How to Hire Seasonal Employees


A guide for retailers staffing up for the holiday rush

With projected increases in online and in-store traffic, the holiday season brings the challenge of balancing inventory and sales and ensuring you are adequately staffed to handle an influx of customers. And with unemployment rates dipping below 4 percent, finding talent that will help you ramp up efficiency in time for the rush could prove challenging.

Whether you hire seasonal employees really depends on the unique needs of your business. And accountants warn against over-hiring or making decisions without first examining last year’s figures. If you intend to hire seasonal employees for the holidays, here are a few practical tips for getting it right.


Start the hiring process ASAP

Even if you only plan on hiring one or two additional employees, getting a head start is huge this time of year. Don’t wait until the last minute to put feelers out. The best employees will be looking to land a position early, and you better believe the big box stores will be flashing some alluring rewards for temporary work. If you can get your holiday team together and trained by early November, you’ll be in a good position to tackle Black Friday without a hitch.


Know your community

If you’re not sure where to find the employees you need for the busy months ahead, think about hiring from a demographic of workers who are less busy this time of year than the average nine-to-fiver. Is your community home to many college students? Retirees? Find hard-working individuals who are ready and willing to help by reaching out in online forums and posting ads on the most relevant platforms.

Another option is to hire people who know your business well. Your regular customers, family, friends, and people who are familiar with your brand and fans of your product are always a good resource. These folks will be confident and enthusiastic, making the training curve much less steep.


Make an offer they can’t refuse

Seasonal employees aren’t always easy to come by, but the good ones will be a great addition to your team if you’re able to offer them more work once the holiday rush is over. If you aren’t able to sweeten the deal that way, offer them a competitive wage and bonuses or incentives for meeting specific goals. And remember, always give new employees, no matter how temporary, a warm welcome.


Follow the rules

Curious about how to classify your temporary, seasonal employees? Start by understanding the labor laws to ensure your new workers are in good hands and you’re not violating any wage and hour laws unknowingly. Check out our guide to the Fair Labor Standards Act to learn more about the most common pitfalls around breaks, overtime, and more.

As always, make sure all your employees are tracking their time accurately, as hours tracked this year can give you greater hiring insights next year. The right employee time tracking and scheduling tools can improve efficiency and save your business precious time and money, no matter how busy you are.