Image: Barry Shimmon Image: Barry Shimmon

With summer fast approaching many of us are gearing up to take a well-earned rest and enjoy the holiday season, but for businesses in sectors such as travel, leisure and hospitality, it’s a very different story.

During such busy and profitable times, it is essential for many businesses to have the right temporary staff in place to supplement their core workforce. Companies shouldn’t forget that every employee is an ambassador for their brand and in these sectors, where TripAdvisor is the bible, reputation is everything. However, even experienced companies often struggle to attract and onboard large groups of new hires.

So, how should businesses approach their seasonal hiring strategies to ensure short-term employees have a positive commercial impact?

  1. Always prepare early
For most companies, busy periods won’t come as a surprise. More often than not, these periods of high demand will be at the same time each year, so having a strategic hiring process which accounts for these cyclical peaks will help avoid any last minute panics to fill positions.

While preparing in advance can be challenging, the positive news is that over summer the supply of available students peaks. Many will begin their search early, so the later you leave it the higher your chances of losing the best candidates to competitors.

Another significant benefit to planning in advance is that it allows time for employees to receive the best – or at least necessary – training, which will allow them to deliver top-notch customer service. Consider what training is a ‘must have’ for these temporary roles, prioritise those activities and empower permanent employees to provide on-the-job training to constantly top-up skills and knowledge.

  1. Ensure effective advertising
When hiring seasonal staff, be clear on what you need from the outset. Consider whether there are any specific skills you require, what experience is going to be essential for them to meet the job requirements, and what hours you might need them to work. An inaccurate or unclear advert can result in wasted time for both you and the candidate.

Searching for jobs online is becoming an increasingly popular option so online advertising should be a key focus, but keep your options open to where the ideal candidate may be – word of mouth for instance shouldn’t be underestimated.

  1. Do your due diligence
Even when you’re only hiring for the holiday season, checking every candidate’s CV claims is critical to ensure that you’re hiring someone who is capable for the job and will fulfill the requirements of the role.

Our latest research shows that only a third (34%) of companies screen their contract and unpaid workers, and this is particularly worrying given that our recent data has also revealed that two thirds (64%) of candidates provide incorrect information on their job applications.

These CV inaccuracies could just be innocent mistakes, but it’s not worth taking the risk especially if individuals will have access to customers, data or money.

Reference checks and criminal record screening, along with an interview, will help you ensure you’ve found the right candidate for the job, and will also limit the risks associated with hiring an inexperienced or inappropriate candidate.

  1. Build up your talent pool
Whenever possible, avoid starting your recruitment process from scratch. If you can identify those employees that exceed expectations and are likely to be looking for repeat seasonal work, or even permanent roles, you can save a lot of time and hassle when you need to boost staff numbers.

This will not only help to simplify the recruitment process, but it will also increase the efficiency of training, as the candidate will already be familiar with the company, its policies and ways of working. For you as an employer, being confident that your summer team members are capable and committed may also help cut down the stress of seasonal hiring.

By Steve Girdler, managing director for EMEA at HireRight