5 Mistakes Employers Make When Hiring Seasonal Employees

November 27, 2017 - minute read

Seasonal EmployeesTalent acquisition can be particularly challenging for companies that hire a seasonal workforce. Whether your busy season is the winter holidays (i.e., the retail and hospitality sectors) or the summer months (i.e., the construction and landscaping industries), seasonal hiring often brings seasonal headaches. 

Bad hires make a big impact on an organization, even when they’re only on the payroll for a short time. Poor hiring decisions lower productivity and negatively impact morale—and when seasonal employees leave mid-season, it presents a second set of challenges, particularly when you’re already managing a high-turnover workforce.  

So how can your company minimize seasonal hiring woes? You can start by avoiding these five common recruiting blunders.

Mistake #1: Starting the Talent Acquisition Process Late

Admittedly, HR departments are busy year-round. But the later you start your seasonal talent acquisition process, the less like you are to land top candidates. For example, according to research by Snagajob.com, a leading job board for hourly workers, more than 60% of employers begin advertising for summer help by April.

Furthermore, when you start recruiting late, you’re forced to rush your screening process, which can result in flawed decision-making. When it comes to seasonal hiring, the early bird gets the worm. If you don’t want the early bird to be your competition, start your talent acquisition process early.

Mistake #2: Curtailing Your Standard Applicant Tracking Process

It’s tempting to take shortcuts when hiring seasonal employees, especially when recruiting a sizable group in a short time period. This is when you most need powerful applicant tracking system, which ensures you’re following sound HR procedures. You have a limited time to get a good return on your hiring investment.

For example, some employers may fail to check references or decide to skip background checks for seasonal help. Bad idea. The best applicant tracking systems follow industry best practices—adhere to them year round.   

Screen for attitude as well as aptitude. When temporary hires are terminated or quit mid-season, it’s difficult to replace them. Rely on your applicant tracking system to pinpoint candidates most likely to go the distance. 

Remember, the most talented seasonal employees may become permanent employees or reliable repeat temps. Seasonal hiring represents an opportunity to enrich your overall talent pool.

Mistake #3: Failing to Update Job Descriptions

When you go through the same talent acquisition process season after season, it’s easy to do things by rote—such as recycling last year’s job descriptions without a second thought. Resist the urge; take the time to review your job descriptions with fresh eyes. Make sure they’re current and complete. Things change. Or, maybe you can do a better job this year.

Your postings should be specific about job requirements, work schedule, needed skills, etc. to help avoid attracting unqualified candidates (a big seasonal time waster). If the job could lead to permanent employment, mention it—it could draw more talented candidates.    

Mistake #4: Casting Too Narrow a Net    

The best applicant tracking systems allow you to post on multiple job boards and social networks at once. Do so. After all, sometimes the strongest candidates come from unexpected sources. For example, while college students are always prime seasonal employees, recent graduates who are pondering their next move may bring added skills to the table.

Similarly, don’t overlook retirees. Active baby boomers may bring experience and reliability to your seasonal workforce and return year after year. 

Mistake #5: Forgoing Your Standard Talent Management Processes

Perhaps, because seasonal employees are only with you for 8-12 weeks, managers are reluctant to invest time training them. This is short-sighted. You want to get the most from your seasonal workforce, and that means showing them exactly what a job well done looks like. Otherwise, how will they know? Talent management matters for all employees.

Furthermore, it’s particularly important to invest in safety training. According to a recent OSHA report, temporary workers are at greater risk of injury than permanent employees. In the state of Washington, temporary workers in the construction and manufacturing industries were found to incur twice the rate of injury as regular employees. OSHA attributes this to inadequate safety training and the tendency of temps to underestimate the hazards of a new worksite.

If your applicant tracking software includes an integrated onboarding module and training portal—as the best applicant tracking systems do—take advantage of it. Seasonal talent management is a small investment that pays off in the long run.  

One Final Thought on Seasonal Hiring

There’s one last mistake employers that hire a seasonal workforce sometimes make: they don’t take advantage of the best applicant tracking software available, or choose an HCM system that’s flexible enough to meet the needs of their complex workforce.

That’s where EPAY comes in. Our agile HCM system flexes to fit an hourly, seasonal, nontraditional workforce—and its advanced applicant tracking solution makes hiring easier year-round. Request a demo—see for yourself. 

Filed Under: Human Capital Management Employee Benefits