Don't Overlook the Importance of Screening During the Seasonal Hiring Rush

The last few months of every year are often a whirlwind. With several significant holidays clustered tightly together and a shopping season that seems to begin earlier each year, many businesses must add additional employees to meet demand. For major companies such as Target and Amazon, that often means hiring tens or even hundreds of thousands of workers for a period only a few months long.

The ability to tap into a seasonal workforce is valuable for businesses of all sizes—and, ideally, additional sales more than offset the extra payroll. However, that value comes at a price: increased risk. 

The importance of fair and thorough hiring practices remains during the seasonal rush. Looking into an applicant's background should be an integral part of hiring throughout the year, regardless of demand. Despite this reality, data reveals that many employers do not make background checking efforts a priority when seeking seasonal staff. 

According to one industry report in 2019, fewer than three quarters (68%) of survey respondents screen temporary workers, a marked decline of 13% from the previous year. While cutting this step out of the hiring process might enable a business to put hourly employees on the schedule without delay, it dramatically increases the company's exposure to liability from negligent hiring practices. The consequences of overlooking background checks can even turn tragic as one homicide in Florida has demonstrated.

A widespread perception that background checks are slow and cumbersome may help to explain the drop in screening rates for seasonal employees. While some background checks take more time, not all do—the US OneSEARCH by, for example, generates reports immediately. In screening seasonal employees, it is crucial for businesses not to treat them any differently than they would a regular applicant. FCRA guidelines still apply, including obtaining an applicant's consent for a background check and giving applicants advance notice of an adverse decision based on information gathered during the vetting process. 

Setting up compliant procedures can be a one-time concern. Once a business structures a responsible vetting process and secures a means to obtain answers rapidly, companies can use and reuse that process for future seasons. For businesses, adapting existing procedures to match the unique circumstances of the holiday season is simple and secure—especially when the alternative is placing blind faith in an applicant's trustworthiness. 

Time is money, and for companies that engage in large volumes of seasonal business, time is often in short supply when facing the need to bring on board a large, temporary workforce. Ignoring the importance of screening isn't an option, but neither is a cumbersome screening process. delivers agile solutions for speedy screening through our instant US OneSEARCH, enabling businesses to conduct due diligence without delay. 

With access to an array of supplementary products for in-depth vetting, hiring for the holidays doesn't have to mean making compromises. 

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Michael Klazema

About Michael Klazema The author

Michael Klazema is the lead author and editor for Dallas-based with a focus on human resource and employment screening developments

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