10 strategies for hiring seasonal employees

by The Withe Team
Updated on April 3, 20247 min read
Waitress setting a table in a restaurant

For a lot of businesses, hiring is quite a cyclical process. There are expected busy times and turnover periods that prompt recruitment initiatives, and the anticipated growth of a business helps to predetermine when headcount might have to increase.

The cyclical nature of hiring takes on a whole other meaning when we look at seasonal businesses. Whether it’s a ski resort, theme park, or accountancy firm during tax season, seasonal businesses have specific hiring periods to staff up their operations to meet peak demand.

These jobs can be particularly hard to fill with qualified candidates because of the finite nature of the roles, a competitive market for similar applicants, and the rapid (and sometimes impersonal) nature of the recruiting process. To help you make the most of your seasonal hiring processes, we’ve put together 10 strategies you can put into practice during your next recruitment season.

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10 best practices for hiring seasonal employees

Managing the common seasonal hiring challenges with an effective strategy will make it easier to find quality candidates without overburdening your team.

1. Re-engage previous seasonal employees

Check in with your managers and other business leaders and ask them if there were any high performers from the previous season that they’d like to have back. These past employees are valuable as they know the business already, and would require limited training to come back on the job. Reach out to these individuals and ask them if they’d be interested in rejoining.

2. Tap into your network

If your past employees are not likely to come back for another season, they can still be useful resources. Consider building a referral program where they get financial compensation for recommending a candidate that ends up getting hired. The fact that they know what it takes to be a successful employee at your business means they’re more likely to recommend the right type of candidate.

3. Source candidates that are more likely to want seasonal work

New graduates or current students that are on a break from school are more likely to be looking for seasonal work. Consider building partnerships with local highschools and postsecondary institutions to build a nearby talent pipeline. Other helpful sources could be trade schools or other seasonal businesses that work during your off season. For example, if you’re hiring for a ski resort, you could build a partnership with a water park in the area and hire some of their employees between summer seasons.

Related resource: How to find great candidates for your seasonal hiring programs

4. Spend time on your job descriptions

Your job descriptions are a great place for you to get specific on the qualities you’re looking for in a seasonal employee, share your expectations for new hires, and give candidates a taste of what it’s like to work for you. If you’re recycling seasonal job descriptions from year to year, you may find that the language is reading as stale and uninviting — and that you’re not meeting current candidate expectations, which are higher than ever.

This is also a good reminder to focus on your employer brand as a whole. Do you have past employees that are willing to share a testimonial? Do you have a careers page where candidates can go and get a sense of what working at your business is like?

5. Start hiring early

As much as seasonal hiring is a known entity in your business operations, you never know what trends may be shifting the candidate market — or how those trends are impacting seasonal work. Starting early will always be worthwhile. You’ll either have all your offers out the door and accepted before all your competitors, or you’ll be prepared to manage any unexpected snags that get in the way.

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

6. Leverage a hiring event platform

Whether you’re running virtual or in-person hiring events, a hiring event platform can help extend your reach, streamline your processes so that you meet with candidates faster, and support you in tracking candidates as they go through the hiring journey.

Take Withe, for example. Our platform allows recruiters to meet qualified candidates at scale. We make it simple to create virtual or in-person events that candidates can sign up for, so recruiters just have to share the event on their platforms, and show up to interview. For virtual events, Withe’s on-demand video interview software automates qualification, scheduling, and eliminates no-shows, allowing recruiters to focus on speaking with qualified candidates. Plus, Withe lets recruiters score the candidate in-platform and integrates seamlessly with applicant tracking systems so this data remains centralized and easily accessible.

This is particularly useful for recruiters working for large operations that require significant numbers of seasonal employees every year. Not only does the hiring event platform help extend your reach to candidates outside your region, it also helps you create a simple and repeatable process for all your hiring, reducing the burden on your recruiting team and expediting the time it takes to get in front of a qualified candidate.

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

7. Prioritize the candidate experience

Candidate expectations are higher than ever, and their experiences in the hiring process can be a deciding factor in whether they choose to work for you. In fact, candidates are 38% more likely to accept a job offer if they are satisfied with the application process. Take the time to explore each step of your hiring funnel and evaluate how it may impact the candidate experience. The more seamless the experience, the more likely you are to attract and retain the ideal candidates for your business.

8. Offer creative perks to seasonal workers

We’ve already referenced the fact that hiring is a competitive game — and so is retention. If you want your employees to stay with you for the entire season, consider what benefits you can offer them as incentives. This could be a discount on your products or services, meals during their shifts, or career development opportunities. You can also include a financial bonus for candidates that successfully complete their contract.

9. Be flexible in your recruitment process

Your candidates may have a full workload or class schedule, and they may not always be able to attend interviews in traditional work hours. Consider taking a hybrid recruitment approach and hosting hiring events earlier or later in the day so that more people can attend and participate in the recruitment process.

10. Back your hiring process with a positive work environment

A competitive hiring market means that employees are increasingly comfortable leaving a job if they don’t feel happy, respected, or well compensated for their work. Make sure that your work environment is one that employees are eager to participate in — this will make them far more likely to stay, advocate for your employer brand, and recommend other qualified candidates down the line.

Keep refining your seasonal hiring strategy

Like the seasons, your seasonal hiring initiatives come around at the same time every year — but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend time updating and evolving them. As your seasonal hiring programs near, review which of these 10 strategies make the most sense for your business and target candidate audience.

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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