4 Strategies for Recruiting Seasonal Hires

Author Sean Behr Date Aug 04 2020

A successful holiday season is critical for retailers. It’s estimated that this season alone can account for 40% of a companies’ annual sales. As we begin to approach the holiday season, employers are begging to ramp up their hiring plans to accommodate the additional demand.

Year over year retailers are seeing additional sales growth during this time, starting with 5.2% in 2017, 2.1% in 2018, and 3.4% in 2019. While it’s possible that we could see limited growth this year due to the pandemic, the percentage of annual sales that the holiday season accounts for may go up as many retailers were closed for the better portion of the year.

First, we were introduced to Black Friday. The day following Thanksgiving, where retailers begin the holiday shopping season with discounts and promotions. A few years ago this transformed into Black November, where discounts have started as early as the first of the month. Now, over 39% of consumers surveyed agreed that they would begin their holiday shopping in October, or earlier. 

As the timeline has continued to move up for retailers, so has their recruiting timeline. With that in mind, here are 4 strategies to consider when recruiting seasonal hires: 

  1. Build a hiring plan 

Planning should begin months before the holiday season. According to the search engine Snagajob, 94% of seasonal hires are made by November. This is the most important time of the year for retailers, and the later you start, the more likely you are to miss out on top talent. 

The hiring plan also needs to align with your promotion plans and historical sales data. Are you going to be doing the same promotions as last year? If not, will the discounts be lesser or greater? These are factors you need to consider. 

  1. Empower store managers 

There are a few different hierarchies you see in retail hiring. Oftentimes store managers are the ones conducting interviews and hiring the workers. They need to be provided with the proper information to do this job effectively. They need to know specifics are number hires, promotions, key differentiators from competitors, etc. 

Depending on the number of hires needed, it might be worth investing in a recruiting tool that can accommodate high-volume recruiting

  1. Set clear expectations 

A selling point for applicants applying for seasonal jobs is the additional compensation, due to demand. Whether that’s higher wages or overtime pay, make it clear what the expectations of the job are going to be, starting with the job description. 

Communicate whether they’re going to be on-call or working fixed hours, what Holiday(s) they are required to work, and whether or not there is an opportunity for continued work following season.   

  1. Dedicate resources to successful onboarding 

Because of the nature of holiday hiring, the recruitment process typically occurs on a faster timeline during this time of the year. This puts more pressure on managers and existing workers to onboard employees effectively while managing a greater workload. 

Ensuring that each new member experiences a full onboarding process will help to limit turnover and convert them to long-term candidates for future hiring.


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About the Author

Chief Executive Offier

Sean Behr

Sean Behr is the CEO at Fountain and has served in leadership roles at STRATIM (acquired by KAR), Adap.tv (acquired by AOL), and Shopping.com (acquired by Ebay). Behr also advises, mentors, and invests in entrepreneurs and early-stage companies.