting and analysis functionalities come in very handy at this step. Search for a VMS that captures and analyzes data on the efficiency, quality, and cost of your program. Scorecards, rate comparisons, and compliance tracking are just some of the reports that will provide you with insightful information to make better decisions in the future.

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Bonus Tip: Look Out for Permanent Employees

Thanks to the ever-changing public health and economic landscape, it’s important to adapt your hiring processes to the new normal.

With how fast things change, the extra hands you hire now may turn out to be future permanent employees. So it’s important to think ahead and consider your temporary hires for possible permanent employment.

A VMS can work as the perfect tool to create a talent pool formed from the seasonal employees you bring to your company. In just one place, you can keep clean records of their profiles, compliance items, timesheets, and overall performance. It will give you the ability to quickly bring them back in if you need more hands long term.

Following these steps doesn’t have to be a complicated process. With the help of a VMS, you can easily build an agile and efficient program. Reach out to learn more about our solution—we’d love to help with your seasonal workforce management needs!

This article has been adapted from a blog post posted by our Learning Technologies Group (LTG) partner, Breezy HR.