Retail Strategies for Hiring Seasonal Workers

Author Sean Behr Date Sep 17 2020

Have you started your seasonal hiring yet? While there is plenty of uncertainty ahead, according to MarketWatch, holiday shopping season could begin as early as October 10, 2020.

Just because unemployment is high, doesn’t mean your applicant pool will be filled with an exorbitant amount of quality candidates. And, if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that consumers like the ease and personalization of BOPIS (buy online, pick-up in store), as to avoid costly shipping fees. In addition to giving consumers a more convenient way to shop, it also gives them a sense of normalcy of getting out of the house and going to the store, even if only to pick up curbside. According to Google’s recent commissioned survey (June 25, 2020–June 28, 2020) of 18+ online consumers who plan to shop for the holidays, 47% said they’ll use options for BOPIS and 53% said they would seek out stores that offered contactless shopping.

In order to have a successful holiday season this year, you’ll need to make sure you’re scaling your planning and staffing accordingly.

Here are some tips and tricks you can use to make sure you’re set up for success this holiday season from a recruitment perspective.

  1. Tap into your candidate pool or pipeline you’ve built to find the best talent. Oftentimes candidates are grateful to get their foot in the door, even if only for seasonal help. Tap the folks from last year as you never know if their life circumstances have changed. You might even discover a diamond in the rough.
  2. Get Social with Employee Referrals. You may already have an employee referral program in place and you might even incentivize a little more during pre-holiday season. However, don’t forget about giving employees the tools to share job openings on their social networks. Provide them with copy and an image for their social profiles so they can share the positions online. You can even give them a special hashtag to use so you can track your employees’ impact.
  3. Reward the behaviour you want to see. It’s hard to plan for the unexpected but consider incentivizing people for staying through the entire season with a bonus structure.
  4. Set expectations for candidates in a clear  job description. Outlining the pay, the hours, and clear duties in the beginning of a job description instead of putting it in the full body can weed out unqualified candidates before they even apply.
  5. Ensure you have the right tools for high-volume hiring and screening. The right software and tools will allow you to move the plethora of applicants through the system more efficiently and be able to assess and quickly identify those who can hit the ground running on day one.

This holiday season will for sure lean heavily on clever personalized campaigns across digital channels to stand out from the competition. However,  ensuring you have the right retail team in place to provide the best customer experience they expect will be key.

Happy hiring!



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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), (acquired by AOL), and (acquired by Ebay). Behr also advises, mentors, and invests in entrepreneurs and early-stage companies.