Big-box stores have already begun hiring seasonal employees. (Credit: Paulien Osse, via Flickr)
Big-box stores have already begun hiring seasonal employees. (Credit: Paulien Osse, via Flickr)

The most wonderful time of the year is nearly upon us! Major corporations like Kohl’s and UPS have already started recruiting seasonal hires. Kohl’s started plans to staff up stores as early as the end of June, while UPS announced nearly 100,000 seasonal workers will be hired for package assistance between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Most small businesses, of course, won’t be able to hire hundreds of thousands of employees for the holidays. They can still bring on and train hires to meet customer needs during the busy shopping season, but the rules of the road are a little different than hiring for slightly more permanent, full-time positions. Before you start posting job listings, make the most of these four tactics to ensure you’re hiring employees ready to make the workplace merry and bright.

[Related: How to Prepare Your Small Business for the Holiday Rush]

1. Start holiday hiring early.

I loved how Kohl’s started hiring for holiday positions in June. It might sound strange to start the holiday hiring process in summer, but it’s actually an incredibly savvy move. Businesses that know they need to hire many — or even a few — seasonal employees have to get started early for a few reasons. The first is that the U.S. labor market is still tight, and it’s still difficult to recruit skilled workers. The second is that the hiring process is more time-consuming than it looks, even for short-term seasonal positions.

The sooner you can start advertising that you’re hiring, the better equipped your small business will be for seasonal success. Remember to be clear about what you’re looking for in a hire. Articulate the following in your job posting:

  • Duties. Use bullet points to list daily duties the seasonal hire will be expected to complete.
  • Previous experience. Depending on the role, you may specify if you are looking for someone that already has a sales or customer service background and the amount of years they have worked in that industry.
  • Physical demands. Will this job mean lifting packages that weigh more than 25 pounds? Do you need to stand for long periods of time? Briefly cover any physical demands of the job so they don’t surprise applicants later on.
  • Work schedule. A seasonal job listing may specify needing employees to work varying shift hours. These may include early mornings, late evenings, and even certain holidays, like Thanksgiving Day.
  • Compensation. Quickly detail whether pay will be hourly or salary (usually it’s hourly for temporary roles like these) and if there are opportunities for overtime. If benefits are provided in the position, or special work perks, mention those too.
  • Your business. Don’t forget to share a little bit about what you do, the kinds of qualities you’re looking for in seasonal hires, and dates you’re looking to fill the role.

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2. See if former employees want to fill seasonal roles.

There are two methods I personally default to when hiring for temporary roles. One is the referral method. This is where I (or any business owner for that matter) asks existing, stand-out employees if they have any talented friends looking for a job. If they answer yes, I welcome their referrals for interviews and potential hiring offers at our company.

The other method is reaching out to past employees. Over the years, I have been lucky to work with several outstanding team members that have gone on to pursue other roles and returned as “boomerang” employees. Bringing back a boomerang team member doesn’t mean you get out of training or orientation, but the training will be less intensive since they still recall the processes within the company. If you need to fill a seasonal position, consider reaching out to past employees that were stars in that department. They might be in between roles or looking for a side gig for extra income. Even if it’s just for a few months, they’ll be excited to return — and grateful that you thought to reach out to them.

[Related: How Even a Startup Can Offer Employee Benefits]

3. Share seasonal job listings on your social media accounts.

‘Tis the season to be social! Many small business owners post jobs on sites like Indeed or on a local university job board to attract applicants. Want to attract even more potential seasonal hires? Share job postings on your social media platforms.

Sharing job openings through social allows you to make the content incredibly engaging. Websites like PicMonkey and Canva allow you to use their design templates to create social-friendly content. Drape the words “We’re hiring!” over an aesthetically pleasing, seasonal image. Use the caption to detail the positions you’re looking to fill. Include a mention about how potential applicants can get in touch, whether that’s a contact email in the caption, using the #linkinbio, or swiping up to apply.

If you’re sharing the listing on a site like Instagram, make the most of relevant hashtags. Try adding #worklife, #newjob, and #nowhiring in a separate comment under the caption to increase your reach. Don’t forget to mention in the caption that users are welcome to @ mention and tag other social users that might be a perfect fit for the role, too.

4. Establish a separation process.

Remember when I mentioned earlier that your seasonal hire job listing needs to include the date when the applicant can start? There should be a (loose) end date included as well. Many hires work for businesses just for the season, so there needs to be a separation process in place for seasonal hires. However, if you get a particularly stand-out seasonal hire interested in staying on and your small business has the budget for it, consider extending them the best present of all: a full-time job at your company.

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of which provides online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, startup bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent services, DBAs, and trademark and copyright filing services. You can find MyCorporation on Twitter at @MyCorporation.

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