The Talent Scout Episode 53: The do’s and don’ts of seasonal recruitment
5 minutes | Posted 29 March, 2021

As we move further into spring and closer to early summer, seasonal recruitment becomes quite the focus if you recruit within the construction industry. However, even if you don’t work within Construction, recruiters and hiring managers working in many other industries know the crunch of seasonal recruitment.

  • March and April can see a significant push among employers to find new accountants as we move into tax season.
  • December and January take the retail world by storm as consumer demand peaks.
  • Summer months see a surge in hospitality recruitment to meet the demand of seasonal tourism.

It’s not always easy to scale up to the demands of seasonal recruitment. There are always limits to the talent available and the resources required to secure available talent. That said, there are still ways that you can bolster your seasonal recruitment efforts, or alternatively, drastically hinder them.

Do – Career sites

One of the first things that you’re going to want to do is organize and develop your Careers page. If you have high traffic to your website then odds are the people who engage with your services are some of the best people for your open roles, or they might know the best people for your open roles. Make sure they are aware of the opportunities you have available. Equally, divide your career site into sections, one part tailored towards seasonal hires and the other part tailored towards permanent hires. Give your potential applicants information about what it’s like to work with you and engage them with your brand through imagery of your team and discussion points that show why you’re an employer of choice.

The retail giant, Target, is a great example of utilizing a careers page to fill your seasonal recruitment needs. In 2019 the corporation announced it would need to bring on an extra 130,000 employees for its busier winter season, which is a massive undertaking. One of the ways it went about achieving this was creating a dedicated careers page for their seasonal positions only. Instead of having to sift through irrelevant permanent vacancies, candidates who were seeking seasonal work could very quickly find their way to an application form.

Don’t – Email applications

If you’re trying to hire a large volume of individuals for your available roles, don’t manage applications through email. As a rule of thumb you shouldn’t manage applications through email, but you certainly shouldn’t do it when the volume is significant. You’re going to lose candidates in your inbox and you’re going to struggle to manage them through your recruitment process. Invest in an applicant tracking system to manage your candidates. This will keep your candidates all in one place and will ensure that you can progress candidates through the interview process quickly and without difficulty. Some ATS options can be incredibly cost effective, such as our offering here at Scout, which depending on your requirements can start at $150 per month.

Don’t – Candidate effort

The norm when recruiting is to ask a number of screening questions, request a resume, and request a cover letter. This is overkill for most roles. Not only is it overkill for seasonal recruitment but it’s also going to hurt your ability to attract candidates. Keep your application process as candidate-friendly as possible. If you ask screening questions that cover a candidate’s experience then you do not need to ask for a resume, if you ask for a resume you likely don’t need to ask a large number of screening questions. As for cover letters, well I may be in the minority here, but I don’t think anyone ever actually reads them in great detail, so why ask for them. The more you ask for the less likely a candidate is to apply for your role over a competitor of yours. So just ask the bare minimum you need in order to assess their ability to do the role in question.

This line of thought extends to the interview process. Make sure your interview process is as efficient as possible and that there are no unnecessary rounds of interviews for your candidates. Keep it streamlined, to the point, relevant, and keep it moving. Once an applicant submits an application that meets your requirements you should have them quickly booked into an interview followed by a very rapid decision on whether they’ll be joining you or not and the offer of a contract. Again, an Applicant Tracking System will really help you out on managing this.

Do – Employer branding

If you know that Seasonal Recruitment is going to be an annual challenge that you need to overcome then it’s time to invest in your Employer Brand. Working on your Employer Brand will allow you to develop your Employee Value Proposition, understand the individuals that are best suited towards achieving in your organization, and amplifying what makes you an employer of choice to the people that are going to succeed with you. A stronger employer brand will make your year-on-year seasonal recruitment a much easier undertaking. The best place to start is with an internal survey, find out why your people like working with you and make sure those selling points are present everywhere that a Candidate might find you.

Do – Reach out to an agency

Hiring at volume can be tricky, especially if you don’t have the infrastructure in place already to do so. Many recruitment agencies specialize in high volume hires so they’ll be able to assist you if you don’t have the time to prepare for the seasonal recruitment you need to achieve.

Do – Employee referral scheme

Depending on the roles that you’re trying to fill, headhunting can be a little bit excessive. Even without headhunting for your available roles, there are still ways that you can lean into the passive market of available candidates. Passive candidates being those that may not see your role on job boards. One of the best ways to do this for seasonal recruitment is an employee referral scheme. Depending on your budget this could be a bonus payment to the referrer at the end of the season. Or it could be something even more simple, your retail store you could offer gift cards to referrers. If budget is limited, perhaps referrers could be entered into a competition to win something at the end of the season. Be creative, there are always ways to implement a referral scheme.

Closing thoughts

Seasonal recruitment may always be challenging but there is plenty that we can do in order to make it easier for ourselves. If you’re in urgent need of assistance please do reach out to us and one of our recruitment specialists can help you develop a strategy to get the hires that you need. If you have time and you know that seasonal recruitment is coming, start preparing. Put in the work to promote your brand and become the employer of choice for seasonal hires that you know you can be.

If you’d like to learn more about how to best approach seasonal recruitment please do reach out to us here and one of our recruitment specialists would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

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