Here's how you can ace these 5 seasonal-job interview questions
Employers treat the hiring process for temp positions as seriously as permanent ones.
The days are getting shorter, the back-to-school displays are packed away and everything is pumpkin flavored. This can only mean one thing: Holiday hiring season is here.
Retailers, distribution centers and other companies that experience a surge in business around the holidays are focused on hiring additional staff to help keep up with sales demands.
But now isn’t the only time of year to consider applying for a seasonal job. Plenty of industries have different busy seasons and will focus on hiring during other months. For example, 75% of our business comes from May to October,” says Brandon Baker, owner of Loveletter Cakeshop, a boutique wedding cake bakery in Manhattan.
Whatever the season, just because these positions are temporary doesn’t mean the interview will be — ahem — a cakewalk. Hiring managers are as hard on prospective seasonal employees as they are on those interviewing for permanent roles. To improve your chance of getting hired, prepare answers for these common seasonal-job interview questions.
‘This job will only last ‘X’ weeks; why are you interested?’
Some seasonal employers will want to know how you feel about working a job you know doesn’t likely have a future beyond their busy season. Expressing your interest in the company, what you have to offer and what you hope to get out of the experience — even if it ends — is your best bet, says Orange County, California-based career coach Juliet Murphy.
You say: “Being part of the team during the peak season would be a win-win. It would help you meet your business goals for the season and allow me to learn more about the business first-hand.”
Other seasonal hirers may be looking for longer-term or even permanent employees as they’re hiring for the busy season. “Our main goal when interviewing candidates is to weed out people looking for a temporary gig who have no interest in growing with the company,” Baker says. “Most of our year-round employees started as seasonal hires, so we see this six-month period as a great litmus test for a longer-term relationship.”
You say: “I’m interested in building a career in this industry, not just in getting a job for the next six months. I’m interested in doing all I can to move up in the ranks.”
‘How flexible is your schedule?’
Jasper Contractors is often busy during hurricane season or after any other storm, says Whitney Bristol, marketing director and recruiter for the Atlanta-based roofing contractor, which operates in Georgia, Louisiana, Florida and Indiana. When interviewing for seasonal positions, recruiters often ask candidates about their schedules, as the company needs to ensure it has the help it needs when it needs it.When seasonal employers ask about your flexibility, they’re interested in any hours you’re willing to work: nights, weekends, holidays, etc. During the busy season, they need people they can count on. Be as clear and complete as you can in your answer, and be sure to include any scheduling restrictions.
You say: “I’m available to work Tuesday through Sunday evenings after 6six. I’m totally unavailable on Mondays, but will be available during daytime hours on the other days starting in two weeks, when my school term ends.”
Don’t skimp on your job-search checklist just because this is a seasonal job. Murphy says it’s vital to research the company before your interview and be familiar with its products and services. Follow the company on social media, read up on news about it and, if it’s a retailer, visit a store or two.
You say: “I spent some time visiting the stores on 7th Street and in Uptown, and it was clear to me that brand consistency is a priority. I was impressed with how packaging and presentation were almost identical in the two different stores.”
Even though this is a seasonal role, the hiring manager may think about where you might fit into the company in the future. When Royce, a designer of fine leather goods and innovative technology in Secaucus, New Jersey, makes its seasonal hires in October, the full-time team is looking for candidates who are highly motivated, efficient, and quick learners who see themselves as future managers within the company, says CEO Andrew Royce Bauer.
You say: “I’m hoping the work I do this season will demonstrate that I’d be a great permanent hire. I’d love to take the experience I get in this role and combine it with my marketing experience to achieve more further down the road.”