6 seasonal hiring tips for retailers

Hire the right people for your holiday rush.

6 seasonal hiring tips for retailers

As the year winds down, retail stores are ramping up hiring for the holiday season. This can pose a challenge no matter the number of stores you’re managing. Still, “it’s an exciting time,” says Neil McPhail, senior vice president of stores of Maurices, which is looking to hire 1,000 to 1,500 seasonal employees —15 percent of the workforce across its stores.

Here are some tips for retail seasonal hiring.

Go to your best customers

Reaching out to loyal customers is a great way to reward them. “The first thing we look for is to tap into our best customers,” says McPhail about Maurices’ approach to seasonal hires. “Our best customers are familiar with the product, they love our brand, have a faster learning curve because they’re familiar with fashion offerings and they’re familiar with the value proposition.” By working as seasonal employees, your best customers can get a shopping discount and earn extra spending money while serving as brand advocates for your company.

Recruit through employees

McPhail says they like to reach out through their long-term employees as well, because they tend to be “well networked” with people with similar interests. “When we’re framing out the ideal employee to recruit, it’s typically modeled by those we have in the stores,” he says. At this time, the company may also reach out to past employees to see if they’re interested in coming back temporarily.

Use social media

Letting people know you’ve got openings through social media channels is a great way to reach people who already love your company. McPhail describes using social media to connect with people as a best practice that’s emerged over the past five years. He says Instagram and Pinterest are good ways to recruit and boost your brand.

Look for flexibility

When it comes down to it, you’re going to need to find people who are flexible, says Lauren Griffin, senior vice president for Adecco Staffing US. “A lot of seasonal positions require being available for non-traditional work hours,” she says. “In terms of retail, this can mean working overnight shifts to help with stocking inventory. Hiring a seasonal army of employees that can roll with schedule changes can relieve major headaches.”

Look for personality

Griffin says seasonal employees need aptitude, experience and a strong work ethic, but finding people who can bring a great personality and attitude to the floor is also crucial. “Shoppers want to have a pleasant experience, and this starts with retail staff” she says. “From being patient with shoppers to working long, odd hours, a positive personality can make a difference.”

Don’t wait until the holidays to recruit

The search for good retail employees should go year-round, McPhail says. “The planning really started at the end of the last holiday season,” he says. “You should always be looking for great talent whether you have a current need or future need. Creating that relationship is important any time of the year.”