Seasonal Hiring: What Employers Should Know

By Michael Klazema on 11/7/2019

For businesses across many industries, the holiday season is the single biggest source of sustained revenue each year. With rising demand from buyers, your existing staff may struggle to keep up with seasonal demand while delivering valuable customer service experiences. Bringing aboard additional employees for a few months allows you to tap into a motivated workforce and meet business goals while saving on payroll costs by avoiding overtime for existing staff.  

Using temp workers comes with potential pitfalls. Before posting new job listings, business owners should understand how to responsibly hire seasonal workers.  

Be Aware of the Laws That Apply to Temp Hires 

Legislation varies by state, and employers should always review local information on categorizing employees—for example, the difference between a temp or seasonal worker and an independent contractor. While some may benefit from contractors during the holidays, businesses primarily need to onboard new hourly employees who are subject to the same rules on fairness in hiring and employment as full-time employees.  

Rules change: in California, new laws went into effect in 2019 that require employers to deliver sexual harassment training for both temp and seasonal workers within 100 work hours or 30 days of employment. Before onboarding, understand your obligations.  

Perform the Same Due Diligence That You Would for a Full Hire 

Even though seasonal hires may only stick around for a few months, that timeline isn’t an excuse for businesses to skip important pre-hiring steps. Background checks conducted in accordance with state law should be an integral part of the seasonal hiring process.  

Instead of skipping vetting steps to avoid concerns about the need to quickly staff up for the holidays, begin your search sooner and lean on fast, robust vetting tools such as the instant US OneSEARCH from Seasonal or not, you need to know more about a candidate than what he or she wrote on a resume to make a safe hire.  

Consider the Benefits of Temp-to-Hire 

Some employers may be reluctant to engage in due diligence when hiring seasonal workers, believing that investing in short-term workers is ultimately a waste of time and money. However, beyond ensuring workplace safety, there are many potential benefits to unlock by making careful seasonal hiring choices.  

Businesses may treat the seasonal hiring period as a try-out for talent. Providing a pathway to full-time positions based on excellent seasonal performance not only offers a built-in incentive for quality work but also allows you to derive more value from your vetting efforts. When you see temporary help as future full-time talent, seasonal employee vetting becomes more than due diligence.  

Prepare Early for Seasonal Onboarding 

Refine your hiring procedures to respond to sudden spikes in labor demand so that you can successfully approach the holiday season. From understanding how to operate your business within the bounds of the law to conducting thorough pre-employment vetting on each candidate, the process can yield motivated employees while shielding your business from the fallout of an unsuitable hire.  

With help from, preparing for the holiday rush can become a routine part of the year instead of a seasonal source of stress.

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