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4 Things Your Business Must Do to Successfully Hire Seasonal Employees

4 Things Your Business Must Do to Successfully Hire Seasonal Employees

What does the fourth quarter look like in your small business? For a good number of  businesses, the last three months of the year are super busy. The end of the year brings in a surge of clients, customers and events which may overwhelm your normal staff. Often times this influx of business, while a good thing for the bottom line of your business may be impossible to meet without bringing on some additional resources.

If you know that your business will pick up, as in it happens every year or you’re working really hard to get in on the upcoming holiday shopping and spending frenzy that’s about to be upon us, hiring additional staff will ensure you’re able to handle the work that comes with all that extra cash rushing into your business.

Hiring seasonal staff is a great option for small business owners and businesses of all sizes that want to increase their business for short periods of time. Seasonal employees allow you add as many resources as you need to meet demand, while you have the extra income to meet that payroll demand. The beauty is that you don’t have to keep these extra hands on deck after your need for them is over.

Maybe you’ve hired seasonal staff before or maybe this year will be first go at it. But whatever your experience there are a few things that you must do if you want to have successful seasonal hiring. Over the years, I’ve learned a few things that will save you some headaches. So let’s get to it.


Start Early 

And by early, I mean in September or October. Waiting until November to start recruiting additional employees could leave you with no one to hire. People looking to earn some additional cash during the holidays start looking for work and get snatched up quick by the big box stores. Or you’ll get stuck with the seasonal hires that you probably wouldn’t hire if you had other options. A sample schedule leading up to your 4th quarter seasonal hiring  may include the activities below:

August: Planning

  • Figure out how many seasonal employees you need to meet the anticipated demands on your small business.
  • Plan schedules and decide what shifts your seasonal employees will work.
  • Decide on the duration of the seasonal period. That means planning the date that your business will start to need additional help and it will no longer need assistance.

September: Promote

  • Spread the word that your small business will be hiring seasonal employees.
  • Signage in your facility is a great way to do this.
  • Begin accepting applications for seasonal employees.

October: Actively recruit and hire

  • Ramp up recruiting efforts
  • Conduct interviews
  • Hire and schedule training/orientation
  • Keep in contact with suitable applicants who were not selected to  fill any future vacancies during the season

Be Clear

Everyone is not looking for seasonal employment. If you don’t clearly state that they are applying for a seasonal position in your job posting, they will have no idea that they won’t have a job after the holidays or the busy season that you’ve hired them to work. Throughout the process it’s a good idea to reinforce that the position is not permanent and the duration of the employment. A  few points on how to accomplish this:

  • Job title: The job title should clearly communicate that the job is seasonal. This is as easy as adding the word “seasonal” to the job title of the position your small business is hiring. For example if you’re hiring extra stock clerks for your retail shop, instead of just listing stock clerk, you would use “seasonal stock clerk”.​

  • Job Posting: In addition to the job title, include that the position is seasonal in the job position. It’s also a good idea to include the start and end date of the seasonal employment period and expectations of availability. That is especially important if you want them to work holidays as well. You can also share your seasonal job opportunities with the local community on Jacksonville Works

  • The application form: Another good idea is to use an application form that states the applicant is applying for seasonal employment. You can take the application you already have and instead of “Application for Employment”, change that to “Application for Seasonal Employment.”

Plan for Regular Employee Time Off

The purpose of seasonal employees are to fill staffing gaps and shortages. To do this adequately, part of that planning is to take into account time that your regular employees will request off. By doing so, you can better estimate when how many seasonal employees are needed and when you need them to work. These things are not factored in, it's possible to end up with no more employees working on any given day than you normally would have. And that just defeats the whole purpose.


Keep it simple

Remember, seasonal employees are there to assist with a specific need and meet a specific demand. They may be around for a few months. So be realistic in what you expect for them to learn to do. The best advice is to keep it simple by assigning tasks that can be picked up quickly.

For example, you quickly train someone to be a cashier, it may take longer to train a shift supervisor. Keep the positions that you hire on a seasonal basis entry level. If you need more supervisory staff to help train and monitor seasonal employees, consider letting a high performing permanent employee fill this role. It would be a great training and opportunity for them and you may have just found the next supervisor for your business.

These tips will get your seasonal hiring off to a great start. I’d love to hear if you’re planning to hire seasonal employees in the 4th quarter. Share you hiring plans with me in the comments.

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