Skip to Main Content

Seasonal Hiring: 5 Simple Steps to Set Up Your Strategy


If your company has a busy season, whether summer, winter, fall or spring, then seasonal help may be just the thing you need to bridge the gap and relieve the stress on existing staff. Maybe you have a pretty robust seasonal hiring program, or maybe you are looking into getting started, but the current hiring market makes seasonal hiring seem intimidating and out of reach.

That’s why we’ve taken time to break seasonal hiring down for you and provide some tips that can help you be on your way to more successful seasonal hiring for your business. Before we jump in, there are some considerations to make before hiring seasonal workers. If you’ve never hired temporary help (or need a refresher), these quick tips are for you.

The pros of seasonal hiring

Hiring temporary seasonal workers provides plenty of benefits to your business. Here are a few of the most beneficial outcomes you can experience from seasonal hiring:

  • Your business can pivot and scale quickly to adjust to changing workforce demands
  • You can support spikes in the business without hiring permanent employees for less peak seasons
  • You can ensure existing employees do not burn out and are supported more effectively

The cons of seasonal hiring

While there are many benefits to hiring temporary workers based on seasonality, before you embrace this approach you need to also consider the drawbacks you may face. Some downsides you might encounter include:

  • The extra cost to find, hire, onboard, and train temporary workers
  • Some seasonal help may be generally less dedicated compared to permanent employees
  • Existing and seasonal employees may not work cohesively to add value to the business during your peak season

Know the situation

All-in-all, seasonal hiring can be a great option for companies that need to hire talent quickly to support customer demand during busy seasons. But, since the workers you hire are on a temporary basis, there are different requirements you need to consider in relation to attracting these types of workers. Below we’ve highlighted a few key facts you need to keep top of mind.

  • Unique Audience: Temporary seasonal workers have different goals and expectations in looking for jobs in your company. Make sure to treat them as a separate, distinct talent group for your recruiting initiatives.
  • Compensation Strategy: The competitive nature of compensation applies to both full-time and seasonal employees. But if you’re only looking to pay minimum wage for temporary help, you may lose out to others offering higher wages and benefits (including paid time off and other benefits).
  • Move Fast: Ensure you can move fast in the hiring and onboarding process with seasonal hires. Time is of the essence and you can’t afford any roadblocks that will keep you from hiring those temporary workers who will support your business just for a short while.

5 expert tips to develop your seasonal hiring strategy

If you’re worried about hiring seasonal workers in an already tumultuous market, you’re not alone. The pace has gotten quicker and the competition is fierce. But there are a few ways to shake things up and attract the top talent you need just in time for the busy season.

1) Start early

Yes, the pace is quick, but if someone is looking at your company, it likely means they’re considering multiple companies. If you wait too long and get into your busy season to start the process, you may wind up short-staffed during peak season. Rushing to fill those spots last minute may force you to hire someone who’s ill-fitted or underqualified, or you may have trouble finding help.

To avoid being under-prepared, get started two to three months before your busy season to ensure you have top talent lined up. This affords you time to review resumes, conduct interviews, and train your new employees.

2) Develop your pipeline

Just because you are hiring seasonal employees doesn’t mean you can’t build a pipeline of recurring help. In fact, if treated well, many of the same employees return from season to season. Not only are former employees easy to re-hire, but they are already familiar with the role and expectations of the company. Here are a few ways you can entice your seasonal help to come back year after year:

Be the employer that stands out

Whether you offer better compensation, scheduling, or simply have a better company culture, you want to be sure you have some qualities that distinguish you from the competition. Your temporary employees will likely feel proud when discussing and comparing their jobs to that of their peers, helping to enhance your employer brand and employee loyalty.

Don’t wait for them to apply

Contact seasonal hires early and ask them if they’ll come back. Many times, previous employees will be pleased you remembered them. Use recruitment software to keep this talent group warm, and connect with them before the busy season gives them the chance to plan on returning to work for you before committing elsewhere.

Offer end-of-season bonuses to make sure you are remembered

Saying thank you for a job well done is greatly appreciated by seasonal employees, especially when they have worked hard to help your business thrive during the busy season.

Give your repeat seasonal help VIP treatment

Once you have a positive relationship established, do your best to offer seasonal hires the best shifts or slightly higher compensation for their returning expertise.

3) Knock the job posting out of the park

Your job description needs to list the position, location, hours, responsibilities, and pay rate of each job opening. In order to stand out in a sea of similar opportunities, do your best to make your postings compelling, fun, and clear. You’ll want to include these points for clarity:

  • Company description
  • Position timeframe (be sure to include words like seasonal and temporary to avoid confusion)
  • Job responsibilities
  • Skill requirements
  • Location of job
  • Hours needed
  • Hourly pay rate
  • Benefits and perks
  • An “Apply Now” button or details on how to apply

4) Shake up your recruitment channels

Consider who your ideal candidate is and then advertise where they are. There are specific job boards that cater to seasonal and temporary work in addition to standard job posting sites. But it would also serve you well to ask your best seasonal employees from previous years where they found your listings.

Here are some other channels you may want to consider:

Employee referrals

In many cases, your current employees might have acquaintances that may need extra hours during the holidays or throughout the summer. Pitching your business to their friends or family allows them a built-in bond with their co-workers and helps fill your empty roles faster.

Mobile/social media platforms

Seasonal workers, especially those in high school and college, typically use mobile outlets to locate job opportunities. This generation is especially tech-savvy and primarily uses mobile apps and social media to connect with the world around them, including potential employers. Make sure you specifically tailor recruitment messages and highlight your seasonal jobs on your social media platforms.

College job boards

College job boards have the potential to reach thousands of candidates, many of whom may be looking for seasonal work. These job boards are incredibly common for help wanted ads, especially for seasonal positions. Reach out to your local college’s student center to get your information included.

Your own career site

Many potential candidates will seek out specific companies whom they know to be hiring seasonal work. Ensure your own career site features a section on seasonal opportunities, showcases stories of seasonal workers, provides information on the seasonal hiring process, and is up-to-date on all current seasonal openings.

5) Don’t skip the onboarding

One of the most eye-opening statistics of this hiring market is the volume of new hires jumping ship shortly after they are hired. Even in a seasonal position, candidates know they have the upper hand. According to the 2022 Job Seeker Nation Report, here some of the reasons employees have jumped ship prematurely:

  • 41% said the day-to-day role was not what they expected
  • 35% said there was an incident or bad experience involved
  • 34% of employees left because the company culture was not as expected
  • 32% of temporary employees stated there was unsatisfactory company leadership

To avoid seasonal hires leaving early, follow these steps for successful onboarding:

Prepare, prepare, prepare

Before your seasonal hire’s first day, automate your onboarding process to ensure you have all the necessary new hire paperwork in order. Give them a brief overview of their training, schedule, and what their job will be like before day one. Avoid any confusion or room for concern by having a clear plan for their time with you.

Establish clear expectations

Outside of the daily ins-and-outs of the position, you’ll also need to set clear expectations. Whether it’s a dress code, break times, or customer etiquette, be sure to address anything not explicitly laid out in the onboarding paperwork.

Get started on your seasonal hiring strategy

Seasonal hires can be a great asset during your busiest periods, but it takes knowing where to find them and how to onboard them effectively to support your business and stay ahead of your competitors. If you plan effectively, get started early, and target seasonal hires with the right message and medium, you will be well prepared for your most profitable season.

Want more on seasonal hiring? Download our Simplify Seasonal Hiring: 6 Must-Have Templates guide to support your efforts and ensure you attract, engage, and hire the right talent.


Leave a Reply