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Seasonal workers: How to hire for skill

Seasonal workers: How to hire for skill

This year, retailers across the country are expected to hire more than 700,000 seasonal employees, according to a report from CBS News. With unemployment already at record lows, retailers could struggle to fill these positions with qualified talent. Optimize your hiring strategy early to ensure your seasonal staff is prepared for the influx of Christmas shoppers.

Leverage your customer base

Your best hires could be your best customers.

You may have already met some of your best seasonal hires; they're your loyal customers. Speaking with Monster, Maurices' senior vice president of stores Neil McPhail recommended reaching out to your best customers regarding part-time work. These people already know and appreciate your brand, which means you can save on training costs. Plus, if you offer a store discount to seasonal workers, it's a win-win for all. 

Ask your current employees for referrals

Referrals represent one of the best sources of new hires for several reasons. Your current employees understand your store operations well, and they can identify people in their personal networks who would be a good fit. As noted by iHire, referrals often perform well because they are eager to live up to the recommendation of their peers. Furthermore, it often takes less time to hire a referral because you can contact them directly rather than wait for someone to find your job post.

Add detail to your job descriptions

If your job descriptions are short and light on detail, you will inevitably receive applications from unqualified people. However, if you make your descriptions specific and detailed, they will attract a smaller, yet more qualified audience. Review your current descriptions for potential gaps in information. Make sure you've detailed the benefits of the position, as well as its responsibilities. When applicants know exactly what to expect from a position, they will be more likely to stick around after they're hired.

Assess willingness to learn

As the unemployment rate sinks to its lowest point in decades, the battle for talent has heated up quite a bit. Depending on your shop's location and the requirements of your open positions, you might struggle to find qualified candidates. Therefore, you may have to invest more in training than you may have anticipated. Assess candidates for their ability and willingness to learn to determine who will be best suited to each position. For example, ask candidates about a time they previously encountered a complicated challenge and how they overcame the problem.

Hire early in the season

If you wait to hire seasonal employees, you risk missing out on some of the best workers. Plus, you won't have time to train new hires regarding the specifics of your store. Even if you only hire individuals with previous retail experience, they'll still need to learn about your brand and products in order to make the most impact. Hire early and provide adequate training.

For more tips on preparing your store for the holiday season, check out our resource center today.