Every employer (and employee) would probably prefer it if every job could be a permanent job. That way, hiring managers could avoid exhausting blitzes of seasonal hiring. And workers wouldn’t have to go hunting for another job at the end of a special project or a busy season.
But not every company operates at the same capacity year-round. So businesses need seasonal workers.
Everyone knows that retail sees a big surge in hiring during the holidays. But not every retail business caters to end-of-year shoppers. And jobs in construction, distribution, and manufacturing are just as vulnerable to market trends caused by seasonal shifts.
1. Consider When And How To Source The Best Candidates
Garden centers and retailers that cater to tradespeople hire most of their seasonal workers in the spring. In early 2017, Lowe’s Home Improvement hired more than 45,000 in-store seasonal employees.
And while most people associate construction with spring and summer, this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule. Companies that specialize in new construction do indeed prioritize hiring during the warmer months. But companies whose focus is disaster recovery and weather damage often do a lot of hiring during the colder months, when snow and ice damage residences and commercial buildings.
As you put together a plan for your seasonal hiring, know your market. Do you need unskilled laborers to load heavy packages into a truck, or to sweep a construction site? Is a part-time college student likely to have the skills you’re looking for? Or are you going to need skilled carpenters during the height of the spring construction season, when that sort of worker is in the highest demand?
Put together a profile for the type of candidates you need. Then consider the best time to connect with workers who fit that profile.
2. Start Your Seasonal Hiring Early
At any time of year, it takes planning and hard work to find the right workers with the right skills.
For seasonal hiring, the worst time to start making your plan is right before the busy season hits. If anything goes wrong you’ll find yourself stuck with too much work, not enough workers, and no extra time to read resumes and conduct interviews.
Instead, start planning your seasonal hiring as early as possible. Take a look back at your hiring from the previous year. Decide what worked well then, and what didn’t. Write up your job descriptions so they’re ready to post. Put together a list of good candidates who did seasonal work for you in the past. They might be available to work for you again.
And never forget this crucial rule of hiring: the more skills you want a candidate to have, the longer it’s going to take for you to find the right person. So prioritize your hiring accordingly. Start sourcing the most skilled candidates first to give you the greatest amount of time to find them.
3. Ask For Referrals
Anyone who’s put up a job ad online knows they’ll get a flood of resumes. But don’t forget that asking for referrals is an effective way to find good candidates, too.
Did you hit the jackpot and find a great candidate who’s enthusiastic to come work for you? Ask her if she knows anyone else who’s looking for work. By asking for referrals, a skilled hiring manager can turn one new hire into two or more. And all without having to log into another job website or sort through another pile of resumes.
4. Be Social – And Mobile
Long gone are the days when resumes arrived only by postal mail or hand delivery. And the emailed resume isn’t even on the cutting edge anymore. Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook are the latest tools hiring managers are using to find workers.
Some people think social media is too informal for job hunting. But hiring managers who ignore these widely-popular platforms do so at their peril.
Jobs posted on a site like Facebook can circulate through communities of like-minded professionals lightning-fast. And a hiring manager can easily skim applications submitted through Facebook without having to wrestle with different document formats or scan paper resumes into a computer.
Smartphone apps are another great way to connect with candidates.
Some hiring managers assume that every job seeker has easy access to a home computer. But broadband Internet isn’t available everywhere. In 2017, a Pew research study found that 27% of American’s don’t have access to broadband. In rural communities the problem is even more acute, jumping to 37%.
But in 2016, smartphone use surpassed 80% of all mobile phone owners.
Recruiters who aren’t taking advantage of mobile-friendly job postings are missing out on a sizable pool of candidates. The same goes for recruiters who only accept resumes in a format like a Microsoft Word document, rather than offering a mobile-friendly form that candidates can easily complete using a smartphone’s touchscreen.
Flexibility is crucial in any business. And recruiting is no exception. In 2017, hiring managers have more ways of connecting with candidates than ever before. Use any and all of them at your disposal to find your seasonal workers. That way when your busy season starts, you’ll have enough laborers to get your projects completed on time.
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