November 11, 2021

The Complete Guide to Hiring Seasonal Employees

Bunny and Santa going through a file cabinet

Like it or not, the hiring crunch is still in high gear. 

Research carried out at the University of Central Florida found that one of the main reasons employees are leaving the hospitality industry in droves is down to the forced pause brought on by recent lockdowns, causing workers to reassess their working conditions and explore other jobs. 

For growing businesses that depend on seasonal employees, this leaves two big problems:

  1. Getting back to pre-pandemic hiring levels
  2. Convincing the right employees to stay

With the busiest time of year upon us, we want to help growing businesses tackle these issues and establish a hiring strategy that will help them win year-round.

Here’s a look into the step-by-step processes that will help you attract the best temporary hires for this season and the next.

Seasonal Hiring Step #1: Plan ahead to avoid getting snowed under

You don’t have to wait for the holiday season before you begin the hunt for potential hires.

For British retail brand John Lewis and Partners, coming face-to-face with a hiring gap of 7K open positions meant starting their recruitment campaign early.

It also meant offering both partner stores and temporary employees free food and drinks to sweeten the deal. 😉

A new job plus free food? That’s what we call a great incentive.

To attract a high volume of seasonal employees, the recruitment team at John Lewis shared their job ads via all of the brand’s social media handles, Google ads, and they even scored publicity from major UK news networks like the BBC and the Telegraph.

DIY with Breezy

Granted, most growing businesses aren’t looking to hire 7,000 seasonal employees, and don’t have a John Lewis-sized hiring budget either.

But with the right systems, any seasonal-based employer can attract and nurture a larger applicant audience.

Here’s how Breezy can help you expand your reach to a larger pool of temporary employees, and keep them engaged once they’ve applied:

  • Update your Career Portal with the latest open positions, employee testimonials and perks of working for you as a seasonal employee.
  • Set up an Employee Portal and ask current employees to refer any friends or family for open positions.
  • Create a candidate Nurture Campaign with customized automated emails to keep incoming candidates engaged until you’re ready to hire.
Employee portal job openings

Seasonal Hiring Step #2: Post a rockin’ job ad

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

Whoever wrote this Fine Dining Server job description for seafood and crab restaurant Truluck is obviously aware of all the elements that make a great job ad.

  • 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 is the perfect starting point. 

The next step is to get your ad in front of the right people. A quick Google search for the job opening at Truluck shows us that their ad is on major job boards like Indeed, Glassdoor and ZipRecuriter.

Combined, these job boards probably bring in hundreds of thousands of seasonal job applicants per month. So, how do you tap into that?

DIY with Breezy

With Breezy’s library of hundreds of job ad templates, you don’t have to hire a professional ad writer or even write your own ad from scratch. Plus, posting your ad on all the free job boards is as easy as clicking a button. 

Here’s how you can make creating and promoting your job ads dead easy with Breezy:

  • Check out Breezy’s free library with over 400 resources, including done-for-you job description templates. Simply select your industry and access all the free templates you need.
  • With a single click, automatically post your job ad to over 50 free job boards.
  • Track your job ad analytics to measure the response and success rate for each job board so you can get maximum ROI on every recruitment dollar spent.
Advertise tab in position settings

Seasonal Hiring Step #3: Pre-qualify your candidates

In the fast-changing game of seasonal business, you need to be 100% sure every new hire you bring in is competent, reliable and excited to do the job. The solution?

Drumroll please… give it up for applicant pre-screening!

Pre-screening helps you avoid HR horror stories like that of this hiring manager who was actually offered a bribe by the candidate’s mother in exchange for the job: 😮

“Not only did my candidate turn up with his mum, but he also insisted he couldn’t take the interview without her. Every time I asked him a question, his mum would interrupt and answer for him. I was convinced it couldn’t get any worse, oh it did, at the end of the interview his mum offered to pay me a fee to hire her son.”

Yikes! That’s a super awkward situation to be in.

The key with creating a 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.

DIY with Breezy

Breezy can help you pre-qualify candidates so that only the right matches walk through the your door:

  • Sort and organize candidates using a pre-screening Questionnaire.
  • Create advanced questionnaires that react to candidates’ answers (and spare them from having to answer irrelevant questions).
  • Auto-verify candidates’ references with Breezy’s automated email and question form.
  • Track qualified candidates through the Breezy pipeline. Use automated Stage Actions to instantly move candidates through the pipeline, or simply drag and drop candidates into the right column.

Seasonal Hiring Step #4: Execute the perfect interview

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

For your part as the employer, you want to make sure you ask the right questions, avoid bias and are respectful of the candidate’s time and effort.

We’ve covered how to execute the perfect interview in a previous guide. But here’s a quick summary of the most crucial things to remember:

DIY with Breezy

From biased interviewers to candidates who ghost on their interview day, this part of the hiring process can be tricky.

Here’s how Breezy can help you deliver a great interview experience:

  • Create customizable Interview Guides and share them with all team members involved in the hiring process.
  • Create a Scorecard that’s based on your interview guide so feedback items are directly aligned with interview questions.
  • For virtual interviews, create a Scheduling Link and automatically share the link with qualified candidates using Breezy’s Stage Actions feature.
  • After the interview, request feedback from candidates using Breezy’s automated questionnaires.

Seasonal Hiring  Step #5: Learn from what works

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

To plan and execute better in your next hiring round, it’s important you keep track of what has already worked best.

That way, you can be confident knowing what needs to be tweaked, ditched, or left as it is. 

DIY with Breezy

Here’s how Breezy can help you learn from every seasonal hiring round:

Time in Stage By Position section of the Pipeline Performance report

Bonus Tip: Look out for permanent employees 👀

Thanks to ever changing health, safety and economic landscape, it isn’t clear yet when the talent market will be back to ‘normal’.

That’s why 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 your next permanent employees later. So it’s important to think ahead and consider your temporary hires for possible permanent employment. 

Here’s some quick advice from hospitality consultant Megan Johantgen:

  • Invest in training your temporary hires so that at the end of the season, you can be confident that the hires you choose to keep can handle the tasks ahead.
  • Focus on fostering an open and inclusive work culture and environment.
  • Be honest about how your business operates and the expectations you have for the role. Take time to explain how the duties of a permanent employee differ from that of a temporary one.
  • Highlight the perks you offer that are exclusive to your full-time employees.

Bottom line, if you find yourself with temporary hires capable of taking over long-term work, don’t let the opportunity pass you by.

Streamline your seasonal hiring with Breezy 

Due to the shortage of available workers, hiring this holiday season may be a challenge for your company.

But know this: You're not alone. 

With the right hiring systems and workflows, you don’t have to be an HR ace to attract the right candidates. All you really need to do is familiarize yourself with the hiring basics and apply them creatively.

When you’re ready to get your seasonal hiring system in gear, Breezy is here to help you win the best employees for the holiday season, and beyond.