Improving Seasonal Hiring for Both Companies & Jobseekers

Both the National Retail Federation and The International Council of Shopping Centers forecast that holiday spending will increase at a faster pace this year. The NRF is expecting total holiday sales to increase 3.6% to $655.8 billion, and interestingly, the ICSC expects a 3.3% spending increase at physical stores. The ICSC survey showed that shoppers like the ability to try on clothing, easily make returns, and not have to pay shipping fees.

With this anticipated growth, as well as that 85% of shoppers plan to browse online before they get to the store, retailers need to pay particular attention as to who they hire to best represent their brand this holiday season. Ensuring that the employees on the shop floor are providing the added value that shoppers expect during this busy time will be one of the key differentiators for success.

With such hiring demands, it can be tempting to focus too much on simply achieving recruitment targets, rather than making sure that those hired are the right fits. Companies and jobseekers can take some useful steps to make this process more beneficial for both parties:

1. Provide more information about the job and company — Within the retail industry there are several sub-categories and job types. Additionally every brand has its unique culture and voice. Companies that use general descriptions fail to portray enough to jobseekers. Listing average experience requirements turns away qualified applicants who have different experience, and thus decide not to apply. By using social media, video and more relevant descriptions, jobseekers can quickly identify the most relevant jobs and companies for them.

2. Assess the skills that are important for the job — Someone assisting customers in the store requires a very different skill-set from someone packaging deliveries. A resume doesn’t provide enough relevant information in these speedy hiring cycles. Laszlo Bock, SVP of People Operations at Google says in his book “Work Rules!” that the biggest predictor of whether someone will succeed in a job is seeing how they will perform with a real job situation. If you’re hiring someone to respond to customers, ask them how they would manage a difficult customer. Utilizing video can be a terrific way to see these softer-skills and personality that are completely missed on a resume.

3. Make this a start of a relationship not just a short-term gig — Holiday hiring can often be a terrific entry into employment, and a chance for jobseekers to prove their worth, and for companies to develop strong relationships and develop a talent-pool that can be utilized throughout the year. As David Abney, UPS CEO said, “with many of our holiday hires getting permanent jobs with us, it can also be a gateway to a career.”

4. Make it easy to apply — Attracting the top people requires widening the net, and not repeating conventional strategies. Only 25% of jobseekers are satisfied with the job search process and thousands are forced to abandon applications because they are not mobile optimized or require information they don’t have. Career events are inefficient, as they rely on people spending several hours travelling and waiting to meet recruiters. Applying for a job should be meaningful but not cumbersome, and easy from any device.

Seasonal hiring is a terrific opportunity for companies to meet many more people than they are able to during the rest of the year; and an even better opportunity for jobseekers to begin careers and start developing meaningful business relationships. With just a few simple strategies these benefits can be reaped for a far longer period than just the next few months.