3 Strategies to Help Your Seasonal Hiring!

Tim Sackett ATS, Candidate Pool, Canvas, Communication, Driving Productivity, Employee Engagement, Holidays, Mobile Recruiting, Policies, Recruiting, Sourcing

7.1 Million job openings right now in the U.S.!

7.1 Million! Are you looking forward to filling your temporary, underpaid seasonal jobs this year!? Ugh! Sounds like a nightmare! So, in classic FOT Style, we are here to help you kill your seasonal hiring!

There has not been a holiday hiring season quite like this one, ever. Historic low unemployment, a strong economy (which means you’ll be busier), the competition has never been stronger. Your company is relying on you more than ever not to screw this up!

I’ve got 3 strategies that I think every organization should be doing this holiday season to fill your seasonal jobs:

1. Seasonal Alumni Program

Come on, Tim! Alumni programs? Been there, done that!

Slow your roll, Peggy! Give me a second. For those who don’t know, seasonal alumni programs are basically you hiring back seasonal workers that have worked for you in the past. In fact, they may have worked for you for several seasons! Many organizations use seasonal alumni programs to fill upwards of 30% of their needs for seasonal hiring.

My program does it a bit different. A bit more aggressive! I think where most seasonal alumni programs fail is they wait too long and throw this in with everything else. They treat alumni like every new hire. In my program, I get out super early! If you start hiring for seasonal workers let’s say November 1st, I’m making alumni offers October 1st!

Not only that, I’m having my alumni sign a contract and giving them a start date upwards of 60 days before they’ll start. I’m also doing an alumni pizza party a good 30 days before they start because they’ll help me fill another 20% of my openings this season if I treat them right! But wait there’s more – I’m also throwing some sort of something extra at them for signing up early! Sign up 60 days before you start, and I’ll give you a $100 gift card after your first week of work, 30 days prior and you get a $50 gift card. I want to lock them in early!

2. Mass Text Messaging 

If you’re doing mass seasonal hiring and you aren’t using mass text messaging, you’re going to a gun fight with a knife!

Hourly workers don’t respond to your lame emails. They never have, and with unlimited seasonal hiring options, they certainly won’t this year! You have to have a text messaging strategy to attract hourly candidates on a normal day, and it’s ultra-critical you have one for seasonal hiring.

I’m using mass text messaging in multiple ways. I’m nurturing potential candidates up to 10 times in a two week period. This starts out with a simple message around we’ve got some jobs, check them out. Add in some content about why our seasonal jobs are super awesome, and ramp it up with threats to their families if they don’t apply (okay, no treats, but strong encouragement)!

Once we’ve got pools of candidates interested, I’m communicating with them about mass interview times, training times, etc. I also need a system that is telling me who has responded and who hasn’t, so I’m not bugging the good ones and instead, only harassing the lazy ones. Trust me, seasonal hiring is a war – if you’re skittish about being aggressive, go find someone who isn’t!

3. Know Your Capacity

The single biggest failure I see with seasonal hiring from TA teams is this. Well, we normally hire around 15 people per week, but now for seasonal, we need to hire 100 per week, for 6 weeks. “So, we all just have to work a ‘little’ bit harder, and we’ll be fine!”

No. No, you won’t – you’re going to crash and burn!

If your normal capacity is “X”, getting to 10 times X is not about working a little harder, it’s about having a plan and strategy that allows you to raise your capacity by ten times. That means you need more technology. You need more money. You need more manpower. You need everyone to know their exact roles, and what stuff will not get done during this time, because right now seasonal is the most important thing.

From an organizational standpoint, I love to tell my executives exactly how many more heads I’m going to need, and then let them decide from where in the organization I’m going to be ‘borrowing’ this muscle. Okay, Finance, two of your people are working in TA for six straight weeks, and their job will be pre-screening candidates – probably 100 per week. Bam!

Why not just grab temps? I like the organization to understand how important the success of seasonal hiring is to us having a successful year, and having talent from other areas help out really brings this concept home in a big way! I’ll also use corporate alumni to help, that may be retired but would love to come back and work for a few weeks prior to holidays. I find this talent to be super engaged and effective, as well!

I know you’re probably already in the weeds on your seasonal hiring, or just really getting going, but understand you can’t just do what you did last year. Each season, each market, is different and you should be looking at strategies each season to make it successful!

Good luck! Hit us in the comments with your most successful seasonal hiring strategies!

FOT Note:  We here at FOT like to think we get talent and HR at a different level. At the very least, we are probably going to have a different take than the norm. So it made perfect sense to ask Canvas to be an annual sponsor at FOT, where they’ll sponsor posts like this one, allowing FOT contributors to write, without restriction, on all things related to using new and innovative ideas in recruiting, like using text messaging to interview candidates. If you find yourself thinking, “Hey, I should really look into Canvas!” then go do it, I think you’ll love the technology!