In Quarter 1 of 2020 the United States employment rate was 71.4% according to data provided by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the unemployment rate was 4.4% as reported by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS). However, given the pandemic, unemployment was at an all-time high of 14.7% ending the month of April 2020. As companies across the United States reopen, business owners may be scrambling to call back workers or may be uncertain how many employees they can afford to have while revenue is down.
Typically, an employer will hire a seasonal employee to help during the holiday season or during the summer months when tourists are driving increased demand for services. But employers may also want to consider hiring seasonal employees to get them through this pandemic and the remainder of the summer. There are several methods of attracting applicants. An employer can put out an ad for hire (print and digital) to attract seasonal employees, or if they are crunched for time an employer can reach out to a staffing agency to find a temp worker.
Below we’ve listed several tips for how to hire seasonal workers that are sure to produce the most qualified candidates.
5 Tips for Hiring Seasonal Employees
1. Partner with a Staffing Agency
Staffing agencies are a valuable resource for finding talent quickly and efficiently. A staffing agency does the heavy lifting for employers who don’t have the time to conduct a comprehensive interview process or for those who are striking out when searching for workers. Typically, the agency will already have an applicant pool that allows them to easily determine which applicant would be a good fit based on your needs.
Types of Employees
The applicant pool will be filled with candidates looking for various types of employment. Temp-to-hire, full-time and temp employment options are to name a few.
- A temp-to-hire applicant allows the employer to “try out” a candidate and determine if their skills are a fit for the position.
- Full-time employment is just as it sounds, an applicant that can work a full work week.
- Temp employees are those that are employed with you for the amount of time you need them. Whether it’s a few weeks until you get caught up or for a year to complete a lengthy project. The great thing about temp employment is you can extend their time as needed to fit the business needs or end employment at any time without hassle. Temp employees can also be seasonal.
2. Set Clear Expectations
Whether your meeting with the applicant directly or a staffing agency, give as many details about the position as possible. First and foremost, be clear on the duration of the job and if it’s seasonal only or if the individual could become a permanent employee.
For example, one person may only be looking for two months of employment versus another looking for five or more months. If you’re open about sharing pay, share this piece of information right away too. Lastly, set your expectations of the skills and experience required for the job and stick with it. Don’t settle for someone who lacks a skill that is critical for the job. If you’re working with a staffing agency, be upfront so they can home in on the skills and requirements listed when searching for your perfect fit.
3. Focus Efforts on Students or Retirees
If you’re looking for strictly seasonal employees, put an ad out to your local high school or university. Students that have off during breaks are typically looking for short-term employment to make a little extra cash. Another viable seasonal employee pool are retirees. Nearly 10,000 baby boomers retire every day; many of them get bored or want supplemental income for hobbies and vacations.
If a student or retiree is a good employee and in good graces, let them know they can come back next year. It’s far easier to retain a good employee than it is to find another.
4. Start Looking Far in Advance
As soon as you know seasonal help will be needed, begin your candidate search. Many students look for jobs well in advance in order to coordinate with their busy schedules. Advertise on local job boards, social media and reach out to schools. Exhaust your free resources before reaching out to a staffing agency unless you are pressed for time.
5. Know Seasonal Employment Liabilities
Employing seasonal workers can be tricky and come with liabilities. Be sure to confirm with your legal counsel on regulations of seasonal workers. For example, misclassifying a worker as an “independent contractor” can open businesses up to potential liabilities. Acknowledge employment duration in interviews and in writing and ask the employee to sign a formal offer letter prior to the start date. Additionally, read up on your state labor laws to see if overtime exemptions and workers’ comp apply to your business.
Employment Practices Liability Insurance
As a business owner, you may also want to add Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) coverage as an optional endorsement to your commercial package policy. In today’s litigious business climate, this sort of protection can prevent a damaging claim from effectively putting you out of business. Download Employment Practices Liability Insurance PDF.
Your Needs May Have Changed, Evaluate Carefully
Evaluate your business needs thoroughly before beginning the hiring process. Your needs may look different this summer and reflecting on what your business requires most will inform you on which route of hiring will be most effective and beneficial. And as schools officially close for break, many students have lost the summer jobs they lined up due to the pandemic. Now is the time to reach out to students….it’s not too late! But don’t forget to set expectations up front and educate yourself prior to hiring.