08 Nov Holiday Help: Interviewing Seasonal Workers
The holidays can be fabulous, stressful, or both. That’s true for everyone, but if you’re in the retail business those holiday challenges can be true morning, noon and night. It’s often a great idea to get extra help. But interviewing seasonal workers can get lost in the shuffle of urgency. However, these employees will be working alongside your permanent team. At best, that’s great for everyone, but it also risks being an unfortunate distraction without proper vetting.
Make time for proper interviewing and hiring of seasonal workers.
Full-time vetting of short-term help. It’s always important to ask questions that will reveal any serious issues with a hire, even if it’s only for a few weeks or a couple of months. Be sure to get references – and call. Have them go through your standard background check, too.
Real job rigor. Even if the job you’re offering is only seasonal, you have every right to expect a short-term hire to take it seriously. Ask questions that are likely to reveal key information that might indicate they aren’t well suited for this job, just as you would with someone permanent. Why do they want the job? What experience do they have in this industry or role?
Experience extras. One challenge with interviewing seasonal workers is keeping in mind that you won’t have the luxury of weeks of training them or the bandwidth to mentor. Consider a heavier emphasis on those with actual, relevant experience in your business. If you sell children’s toys, try to find someone who won’t get tripped up by the details of which series of Pusheens are available – stressed out parents want someone who can help them make sure that Santa doesn’t disappoint.
Holiday heartiness. At the same time, be sure when interviewing seasonal workers that they have experience, or at least the temperament, for holiday sales. Even if most people understand that the holidays can be stressful, it’s not the same as dealing with that stress with a smile, standing on your feet for eight hours. Ask your potential hire what their experience is with holiday sales, what their expectations are, how they manage tense situations and similar questions.
Thoroughly interviewing seasonal workers can have a post-holiday impact.
Even after that employee is gone, your full-time staff will deal with returns and exchanges and just the all-around reputational impact of customers’ experience during the holidays. And even if your loyal staff deals with less than stellar holiday hires that you made in a hurry, they’ll remember it later. Don’t let a few weeks of the year strain your relationships with all the people who show up every day for you. The quality of people you hire during the high season reflects how much you invest in the experience of everyone else.