A Guide to Seasonal Hiring for the Holiday Season

Guides| 3 min read
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What is seasonal hiring?

If you are a retailer or an online seller, you know that the holiday season is an opportunity to generate a lot of revenue. According to the National Retail Federation, you can earn as much as 30% of your yearly earnings during this season. While you might have a great team under you, your current workforce and shift rotations may not be sufficient to take on the increased workload without orders falling through the cracks. This is where seasonal hiring temps or short-time contract employees come into the picture.  

So who are your temps? They can be either part-time or full-time workers. Often they’re students, retired persons, stay-at-home parents, people in between jobs, or just people in your area who want to make some extra cash by taking on another job. However, you aren’t the only one who is trying to beef up their workforce for the holidays. Every business in your locality will be looking for workers, and some of them are bigger brands with a longer reach and deeper pockets. To attract the best talent to work for you, you need a plan. 

Identify who you need and what you need from them

Pay attention to things like the number of employees you currently have, their roles, and their shifts. Think about your customer base, your online and offline sales channels, and your order fulfillment methods. Identify the gaps within your team in terms of workload, skill, and experience, and clearly define the roles that need to be filled. Then you can use this information to calculate the number of extra people you need at various levels, the shifts you need to fill, and the appropriate wages and perks to offer.

Start early

Begin your holiday hiring activities at least two months in advance. That gives you sufficient time to source the right talent, filter your candidates, and onboard your new employees before your competitors can say, “We need more people.” You can also come up with a referral program and have your existing employees scout talent for you.

Go where they are

Some of the best places to find temps are school and college campuses, online job boards, conventions, and local events. If you have the money, you can also advertise in local newspapers and online. No matter what you do, having clear-cut descriptions of positions and benefits gives you a better chance of attracting interested and qualified candidates.

Have an onboarding procedure

A good onboarding plan typically has three parts: orientation, mentoring, and goal setting. Start by giving your new hires a tour of your workplace. Show them the products and services that they will handle, and introduce them to the others in your team. Spend some time to explain how everyone’s workflows fit together. For employees who are new to their role, assign mentors from your existing workforce to guide them. Wherever possible, have them start with tasks that are relatively simple or have a high success rate to build up their confidence. Giving them small goals not only gets them acquainted with their roles and tasks, but can also motivate them to handle bigger workloads during the peak of the holiday season. Above all, onboard them like you would onboard yourself.

Let them go with gratitude

After customers, your temps are some of the best brand ambassadors that you could ask for. So treat them right, and recognize those who do well. Build an environment where each of them feels ownership of their assigned tasks. And when the season’s over, don’t say your goodbyes too early. Instead, try to retain any good talent you find. For good employees who are leaving, write glowing recommendations—it will help them remember you when they are on the lookout for a seasonal job next year, and it’s a lot easier to work with returning employees who already know what to do.


Since there’s a lot to be done when preparing your business for the holidays, it’s easy to get lost in the pile of work. But we’ve got you covered. Check out our holiday resources, that include an ebook, video, and a few webinars, to help you get everything in order for the upcoming season!

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