‘Tis the season for talent: 5 tips for retail seasonal hiring

Author Sean Behr Date Jul 24 2023

Stock your seasonal hiring team and staff to ensure smooth retail operations throughout the winter season

Believe it or not, the winter holiday season is just around the corner, which means hiring for the holidays will be in full swing before we know it. Now’s a better time than ever to nail down your seasonal hiring strategy for hourly workers and secure quality talent ahead of the busiest shopping season of the year.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed just thinking about it, don’t worry—we’re here to help!

In this post, we reveal five tips to execute an efficient and successful seasonal hiring strategy so all your retail operations are running smoothly long before and well beyond Black Friday. 

1. Set expectations for candidates with a clear job description 

Hourly workers will be applying to heaps of jobs this holiday season, so your job descriptions need to stand out from all the others. 

Get right to the point: Be clear about what candidates can expect by outlining pay, hours, and duties at the beginning of a job description, and include opportunities for overtime pay or bonuses. This shortens the time it takes applicants to find and apply for your job and moves candidates who are ready to work to the front of the line.

Learn how Stitch Fix slashed their time-to-hire from three weeks to just nine days with Fountain

2. Tap into your existing candidate pools 

Did you know there is an entire pool of candidates who only seek out seasonal work? Think students, retirees, and stay-at-home moms. This untapped resource can help you build a roster for help when things get hectic. 

Remember all those candidates who applied last year but didn’t make the cut? They might still be looking for work! Reach out to gauge their availability and openness to applying again.

3. Leverage employee referrals

You may already have an employee referral program in place. If you do, make sure your existing employees have the tools they need to share job openings with their friends and social networks. 

Create and share a QR code that links right to the application, which they can forward to friends and even copy to promote job openings on their social accounts. For workers who bring in successful referrals, consider enhancing their reward, especially for holiday hires. 

Read: Fountain sits down with The RealReal at HR Retail 2023 to discuss how to simplify retail recruitment

4. Reward and incentivize current workers

Keep the incentives going with a bonus program for workers who stay on for the entire holiday season. 

Seasonal work can be demanding and requires a big time commitment for workers. This may lead to exhaustion and a spike in quit rates. To keep your workers engaged and enthused, offer a bonus or reward for every few weeks they stay on staff, and end with an even greater reward at the culmination of the season.

5. Arm your hiring team with the best tools for high volume seasonal hiring 

Set your recruitment team up for success by equipping them with the leading software and tools to hire the best candidates. A Labor ATS built specifically for hourly hiring will allow you to move massive numbers of applicants through the hiring funnel with efficiency and speed, enabling you to fill your roles faster than the competition. 

To learn how Fountain can help prepare your recruitment team for the seasonal hiring rush, click here to read The Modern Hiring Guide for Seasonal Staffing.


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About the Author

Chief Executive Officer

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.