The busy holiday season seems to start earlier and earlier each year. While many consumers across the US are opting to shop from home and order online, both online sites and traditional retail locations will experience steady seasonal demand. An overall spending increase of 10 percent is forecasted by PWC; although many consumers are choosing entertainment and event experiences over traditional wrapped gifts under the tree. The season still promises to be successful for retailers, though. The National Retail Federation estimates that over the coming weeks, retail sales will increase 3.6 percent, while online sales are expected to rise 7 to 10 percent.
That means seasonal hires will be more important than ever to support online order fulfillment and in-store stocking and sales. Between 640,000 and 690,000 seasonal workers are expected to be hired to keep up with the demand. The result will be a competitive seasonal recruiting and hiring market, with retailers turning to new methods to find reliable talent for support this season.
The U.S. Postal Service, Macy’s and Amazon.com are unsurprisingly among the biggest employers of seasonal workers. Some will turn to past hires, while others start fresh, but all will be looking to hire and train new employees soon. No matter the roles they need fulfilled, all retailers can expect the holiday shopping to officially ‘kick off’ with the Black Friday shopping blitz.
Whether your company needs tens of thousands of seasonal hires or a few hard workers to offset the spending boom, there are some great strategies available to market your temporary positions and recruit the right people for the job.
- SMS and texting – It certainly is not conventional, but targeting job seekers on the go is effective. Integrate text messaging into your Applicant Tracking System easily with services like Text Recruit. Reach them wherever they are with this targeted strategy.
- Social media – Many skilled applicants are interacting with your company online; you just need to tell them that you’re hiring. Your Applicant Tracking System can be quickly and easily integrated with all of your social networks using services such as Career Arc. Create a content calendar once, and let your seasonal staff come to you. You don’t want to over-saturate your social profiles but a few timely mentions can really help your seasonal recruiting strategy.
- Mobile career sites – If you have been hesitant to move towards a mobile strategy, you’ve been missing out on some great candidates. This is especially important for high-volume hiring, where speed and accessibility are essential. Set up a mobile-friendly and tablet-friendly career center. It may be useful to also create a simple screening application that takes less than one minute to complete. Longer applications can always be requested at a later stage of the hiring process. Do you need more convincing that mobile strategies work? Here’s proof: One of our RPO clients enjoyed a 29 percent increase in applications after we implemented a mobile-friendly online application process. In the end, 37 percent of hires came directly from the updated site.
- Feet on the street – If you operate out of a physical location, such as a retail store or warehouse, send a few team members out to spread the word about hiring opportunities. Your current team can answer questions, reach local help, and humanize your seasonal recruiting process. Don’t hesitate to gather some data based on the conversations, and optimize this real-time PR during busy weekends and good weather when foot traffic is at a high.
- Local networks – The community you operate from can give your seasonal recruiting process a boost. Local television networks, newspapers, and newsletters can also provide valuable publicity. Working with previous employees can prove to be a productive local resource. If they aren’t available, ask if they have a referral you can contact instead.