5 Best Practices for Hiring Seasonal Employees

Unless your resort is in a ski belt (or, perhaps especially if it is), you are gearing up for the peak summer season. As you plan for what will, hopefully, be a surge of visitors and guests, it is time to engage in hiring temporary personnel to attend to their needs.

It is critical that you hire the right people and quickly get them up to speed and connected to your facility. Your seasonal workforce may only be with you for just a short time, but poor short-term hires can take a long-lasting toll on your organization. This can be in the form of effects on your year-round staff, theft or destruction of property, or impact on your reputation. With so many popular websites offering travelers the opportunity to write reviews—and so many people relying on these platforms for travel information—new and repeat bookings can be boosted or adversely affected by your guests’ experience.

Here are some best practices to help you efficiently and effectively find and recruit temporary employees.

1.    Start the Talent Acquisition Process Early

With the combination of students flooding the job market and high levels of unemployment, it is easy to assume that there will be many people clamoring for jobs. True as this may be, “many” does not necessarily translate to “good.”

You want to have enough time to properly select, interview and vet candidates. A last-minute scramble may leave you with a poor selection of potential hires who have been passed over by other organizations.

2.    Ensure You Have Clear, Complete and Current Job Descriptions

It is important that both you and job-seekers know exactly what you are looking for. What does the job entail? What are its requirements, such as heavy lifting, a specialized schedule, certification (e.g., for a lifeguard position)? Is there a minimum number of years’ experience, or do you offer on-the-job training?

The clearer the description, the easier it is to determine how well a candidate matches your need, reducing wasted HR time. It will generally also reduce the number of inappropriate submissions you will have to wade through.

These employment descriptions should be reviewed and updated annually, based on lessons learned in previous seasons.

3.     Follow Your Company’s Standard Application Tracking Process

Many organizations of all sizes are now using applicant tracking software (ATS) to process job applications and manage the hiring process, from initial screening through interviews. Regardless of how sophisticated the system, follow the same process you use to hire your full-time employees.

While it may initially appear easier to take shortcuts, doing so will only make the hiring process more complicated and disorganized in the long run. Following the standard hiring process ensures not only that candidates do not fall through the cracks but that HR personnel and others in your organization who are involved in the hiring process are coordinated in their activities and efforts, so time and resources do not get wasted.

This also ensures that you have thorough records, should there be people you have hired that you would like to have return the following season. Some of these candidates may become full time hires in the future.

4.    Cast a Wide Net for Candidates

Finding seasonal employees does not typically require the use of outside recruiters, which can be expensive. Posting on job boards to attract active job-seekers is the most common method of reaching potential candidates. However, be sure to make use of your organization’s intranet or other internal communication systems to tap into employee resources. Many will have friends or family looking for work and can make recommendations.

This is also true of seasonal help you have hired in the past but who may have now graduated college and are seeking employment. You can send out a notice to guidance counselors in local high schools and colleges; they often help place students in summer jobs and know the character of the students, as well as their skills.

5.    Stay True to Your Talent Management Process

It is easy to give short shrift to short-term employees. However, understanding your organization’s policies and culture is as important for seasonal hires, and helps them become able to reliably perform the duties of employment. If either duties, policies, or introduction into your corporate culture is skipped, it can lead to wasteful and time-consuming efforts to find a replacement.

Take the time to check candidates’ references, perform interviews and properly onboard them.

A lengthy training cycle is, of course, impossible and, generally, uncalled for. However, a thorough orientation is necessary. Managers and supervisors need to ensure that their new staff are not left to wander, wonder and “figure it out for themselves.” If seasonal hires have varying duties, focus on getting them up to speed with one task at a time so they feel grounded and productive. Then move forward to orient to the other tasks, as needed.

About the Author:

Michelle Lanter Smith is the Chief Marketing Officer of EPAY Systems, where she oversees the company’s go-to-market strategy, customer success and technical support operations. Michelle brings 20+ years of leadership experience in driving revenue growth for high tech and service-driven firms. She graduated summa cum laude from Marquette University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. She holds a Masters of Business Administration with distinction from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. https://www.epaysystems.com/