The arrival of the holiday season for some is the best time to have fun, relax and spend time with family and friends. For others, it’s an opportunity to make a few extra bucks by taking a full or part time job during the season. For recruiters, especially during times of extremely low unemployment, it can be a stressful, mad scramble as they focus on getting enough of the right staff hired and ready to go for busy holiday shoppers, diners, fulfillment houses, customer support centers and more.
Businesses that depend on increased seasonal staffing need to develop and deploy fast, agile recruiting strategies to meet the needs of the holiday rush. Retail businesses like to jump in early. Target is hiring over 120,000 seasonal workers this holiday, Macy’s is hiring 80,000 and Amazon is hiring more than 25000 employees during this holiday season just to operate their domestic fulfillment and sorting centers to name a few examples. In fact, according to an October 3rd press release, the National Retail Federation (NRF) forecasted that retailers could hire up to 650,000 seasonal workers for the holidays in 2018, up more than 10% from last year’s hiring. Even with these higher, more encouraging numbers, the early bird still gets the worm – especially when there are more birds competing for worms this season. Checkout 6 tips to help you and your recruiting team take a deep breath and win the race for seasonal hiring!
1. Begin Recruiting Early
Don't wait until it’s too late and the holiday lights are already aglow in store windows– especially with the current, low unemployment levels and a highly competitive hiring landscape. Start your recruitment process ahead your competitors and jump-start sourcing with a multi-channel approach which we’ll talk about more later on in this post. Make sure you have a clear strategy and process for recruiting and hiring and post positions early enough so you can source and engage a broader, more qualified pipeline of candidates before your competitors.
2. Create Fresh, Engaging Job Descriptions
Nowadays, candidates do much of their own research before even applying for a job. Did you know that over 90% of job seekers use their mobile devices to look for a job – 45% on a daily basis? Your job posting and brand presence plays a critical role in this as it’s often a candidate’s very first impression of your organization. Discard your old, long and dusty job postings and make sure you use an updated, punchy and engaging one that appeals to your ideal candidate demographic. What’s unique about your brand or your culture? Why would a candidate want to choose working for you over other employers out there? Are there cool perks, bonuses or programs focused on giving back to communities that would be attractive to your target candidates? Make sure these are front and center to create a positive brand preference right out of the gate.
3. Employer Branding and Candidate Experience Matter
To dovetail from the prior tip, the candidate recruiting experience is often the first impression of your company and your brand. Making that first touch point a positive and engaging candidate experience is critical. If it’s not, be prepared to hear about it in social media channels. Whether a candidate finds your posting through a job posting site, recruiting event, your website or a custom, mobile microsite – make sure the experience with your brand is clear, engaging and simple. Appealing images alongside your company branding and targeted, inviting copy can help your opportunities stand out. Ensure candidates have an easy way to indicate interest, submit their information and apply. In an age where mobile devices are used for just about everything – make sure you have a mobile responsive experience where candidates do not have to scroll through frustratingly long copy or have to pinch and zoom just to read it.
4. Use a Multi-Channel Sourcing Approach
Whether your recruiting function is managed completely in-house, you engage a staffing agency or work with a Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) organization – if you need to reach and engage a large pool of quality candidates quickly, you need a multi-channel approach. Most companies have dedicated media spend for these efforts which may include regional recruiting events, social media campaigns, print campaigns, job board postings and other tactics. One of the most effective recruiting tactics today to help maximize your media spend and get 40% better response rates is to use branded keywords and recruiting text message short codes such as Mobile Talent’s Text2Apply to immediately capture candidate leads. These guide candidates right to a branded, streamlined mobile microsite as previously mentioned for further engagement so they can learn more about your company and role and be pre-qualified to move to the next step in the recruiting and hiring process.
5. Use Instant Messaging Tools to Streamline Candidate Communications
One of today’s best and most effective ways to communicate with candidates on their terms is through simple texting tools such as SMS Communicator, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. The moment a candidate submits their details, you need instant, real-time tools to engage your top candidates while they’re most interested. Why wait for email or voicemail responses when the average candidate text message is read within 5 seconds. And, 98% of SMS messages are opened and read vs. less than 20% of email messages. Now with built-in automation, chatbot and AI capabilities, recruiters can balance efficiency with a personalized approach. These technologies can even help streamline next steps and interview scheduling so candidates feel well-informed throughout the entire process. Your Legal and Compliance teams can rest easy knowing you can deploy automated, standardized and approved messages for candidates you've decided not to move forward with or perhaps keep them engaged for other potential roles which may be a better fit.
6. Optimize Your ATS for Greater Recruiter Efficiency
If your company uses an applicant tracking system (ATS) – you can optimize the entire process and help your recruiters be more efficient by filling it with top, pre-qualified candidates they can focus on. Investing in mobile recruiting technology can help you source, qualify and engage candidates more efficiently to lower your drop off rates and streamline the entire process. Your recruiters will be able to spend more time on prioritized, shortlisted candidates to move them forward in the hiring process – all of which help shorten time to hire.
Seasonal hiring doesn’t have to be a complex, time-consuming scramble. By following these simple steps and adding new, effective technologies such as mobile recruiting to your strategy and plan – you can win the race for seasonal hiring and make sure you’ve got the right numbers and the right staff to keep you customers happy throughout the holidays and beyond.