How to find great candidates for your seasonal hiring programs

by The Withe TeamJanuary 30, 2024 | 5 min read

A lifeguard standing at the lifeguard station, looking out at the ocean.

There’s a fairly logical equation that exists in seasonal recruiting. An effective sourcing strategy plus a seamless hiring process, multiplied by a great candidate experience, equals great seasonal hires.

Whether you’re hiring for the summer months or the winter season, good seasonal candidates can be hard to find. Local and available talent pools are small, and the competition for that talent with other similar businesses can be fierce.

Setting up a clear and reliable recruitment sourcing strategy can help mitigate these challenges. This means taking a step back from the hiring process itself, and thinking strategically about where you source your seasonal talent.

In this blog, we’re sharing five ways you can source better candidates for your seasonal roles.

What makes a great candidate for seasonal hiring?

If you’re not sure what it is you’re looking for, then how can you choose where to go looking for it? (Yes, we’re getting a little philosophical here.)

While the specific skill set you need for each seasonal role may differ, there are other characteristics that are ideal for all short-term hires. These include:

  • The ability to learn about the role and the company quickly.
  • Transferable skills such as customer experience for front-of-house jobs, or the ability to lift a certain weight or solve problems for back of house.
  • A schedule that aligns with seasonal work.
  • Industry background or past experience in a similar role (ideal, but not always necessary).
  • Potential interest in returning.

Understanding who it is you want to hire can help you narrow down your list of potential candidate sources and shape how you build the seasonal talent pipeline for your business.

5 strategies for sourcing great seasonal candidates

Now that you know who you’re looking for, here are our five top strategies for finding the right seasonal hires.

1. Circle back with past seasonal employees

The first place you should look in any seasonal hiring process is your pool of past employees. Start with the people who indicated an interest in returning, and then reach out to everyone else. Chances are, if their educational or work situation is still the same as the previous year — and they had a good time working for you the first time — they will look forward to coming back. The added win for you is that you won’t have to spend as much time and effort on training up your staff.

2. Ask your network for referrals

Your network of past and current employees can also serve as a candidate source through referrals. These are people who know your business well, and understand the type of person who could do well in your seasonal roles. Consider setting up a referral program with an attached financial bonus that gets paid out if the referred candidate is hired.

3. Partner with your off-season counterparts

Consider this scenario. You operate a theme park that’s only open during the spring and summer months in a town that is also a popular skiing destination in the winter. What you could do here is partner with one of the local skiing operators and share your talent pool. That way, you could have direct access to vetted talent with similar skill sets, and build a stronger relationship with candidates that are looking to be employed year round.

Withe's hiring event platform helps recruiters hire seasonal employees more efficiently and effectively than ever.

4. Collaborate with nearby educational institutions

Highschools, colleges, and universities can also act as great sources for seasonal hiring — especially if your seasonal business operates during summer break. Consider partnering with local educational institutions and creating a talent pipeline from programs and departments that align with your business. You can expand this relationship by volunteering your time to professors or teachers and presenting to classes or communities.

5. Host in-person and virtual hiring events

In addition to the internal and external sources listed above, you can also take your sourcing strategy further by hosting in-person and/or virtual hiring events where candidates can express their interest in a specific role, learn more about the company, and connect with a recruiter. You could also partner with other local seasonal businesses to host job fairs and extend your reach to a broader group of candidates.

Related resource: How to scale your high-volume hiring with virtual hiring events

To source great candidates for seasonal hiring, you need to start early

As a recruiter, you know that whether you’re hiring seasonally or for full-time roles, the candidate market is increasingly competitive. As we’ve outlined above, there’s a lot you can do to reach the best candidates and fill your seasonal roles, but these strategies can fall flat if you’re not being proactive. Start early. Lay out your plans and strategies, and put them in motion quickly so that you can get in front of the best candidates before anyone else.

Withe’s hiring event platform helps recruiters hire seasonal employees more efficiently and effectively than ever. Learn more about our product.

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Author Bio

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The Withe Team

Meet the team behind the revolutionary on-demand video interview software that connects great companies with top talent. Their user-friendly solution streamlines the hiring process and helps people find the right opportunities. With a customer-centric approach, this team of experts is dedicated to helping you find the perfect match.

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