The holiday rush is almost upon us and that thought brings stress to many business owners. The extra revenue from increased sales is a bonus, but the extra work for a staff that is already topped out can be too much. The best thing to do is to hire a seasonal staff to come in and assist during the busy holiday season. However, hiring good workers is hard enough, so how do you hire a good staff that is only with you for a season?
Don’t hire just anyone
While you might feel desperate for help do not just hire the first person that comes through the door. Put together a description of the job you are trying to fill and the requirements you have for the staff that you hire, even if they are just temporary workers. It is far more stressful to bring in bad holiday help than it is to work short-handed through the holiday season. Create a process to interview your seasonal workers to assure they are going to be able to handle the job that you are hiring them to do.
Talk to your best customers first
Who better to hire than someone that already loves what your business does? Check with your current customers to see if any of them are interested in working for your company through the holiday season. Many people are happy to work at retail stores throughout the holidays to receive an additional discount on their purchases at the store. Put this strategy to work for your company by hiring people that already like to do business with you. Your customers are familiar with your products and services. They are already fans of your company, which makes them a great addition to your staff.
Look for college students studying your industry
The holidays are when many college students return home to take a break in between semesters. This makes them great candidates for seasonal help. If you find students that are studying in areas of your industry this idea works even better. You can help a college student gain experience in an area they would like to work in the future while filling a spot you need to be filled in your business in the present. You can build relationships with the students that are good workers to see if they would be interested in returning over the summer or for the next holiday season. If you build good relationships you may be able to keep the same students coming back year after year, thus eliminating your need to search for extra hands next year.
Start your search early
The early bird gets the worm and the early business person finds the best help. Do not wait until you are in the middle of the holiday rush to start looking for good workers. By the time you start looking the best candidates will already be working for other companies. Start your search early in November. This will give you time to pick and choose instead of jump to hire the first applicant that comes your way. Put the serious applicants through the same process you would for hiring a regular employee. Do not skip out on background checks because you think your holiday help will not be with you long-term.
If you start early you will have time to train your holiday help before just tossing them into the mix. Many retail stores bring on additional staff during the holiday season and then tell them to straighten the clothes. Some stores are swarming with holiday “help” that is doing nothing more than costing the company money. Start early, find good employees, and then train them to do the job you want them to do.
Put social media to work for you
Tell social media that you are looking for help during the upcoming holiday season. This is one of the fastest ways to spread the word about your openings quickly. People that see your post are more than happy to share it or tag their friends and families that are looking for employment. If you are having a lot of trouble filling the openings you can even run an ad on social media and target it directly to the description of the workers you are looking for.
When people hear “social media” the platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram come to mind. When it comes to your job postings you will want to include LinkedIn. This is a site that many people use specifically for trying to find a job.
Social media is also helpful to see what type of employee you are hiring. Do a little research and see what you can find out about them. If they are recommended on LinkedIn you have a good idea that this person is a safe bet to hire.
Turn your employees into recruiters
Your current employees know the company and what the job requires. So, why not turn your employees in job recruiters? Entice employees to refer friends and family to apply for the job. Reward good referrals (ones you hire and work through the holiday) with a bonus for doing so. Since your employee is invested in the company they will not want to connect their name with a bad referral. They are also able to paint an accurate description of the job for the person they refer so you can feel more confident that they will not be caught off guard by the work.
Extra sales during the holiday season should be a good thing. Do not allow the stress of the season to rob you of that. Hiring the right holiday help will be the difference between you enjoying a busy holiday season, or you dreading the season.